To the naked eye, when you see me out and about, you won’t notice anything out of place, any physical disability, any sign of, ‘Jeez, he’s messed up on the inside.’ And that’s because to see me in the street is to see any other person: I appear normal, at least to some degree. The reason you don’t notice even a grimace when my knees have started screaming is because I will simply grin and bear it; I tell myself, ‘Carry on regardless, this is your problem and you’re going to have to deal with it.’
And after a week of devastation and reuniting, I’m certainly not the only one who carries on regardless. Some people use songs to heal; others use raw emotion. I use games. Many things are thrown at gaming in general: all those unfounded claims of ‘too much violence’ and ‘games are bad for you’ wind me up. All points made by outsiders – people who haven’t touched a games console in their lives, only seeing things from an outside view. ‘Why are kids playing 18-rated games? Bad parents!’
You might assume gaming is nigh-on impossible with this disability. It nigh on is, to be perfectly honest, but I carry on regardless. The only reason I can play games is that I’m so occupied when doing so that I forget the majority of the agony I’m in. By being focused, stimulated and socialising with friends that I wouldn’t be able to in real life, my soul is healed on the worst of days. Be it the exciting multiplayer of the Call Of
Duty franchise or the endless addiction of time trial on the F1 and Dirt games, I am free of my problems. No arthritis. No epilepsy. No non-existent social life. I’m immersed and happy, something I can’t say of my experience of any other media platform. Only gaming can heal me fully.
And that’s the truth. Videogaming is unrivalled in its ability to stimulate, focus and immerse someone in another world. For the ‘outsider’ to change their mind, maybe we should sit them down with No Man’s Sky or
Overwatch, and see whether they can’t help but smile. Charlie Ridgewell
Heartfelt stuff, Charlie – many thanks for getting in touch, and we’re relieved to hear we’re not the only ones who use games as a refuge from the horrors of the real world, though you’ve given our own problems some much-needed context. We will return to the swollen Edge mailsack with renewed vigour.