The Top 7... games that are cheaper than therapy

Let the haters and the old ladies complain about how those newfangled video computer games teach us to be killers; we've always taken the view that violent games are a pressure valve for blowing off steam in a harmless way. Don't believe it? Play something fierce and bloody the next time you're in a really bad mood, and then try telling us you didn't feel better afterward.

But why stop there? If games can keep you from climbing a clock tower and expressing your inner pain in the form of bullets, can you think of a reason why they couldn't be used to treat other mental maladies? No! You can't! That's why we racked our brains to come up with seven games that stand as inexpensive alternatives to shrink visits, all in the name of promoting videogames as a benefit to society.

(Note to idiots: the following are not substitutes for actual therapy for serious problems. They're just cheaper.)

Kleptomania - We Love Katamari
Namco | PS2

If violent games can siphon off violent urges, then it's not a stretch to think that a game where you take stuff that isn't yours could do the same for a kleptomaniac's urge to steal. And no game takes that to the extremes that We Love Katamari does - here, you take everything that isn't yours, from tiny thumbtacks to cars to whales to whole planets. Why? Who cares? It makes the babbling King of All Cosmos happy, or at least it keeps him from shooting you with lasers.

Above: Stealing this much stuff in real life would probably net you a stern talking-to

We can't pretend to know what drives kleptomaniacs to mindlessly snatch things they might not even want, mainly because we haven't bothered to do any research on the subject and never will. But if we give it some thought, we can imagine that it'd be a little like having a nonsense-spouting, rainbow-vomiting king in your head, compelling you to commit acts of larceny on pain of lasers. Or not.

Whatever the case, rolling stuff up into giant balls in We Love Katamari is exhilarating, so maybe it'll be enough to get your miniature head-king to shut up for a while. It's worth a try, anyway, so dust off your (stolen) copy of Katamari, start up your (also stolen) PS2 and slake those pent-up urges before they land you in the pokey.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.