Sometimes it is freeing to lay down on soft soil and gaze at the ever-expanding universe above; feeling all the stress unwind from our bones and evaporate into the midst of the night. Granted, such an event is peaceful and relaxing, but busy people often deprive themselves of such natural gratification. Some might even find it outlandish and bizarre that their fellow men and women cluster stars and label them after mythical creatures. But who can blame their dry logic? Yet, matching a gaze across the eternal abyss is not the only method in relaxation. There are so many others…

Yes, here are some video games that relax your senses. Break free from those cigarette breaks, and just pick up one of these titles. Your GABA (a chemical in the brain that induces relaxation and helps eliminate stress) receptors would be very grateful.

Ecco the Dolphin

Published by Sega, developed by Novotrade International, and released in 1992, this game provides a vibrant mesh of the 90’s color palette. There is already another dolphin game on this list (HINT: it is also set under the ocean) and I seriously considered if I should add Ecco the Dolphin, but this game is just too brilliant not to add on this list. So voila! Going back to the color scheme, at times it may look pretty harsh to the eyes – it is from the 90’s – but overall Ecco the Dolphin’s gameplay would unease and relax the high-strung mind.

The main protagonist is a bottle-nosed dolphin, Ecco. Players will plunge into the ocean using Ecco as he traverses the depths, looking for the root of the storm that killed his fellow sea friends. Feel free singing to fellow clams and other sea creatures, and back-flipping in the air to your heart’s content.

Pokémon Snap

What is it with me and Pokémon? No, what is it with us and Pokémon? Ever since Nintendo announced that we can collect and pocket our own monsters, everyone jumped the wagon. It became a global addiction-pandemic, and that is why a Pokémon game is on this list, just for the sake that it has caused a macro obsession… right?

With that said, Pokémon Snap takes home the cake for its peace-loving ways. What is so different about Pokémon Snap is its method of catching Pokémons. Instead of enslaving these creatures, Pokémon Snap uses a camera to capture images of them in their natural state. My heart flutters whenever I snap a picture of Butterfree, I can almost empathize with the Pokémon as it quietly exclaims its liberty that it is free from buttery human hands. And yes, our hands are buttery, okay maybe not butter, but our skin produces natural oil (Sebum) to keep us moisturized.

Blueberry Garden

Winner of the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for ‘Best Independent Game’, at the 2009 Independent Games Festival, scoots in Blueberry Garden. It also won ‘Best Innovation’ for the 2008 Swedish Game Awards. Alas, this delectable montage of awesomeness is developed by Erik Svedäng, and personally, I feel that its soundtrack made Blueberry Garden even livelier. If it were not for Daduk’s composing prowess, this game would have been just another independent game amongst Steam’s stockpile of undeserving games.

If you want to soar through the sky and forget about your worldly troubles, then pick up Blueberry Garden, because when a game does not bother you with its plot and you find yourself playing it regardless, then it must be doing something right. I, for one, did not even get vexed about where I had to go, I just solved puzzles left and right as I led Mr. Pelican-Man through lavender skies and gentle grounds. I also remember dying in this game, and man, they made drowning look like he was sleeping on a tempur-pedic mattress.

flOw

Developed by Thatgamecompany, Jenova Chan and Nicholas Clark originally released flOw as a free flash game in 2006, which I vaguely remember playing back then. Fast forward to 2007, flOw was made available for the PS3, and later on SuperVillain adapted the game and released it for the PlayStation Portable as well in 2008. The free flash version received 100,000 downloads within the first two weeks. Such hits would only mean that flOw is definitively breathtaking or utterly stupid; good thing it’s the former.

Back in the hay days when Nokia phones were shaped like block-sized adapters, there was once a game that thrived within that cellular phone, and it was Snake. The simple concept of Snake is emulated by flOw. In the game, the player starts off as a molecular snake-like parasite – a very tiny one. Once he or she scoffs down other parasites in the cytoplasm, his or her parasite grows another segment; elongating the body until the player ceases to stop playing the game itself. Ultimately, you are the main predator in the game and everything else is prey, and without having to worry about other opposing adversaries, flOw makes for a very relaxing game.

Spore

Usually in most video games (especially in RPGs), they give players a lot of room for customizing their characters, from lime-green beards to ice-blue cataract eyes. But I feel there is always a limit with just accessorizing these characters with physical attributes, a true customization should start from the very root of life: the cell.

Published by Electronic Arts, Spore gives us that option. Now, players have the ability to develop their own species in the infinitesimal biological level. There are five stages in the game: the Cell stage, the Creature stage, the Tribal stage, the Civilization stage, and the Space stage. Each stage has a specific objective, and players must complete this objective in order to advance to the next evolution. Unlike previous games in this list, Spore has a main goal, and that is to reach a super massive black hole and obtain the “Staff of Life”. In the back of my mind, I am starting to think this game is really fitting for anyone suffering from delusions of grandeur or god complexes, then I chuckle to myself because in the end, everyone wants to be their own God one way or another.

You can look forward to more ‘Games that Relax Moods’ in Part II coming soon! Which games relax you reader?

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