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How playing games helped me overcome a fear and be bold

The yearly countdown begins, in just a few days I’m going to be turning 26.

I’m really excited for this birthday, this last year I’ve started living my life differently to how I used to before. I’ve been pushing myself to be more bold, to go and do more things that take me outside of my comfort zone and to not let fear hold me back anymore – and for 26 I’m planning on ramping that up even more.

I’ve decided to finally pluck up the courage and get my Divers license. Back story time! I am PETRIFIED of man-made water devices. I don’t like swimming pools, I don’t like ‘lazy rivers’, I don’t like aquarium tanks and I really, really, don’t like dams. So even though I’ve always wanted to get my divers, the thought of doing training in a pool or dam was enough to put me off for good. Yet here we are, just a few days from my birthday and I’m currently packing my bags to go and do my first ever real dive in the ocean. How did I get here?

How was I able to overcome my fear and just dive in (pun not intended but appreciated)?

I spent the last year playing as many ‘aquatic’ type games as I could, games that I would normally avoid. By being able to sit in the safety of my own room and just let myself ‘experience’ that feeling of being submerged in the water and the freedom that comes along with it, I managed to convince myself that the pool sessions weren’t anything to be afraid of, it was just part of the game that I needed to pass in order for the real adventure to start.

Here, in no particular order, are those games:

Abzu

Abzu is, hands down, one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. It’s actually more of an ‘experience’ than a game but no matter what you call it, it perfectly evokes everything that I ever dreamed diving would be. Available for PS4, PC, and Xbox One, Abzu lets you take on the role of a mysterious female diver who wakes up floating on the surface of the ocean and then begins exploring, looking for answers. I would be lying if I said I’ve achieved anything through all my time playing Abzu, not because there isn’t anything to achieve, but because all I want to do is swim through the colourful, vibrant, magical ocean and interact with all the sea life that I can, it’s truly just something to experience.

Subnautica

Don’t let the similar screenshots fool you, Subnautica and Abzu could not be more different: where Abzu was more of an experience and relaxing, Subnautica is most definitely a game and you will be on edge the entire time you’re playing it. Available for Mac, PC, and Xbox One, Subnautica is an underwater survival game. You take on the role of a lone survivor from a spaceship that crashed into the ocean. You need to explore everything the ocean has to offer, pilot submarines, try to avoid the dangers of the deep all while staying alive. Subnautica is challenging, at times scary and a highly immersive experience. Trying to keep my character hydrated, fed and away from everything that wants to eat him was a challenge, but one I would gladly face again.

Diluvion

Diluvion has a lot of shortcomings – but there is also a beauty in it that shines through even the roughest of seas. Available for Mac and PC, Diluvion is part submarine simulator, part exploration, and part RPG. You take on the role of a Submarine pilot in a world where humanity now inhabits the ocean. You need to grow and manage a crew while searching for answers about the past and finding solutions for the future. Diluvion is not an easy game, there are 9 different Submarines for you to pilot, each with their own shortcomings and learning curves, combat can be clunky and messy at best, staying alive can be harder than you could imagine but then, just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, you’ll get to section of ocean where everything is quiet, and you can just explore without a care in the world, and those moments – however fleeting, somehow make everything else worthwhile.

Song of the Deep

This game just reminded me so much of what it felt like to have someone read you a bedtime story, that I just couldn’t help but love it. Available for PS4, PC, and Xbox One, Song of the Deep is probably the most ‘action-packed’ game on this list. It’s a Metroidvania style adventure game, which basically means you’re doing a LOT of shooting pretty much all the time. You take on the role of a young girl who is on a quest to find her missing dad. After she has a vision of him trapped in the ocean, she sets forth to craft a submarine and explores the ocean for herself while searching for him, along the way she realizes that a lot of the bedtime stories from her own childhood were a lot more true than she could ever have imagined. Song of the Deep, is fast, action-packed, pretty and comes with enough story to keep you hooked till the end.

These are just some of the games that I’ve been ‘submerging’ myself in lately, some of them are serious, some of them are wacky but all of them are fun and all of them helped to give me that last push that I needed to go and do something I’ve always dreamed of, and even let me discover new dreams I never knew I had! Anyone know where I can book a Submarine trip?

I want to know from YOU, have you ever played any ‘aquatic’ type games and if so what would you recommend I try next? and have you got anything that you’ve always wanted to try but you’re too scared too? Let me know down below ^^

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have bags to finish packing and oceans to go dive in – and I’m not getting any younger.

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