Top 5 sandbox games for stress relief

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Like the rest of the gaming world out there right now, we’re all probably sitting at home playing Grand Theft Auto V. I know I am…

Despite the widespread criticism about mature content this game has – it certainly is a lot different from the railroading games that’s been around since the beginning.

Now I am not here to say that railroading games are bad, but freedom to do whatever you please in a game is a form of stress relief that has been proven in the past.

A study conducted in 2009’s Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine showed that certain video games have the power to make players relax by placing them “in a state of relative mindlessness”. Here’s the link. No wonder there’s so many people playing Bejeweled and Candy Crush these days.

But here’s a hypothetical scenario, you just got off work, it is the middle of the week and you feel like you have a million things to worry about.

Here is my top five sandbox games that I would recommend you play just to relieve some stress

5. Farcry 3

Ever wondered what it is like stranded on a beach resort? Well Farcry 3 is set in a remote island that has a bit of New Zealand and Thailand mixed together. You play as Jason as you travel this island hunting down clues for your missing friends. They have been captured by the local warlord and it is up to you to save them while uncovering the mystical voodoo of tribal natives. The game is solid and has a variety of exciting missions for you to play.

4. Elder Scrolls V Skyrim

Remember those silly swash buckling adventures you have with your friends when you were kids? Well re-live it in this epic tale of dragons and sorcery. The game was made two years ago but still has one of the most beautiful rendered landscape shots I have ever seen. You will not have a care in the world once you have climbed the highest peak in the whole game, bested the desolate lands of untamed wilderness and spent hours in the virtual library reading tales of mysteries and fantasies.

3. Grand Theft Auto

Okay so you have to push this button to do this and then press the menu to buy mor- AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT! Put the disc in, two to three minute loading screen then ENJOY! Don’t like driving at 200 km/h in your epic customised car? Grab your trusty boomstick and raid a police station (WARNING don’t do that in real life). Any of the recent games will do fine, but if you would love to, try and hunt down the latest product in the franchise.

2. Sims franchise

Make yourself at home, quite literally. The Sims games have always been a fun way to spend a few hours of free time. Customise yourself and your virtual house anyway you like to suit your needs. Make money off your virtual friends which are always around the block to get better resources to further customise your home.

1. Minecraft

Minecraft is basically an advanced game of Lego. Explore a fully randomised world where anything can be designed and created given you have the courage and determination to do so. I will probably write another article about Minecraft but it is definitely a fun way and creative way to spend evenings. Anyone with a decent amount of creativity can turn a barren wasteland into your very own fortified citadel.

Sandbox games are a good way to relieve stress. Fun is obviously a large factor for game developers but some times they take their own lore more serious than the entertainment value for players. An open world where exploration, sightseeing and expansive spaces are elements that make up sandbox games. Instead of seeing games as a catalyst for stress, sometimes we need to chill out and roam free instead of keeping your mind locked in.

For more benefits please check out Gallager’s article:


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