Back in the late 80’s to early 90’s, the video game craze took off and created a tidal wave of controversy around being a distraction for children. They were depicted as being too “addicting”, or worse, often criticized for perpetuating violence or other severe psychological disorders. This led to the creation of the ESRB rating which allowed parents to determine whether a game was deemed appropriate to play, and to essentially create more of a narrative around video games being unhealthy for the mind.
Are video games really that unrelenting to the point where it rots the mind? Or perhaps there are actual benefits that many ill-informed adults are unaware of, due to their unjust ways of thinking. We’d like to assume the latter because fast forward to 2020 and we now have a multi-billion dollar gaming industry that’s not only thriving, but it’s helping to establish a much more balanced psychological approach to life and continuously rewriting the narrative for innovation.
This brings us to one particular title that strikes us as not only riveting in its gameplay, but is inspired by one of the most influential psychoanalysts of the 20th century and that’s Persona 5. We’ll place more emphasis on Persona 5 Royal since it’s the more recent but let’s dive into why Persona 5 Royal provides psychological benefits for players who dive into the Carl Jung inspired world.
It Teaches Us the Power of Relationships
In much of the opening of Persona 5 Royal a lot of your time is spent with your other classmates Ryuji and Ann, as you come to discover the truths about Kamoshida’s actions. Throughout the game relationship-building acts as the main core surrounding gameplay, as the more you develop stronger bonds, you receive extra bonuses along with abilities.
Through this core fundamental mechanic that’s implemented in the game we learn the importance of relationships, and how it can greatly affect your performance down the road. This works hand-in-hand with life itself because as we continue to build trust with those closest to us, we too develop inner strength and new abilities to carry us forward through life. Persona 5 Royal exemplifies all of this incredibly well by always putting the player in a position of choice, encouraging you to make decisions just as you would in a real-life scenario. While the game is certainly entertaining, it does help to yield some important results when placing emphasis on persona character growth and friendships.
A Lot of the Game References Real Life Circumstances
This doesn’t just apply simply to Persona 5 Royal but rather the entire series as a whole. Persona does a stellar job of creating an atmosphere that feels real, while not overwhelming the player by making it too realistic, thus robbing the player of an imaginary experience. By this, we mean things like using actual real-life locations like Shibuya, Tokyo as the main focal point of travel when hanging with friends or other things like going to work.
This creates an element of desire from the player because it encourages you to learn more about your surroundings, eventually opening up a world of possibilities. For someone not living in Japan, for example, may find the allure of Shibuya to be intriguing and thus entices them to perhaps travel to Japan to feel like they’re a part of the Persona experience.
Another element that ties in well pertaining to real-life circumstances is the overall culture of Japan itself, which we tend to see in classroom settings, but also throughout the vast majority of the game. When in the classroom you’re almost always learning something fascinating about human psychology, such as the Golden and Silver Ratio, or the more in-depth questions pertaining to Japanese imperial history.
Sure, a lot of these quizzes are curated for the Japanese audience but there are times when universal questions are asked and they’re not easy. This sequence of events once again entices the player to do their research outside of the game, something not a lot of other mainstream titles tend to do, since it does take the player out of the game. However, with Persona 5 Royal it’s actually a really great way to stimulate the player and much like in-game, can help to develop greater knowledge about topics you’d otherwise overlook. The game creates a fine-tuned balance that doesn’t alienate the player but keeps them engaged enough to come back for more. The Carl Jung inspired philosophy surrounding Persona is incredibly vast and it will take time for players to wrap their heads around certain issues, such as domestic abuse, suicide, depression, just to name a few.
The main benefit behind exploring these areas within a virtual realm is that players will not feel too overwhelmed to dive deeper on their own terms, and at the same time, develop a stronger emotional response to the real-life circumstances that many of us deal with on a daily basis. While it may be hard to swallow at first the point has been made, and that point is that through real-life experiences can we learn more about the human mind, and better understand ourselves through the world which surrounds us. It’s an instilling reminder that no one is perfect but through building strong friendships, learning to take responsibility, taking risks when needed, and overcoming adversity can we feel rest assured that things are moving forward.