How No Man’s Sky Helped Me Deal With Depression

Finding Peace in the Void.

Joe Douglas
The Gaming Geeks
Published in
5 min readNov 11, 2020

--

One of the many beautiful vistas from my time playing No Man’s Sky

I was diagnosed with depression in my early 20s, but I’m pretty certain I had it long before that, at least since my early teens. Now 35 I’ve been knowingly living with it for 15 years and in that time I’ve tried many different methods of managing it.

Talking to professionals, going on medication, attending groups, journaling, CBT-ing, even meditating. I’ve tried a lot of different things and while some have worked better than others, for me the best way to manage my depression is to lose myself.

The phrase “to lose oneself” can conjure up a myriad of meaning, not all of them good. However, what I mean here is to lose yourself completely in a fictional world; to forget the reality around you and completely surrender yourself to the immersion of this new reality. Of course this can happen with any kind of medium; a novel, a comic, a film or TV series, a podcast or audiobook.

For me though, the medium in which it is easiest to lose myself is video games, in particular those that offer you a grand, rich universe to explore.

Such as No Man’s Sky.

If you’ve not heard of No Man’s Sky, in essence it is a game which presents players with an open world universe of 18 quintillion planets, all of which are procedurally generated. You literally have an entire universe to explore, no hyperbole needed.

While the game does have a story with missions and goals like traditional games, the true brilliance of No Man’s Sky, and I would argue the true joy of it, is when you put all those to the side and simply explore.

Every time you visit a new planet you are never sure what you are going to find. Perhaps it will be a huge seed pod large enough to build a little rest stop in, or a gigantic canyon through which you can fly your ship. Maybe you’ll come across the ruins of a previous civilisation and uncover secrets of the past, or find a hidden nest of creatures long thought to be extinct.

Sometimes you’ll happen across an abandoned communications station to find a distress call that has gone unanswered for…

--

--

Joe Douglas
The Gaming Geeks

Collector. Writer. Artist. Geek. I write mostly about the hobby of collecting. Check out my full portfolio at JMDWorks.org.