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Mariya's ethos on gaming

It is my ethos that video games, anime, and gaming in general are curative. Moreover, I have found you can learn a lot about a person, their values, and their ideal future through their geek-isms.

Specifically, when engaging in geek-conscious therapy, I always start my intakes by asking clients how being a “geek”, “nerd”, and/or “otaku” presents itself in their lives. The overwhelming client response to said question is excitement that, from the start, their interests are being accepted and welcomed in the therapy room.

As such, I believe it's equally useful to share my personal geek-ism of choice: video games.

Gaming has instilled within me (a black female living in Orange County) a feeling of both competency and strength. In the moments in which I have felt either othered or ignored by society at large, I have been able to turn on a game and instantly become a warrior of light. I am both a “mere mortal” and a slayer of colossus. I am Elden Lord and can bring forth a future far beyond myself. I am (both in and out of game) capable of greatness.

Because of this, I find giving space to the geek-isms that have provided both enjoyment and strength to be an important part of the therapy process. Below are my top five favorite video games.

1. The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild: This holds a special place in my heart as it encouraged me to seek out and fully experience the magic inherent in the world around me. Even small things like Korok Seeds can be sources of accomplishment.

2. Elden Ring: This game reminded me that struggle does not beget failure. Elden Ring, like other Souls games before it, urges players to find beauty in difficulty. Because, no matter how many times you try and fail under Malenia’s blade, you are always destined to be Elden Lord.

3. Nier Automata: This game shows that one is never alone. Even when a task seems impossible, there are always people who have walked the same road and are willing to provide support.

4. Yakuza 0: Much like Persona 5, Yakuza 0 epitomizes the fact that an individual cannot be defined solely by their outward appearance or social standing. Even the most hardened yakuza has the capacity for great morality.

5. Persona 5 Royal: This game emphasizes the fact that social standing, perception, and/or discourse do not define a person or their capabilities. Even a teen amongst adults can be the harbinger of great change. It also encourages folxs to accept, understand, and forge bonds with the many masks that they wear.

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