We gamers are an afflicted bunch. Chalk it down to gaming being such a gloriously addictive hobby that visiting the doctor for a check-up feels an unnecessary time-waste when we could be shooting things in their virtual faces. The typical image of a gamer is a pasty-faced social outcast. Well, gamers, how are we going to fix this perception? By playing more games of course! The ones below might just hold the cure...
Can’t sleep? Try the first 20 hours of Final Fantasy XIII. Unless you get energized at the thought of running down a linear corridor while occasionally hitting a button, this’ll send you right out. For an even more potent sleeping aid look no further than Nier, a JRPG so snooze-worthy it should come with a warning label: ‘Will cause drowsiness’. It’s even good for a bit of bedtime reading; one dungeon takes the form of a classic 80’s text adventure. And it’s as boring as it sounds.
Above: When the main character falls asleep, you know it's boring
If driving tired is more your thing, Race Driver Grid or Gran Turismo 4’s Le Mans 24 Hours races - 24-hour endurances which play out in real time - will almost certainly cause your eyes to slowly close, your car to skid off into a ditch, and for you to finally get some well-earned sleep.
Prescription: A strong dose of a recent JRPG (not to be taken if you are on antidepressants/about to operate heavy machinery), or 380 laps of Circuit de la Sarthe in Grid or Gran Turismo 4.
Here’s a test: add three and three together. If your answer is ‘chair’, you are stupid. But you’ve come to the right place. Certain games today can actually, officially, legitimately make you smarter (or so say the 100% scientifically correct adverts), like Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training.
The game’s math, reading and Sudoku puzzles are like being back at school, with all the embarrassment of feeling like a teacher’s pet and none of the boyish classroom hijinks. Give it a go, and if you still feel stupid, that won’t be the fault of the game – it will be a result of you spending money on the kind of questions they give away free in the newspaper.
Prescription: Obtain one copy of Dr. Kawishima’s Brain Training (without paying money, if you can help it.)
A sudden fright can cure any fit of sneezing – it’s medical fact. And there is no scarier game series than Fatal Frame. The latest in the series and exclusive to Wii, Fatal Frame IV, has it all. Creepy mansion? Check. Your character a young lady armed only with a flashlight and a camera? Check. Weird ‘The Ring’-style ghost-things that love sneaking up behind you? Double check.
Above: Avoid this unsightly mess by playing something that'll give you nightmares. It's a small price to pay
For jump-out-of-your-seat scares, there are no choicer shocks than Eternal Darkness (spoilers: there’s a dead body in the bath!), Doom 3 (spoilers: there’s a hellish monster in the closet!), and Dead Space (spoilers: there are aliens EVERYWHERE). See also that infamous moment in Resident Evil with the zombie dogs...and the...window. We won’t spoil it for those who really do suffer from sneezing.
Prescription: For consistent tension, play Fatal Frame IV. For a jolting sound cue followed by a sudden camera zoom into the image of something gory (also known as the ‘gets em’ every time’), play any of the more recent horror games.