A fact I am sure we can all agree on is that time for sleep is just as important as time for gaming, but what about the games that toe the line between the two? Forget bombastic spectacle fighters and anything where gameplay revolves around a gun, and just think about games that can only be used for relaxation. This week let’s take a slow stroll through games where not only can you play them in bed (set-up permitting) but where that could be actively encouraged.
As these are obviously video games there will be interaction with a controller required, though it is minimal, as part of the sleep seeking experience. Otherwise you may as well stick a movie on.
A quick disclaimer that I am not talking about boring games, though if playing boring games helps you sleep then you do you champ.
Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
This game is the main inspiration for this list as I have been using it as an on and off sleeping aid over the last few months. Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture gameplay is so gentle, and its story so slow and unimportant for the experience you want in the dead of night, that you could be forgiven for thinking it was created with this purpose from its very inception. Playing as the slowest possible silent protagonist, who doesn’t walk so much as they drift like a summer breeze through the beautiful setting, means their unhurried nature helps to form the first sleeping aid on this list.
When there is character dialogue the majority of it is gentle Westcountry accents, our non-British readers may know this as that funny ‘corrr blimey farmer talk’, and even when characters are becoming irate or hostile to each other it is unlikely to bring you back to full consciousness if you were succeeding in drifting off at the time.
Away from the picturesque villages in Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture you can find secluded little wooded areas, trickling streams and wide open cornfields with the most gentle possible sound effects that stop just shy of being silent, working well with the eerie vibe the game achieves in creating and helping you to get some well deserved zzz’s.
I have to concede straight off the bat that a lot of this game takes place in blue environment thanks to its underwater setting, and blue light is proven to negatively impact sleep. That said, the early areas tend to favour particular colour schemes in each level with their wildlife and foliage, so the bulk of the blue light issue can be avoided just be skipping the games opening section, and existing primarily in its second and third.
The developers of Abzu, Giant Squid Studios, are most definitely aware of the use of their game for more than just a relaxed gaming session by the fact interacting with one of the many statues scattered around the levels will transition you into ‘meditation mode’, where your character will sit cross legged atop one of them and merely observe the submerged world around them.
Red Dead Redemption 2
I appreciate this is an odd entry but hear me out. When I first played Red Dead Redemption 2 I didn’t like it at all, primarily for the unnecessarily slow pace of the story. This ill feeling was exacerbated by the fact none of the characters seemed to appreciate the fact that players likely have lots of other things they’d rather be doing than listening to cowboys shout their lines over wind sound effects.
Fortunately those money grabbing weasels at Rockstar (yes I am still quite fucked off they didn’t release single player expansions for GTA V) know what they’re doing when it comes to creating tools for players to make their own fun. ‘This plays very much like a walking simulator’ I thought to myself in the stretches between early gunfights, and with my determination to play more of this title I began to treat it as such.
Within an hour of this revelation I started having an amazing time, thanks mostly to the fact that the game world is unquestionably gorgeous, and I liked nothing more than moseying around with frequent stops to camp, fish and brew that nectar of the gods, coffee (no Will, not Monster).
Another point I’ll have to give Rockstar, and here I’m returning to the point that you can use this game as a sleeping aid, is that the world is so big and varied that it isn’t hard (post-game anyway) to slowly explore without being attacked at random by bears, wolves and that most violent of all creatures, hicks. Saint Denis at night is one of my favourite places to drift through, as well as the open plains outside of Valentine if you want more of a relaxing rural vibe. Either way, give it a chance and you won’t be disappointed.
Just because it’s shit.
OK, this was a joke entry, moving on..
Assassin’s Creed: Origins – Discovery Tour
I want to make it perfectly clear that Origins is not a boring game or a sleeping aid in any way. Its inclusion on this list is entirely down to its Discovery Tour mode, which also isn’t boring. Now that I’ve thoroughly confused the situation allow me to explain.
Learning isn’t always fun, that we can agree on, and so while I am legitimately interested in the wealth of knowledge the Discovery Tour can throw at you on any number of Ancient Egyptian topics, there are occasions when I’m really not interested and would rather be asleep. Enter Discovery Tour mode, where you can be gradually put to sleep by any number of facts you’re probably not interested in in the slightest when it is 2am and you have to be up for work in five hours.
I’ve spent hours being shown around Ancient Egypt in the Discovery Tour mode, but I will admit that a chunk of that time was spent on topics I couldn’t care less about (looking at you pottery tour) as I was just trying to be lulled to sleep. It worked!
Thank you for reading this list of games you can use as a sleeping aid. Let me know in the comments of any other games you think could also work in this way as I’m genuinely curious as to which experiences I may have missed. I’ll be back next week with a likely much less relaxing article and so I will speak to you then. Sleep well.