Video Games As Therapy

Even serious WoW gamers fear reaching this stage!

Those of us familiar with the wonderful world of gaming know full well the therapeutic benefits contained therein. After a long week of (insert your weekly frustrations and annoyances here), it’s nice to unwind with an escape into the digital world of your choice. This article is aimed at those unfortunate souls who are not privy to such knowledge. Actually, the crosshairs of this piece are aimed at a specific group of the uninformed.

I recently saw a preview for the new season of “Hoarders” on A&E. If you’ve seen the show, your stomach may have just turned a bit at the recollection. If you have not witnessed the in-depth examination of people with hoarding compulsions and you possess a weak stomach, you may want to avoid it. By the way, if any hoarders or people who know hoarders are reading this, overlook anything you might find offensive because you’ll want to read to the end.

Video games: a very alternative therapy

So this Hoarders show literally dives into the mountains of junk people have amassed in their homes. They attempt to aid the hoarders in cleaning out their homes and realizing they don’t need to keep EVERYTHING. The process seems rather lengthy and half the time it probably doesn’t even remedy the hoarder of their tendencies.

I have a simpler and more effective solution. Whether the motives of hoarders are as simple as obsessive compulsive disorder or not, I believe they could all benefit from indulging in certain video games. Of course they would still need to clean out their house. That’s a given, but they might just solve that problem by moving.

The therapy leg of the treatment I’m suggesting would involve the purchase of a video game console and several games. Not just any games will do however. The games would have to be chosen by an expert in the field. As such, this creates the job of Video Game Consultant in addition to Video Game Therapist. So in the process of assisting the hoarders, this treatment also stimulates our struggling economy by creating new jobs. Anyway, the therapeutic games would be selected based on whether or not they include the activity of collecting useful/useless items and being able to store them in an inventory.

Yeah ok, you did it... but where are you going to stash all that loot?

I’m sure everyone just thought of their favorite game that encourages this behavior. Fallout games, Fable games, etc., etc. For the purpose of an example, I will refer to Borderlands. Imagine the delight of the hoarder when they discover they can loot and collect to their heart’s content without cluttering up their home, worrying their family and bringing in the health department. Yeah, they might fill up their in-game inventory early on, but there’s always backpack upgrades and more storage at Moxxi’s bank. That, and the hoarder could always start additional playthroughs with each of the four characters.

If you run out of space... mod the backpack!

I feel this would occupy the mind of the hoarder much like it has countless gamers. Thoughts such as “Should I keep this?”, “Oh, I need that!”, “I can’t get rid of this!” and “Why do I have two of these?” would churn endlessly through the hoarder’s head as they survey their virtual collection. Meanwhile the house is free of clutter, the hoarder’s family is happy and no cats have died unnoticed deaths under mounds of junk.

There you have it. Problem solved.
Glad I could help society…again.

Last five articles by Joe



  1. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I can almost relate to this. My grandfather was a hoarder, and a seriously disturbed one at that. As I’ve told countless people before, he would keep hold of anything that he thought MAY come in useful and would store it in the cupboard under the stairs (they weren’t filled with whining shit wizards or bears at the time) even if it meant having it there for years in a very reaching “just in case” scenario. During one visit with my parents, back when I was perhaps four or five years old, he raised his hand… got up out of his favourite chair saying “just remembered something…” and wandered off in to the hall, only to come back a few minutes later with a gardening glove (just one) and about 10-12 inches of string and asked my dad “Could you use these?”. Even as a young boy, I knew that was just a bit weird.

    I don’t hoard though, I collect. There’s a difference. When you “collect” things, you’re able to categorise them and justify their existence by saying that getting rid of them would make the collection incomplete. That’s my excuse anyway. I used to collect DVDs and, at one point in time, would spend £200 to £300 a month on DVDs without really giving much thought to it. During a sale on where every move on sale was between £2.99 and £4.99 I spent an absolute fortune… so much so that my credit card company called up to seek my approval on the order prior to releasing the funds, and when the delivery came it was brought in large grey postal sacks (three of them) and Play had STILL sent every DVD in its own individual Jiffy bag. Sadly, I neither have the money or the interest to sustain my DVD collection… mainly because the studios seem to just be remastering everything that’s already available these days and there’s nothing decent coming out… so no awesome collector editions.

    With regards to collecting in gaming, Borderlands is by far the worst game that I’ve come across for that. Maxed out with only 42 backpack slots (or 45 if you have the Claptrap DLC), it’s ridiculously difficult to decide which weapons/mods to hang on to and which to discard or sell. I even started up three new characters just so they’d have additional banking space at Moxxi’s where I could store my pearl weapons and all my excellent dark orange weapons. It wasn’t enough though, and so I modded one of my Lilith characters to give her 250 backpack slots, purely as a bank for my main character… and if I eventually fill up those slots, I’ll mod her again to raise the limit like in the last image above. I don’t play with that character, she’s just a willing courier for my obsessive collecting. I know I’ll never use the weapons, as I rarely switch between my two main pistols as it is…. but it’s not the point. It’s a collection.

  2. Lee says:

    I hoarded stuff in fallout, my lockers in my megaton crib were full of crap which got annoying when I was trying to find something like nuke cola bottles I found early in the game.

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    Oblivion is my hoarding game of choice but mainly for enchanted gear. Cupboards and chests in my primary homes in Skingrad, Cheydinhal, and Frostcrag Spire are choc full of magical goodies, from weaponry and armour to rings and regular clothing which has been enchanted. I could make a mint and sell it but I don’t see the point when there is nothing to spend money on in Oblivion after a certain point…except more magical gear of course…but then that runs out as each main shop usually only has one magical weapon. I wonder if anyone actually has a collection of EVERY book in the game…now that would be quite a hoarding achievement.

  4. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Problem with hoarding in Oblivion was that it would take longer for the container’s contents to show up. My Frostcrag Spire chests were divided in to separate categories… one for armour, one for wearables (rings, amulets etc), one for shields, another for staffs and other weapons, and one specifically for legendary items. After a while though, you’d open a container and it would take seconds before the full list appeared and yet it didn’t do that with Fallout 3 (supposedly the same engine) so I’m guessing there was some sort of indexing issue with Oblivion that was fixed before Fallout 3 came out. Either that or they didn’t expect you to hang on to hundreds of items in the first place!

  5. Lorna Lorna says:

    I didn’t have that problem so much because I mainly spread my gear out over a number of locations…though this did become a problem if I wanted to find something specific.

  6. Richie Richie says:

    My main hoarding thing was also Oblivion.

    I wanted the house in Skingrad but the game bugged out and the orc who sells it disappeared. So after I maxed the arse off of the game I restarted and power-levelled until I had 10k or whatever to buy the house.

    The house has display cabinets and last time I went there it had every notable weapon and armour set all over the place. The cabinets were full of daggers and gems. The balcony outside was lined with the shiny blue soul stone things. I also took the arena fan there and kept him as my house gay.


    Good article, Joe.

  7. Lorna Lorna says:

    Lovin’ the house gay idea…never thought of having the arena fan as a love slave…awesome.

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