Video games cause depression. Video games cause violence. Video games are a waste of time. The next time someone pulls out one of these arguments against our favourite hobby, send them to read the stories at How Video Games Saved My Life, and hope they're not sharp enough to refute them with cold logic.
Created by Ashley Burch of Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin', How Video Games Saved My Life is a web page that collects personal stories from people that have had their lives positively impacted by video games.
Since launching the website last month, Ashley has gathered four pages' worth of testimonials. Ashley herself kicks things off with a discussion about her health-threatening anxiety and how Harvest Moon helped her overcome it, setting the stage for story-after-story about how Zelda, Tetris, Pokémon, and more helped people cope with everything from the death of a loved one to coming out as gay to one's parents.
It's a wellspring of feel-good gaming stories, though very few are actually about saving a life, and those that do feature lifesaving are rarely directly video game related. Saying Suikoden II saved your life because you were awake playing it instead of asleep in bed when a fire broke out is a bit of a stretch.
You'll read about a couple bonding over Mass Effect, someone using a PlayStation during recovery from cancer treatments, and a guy that kept himself from committing suicide after a bad breakup by creating his girlfriend in The Sims 2 and setting her on fire.
An anti-gaming pundit could easily argue that most of these stories are only gaming related at the surface level, but that's not the point. The point is these people associate video gaming with these major changes in their life. To them, gaming has that magical power.
Maybe it will to you as well.
How Games Saved My Life [Website]