I preordered Persona 5 and was excited to get it a few days after my birthday. Unfortunately I had a flu that just would not go away. The game was instant comfort for me especially since I got the special Take Your Heart edition so I also received a stuffed Morgana (the cat who is not a cat), an art book, a soundtrack, and a tote bag. I was taking undergrad classes at the time so I generally did not play games on school nights but I made an exception with this game because I needed something to help me feel better.
The game was immediately trying to pump me up with good feelings from the catchy “Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There” in the intro cutscene that plays when the game starts. Then, once I played the game it again gave me another catchy tune called “Life Will Change”. I love to sing so I sang along with the song and would listen to it while I was dealing with my weird flu that turned out to be acid reflux. The song was a reminder to me that eventually my acid reflux would heal and I would feel better. I decided to play the game on Safety because I like playing games on easy (yes I’m one of those people and even my best friend wishes I would try the game on harder) .
Now around this time is when I found out that I actually had acid reflux for the second time. This was terrifying to me, it was my biggest fear. I had only just gotten off my medicine a few months ago. Acid reflux is hard to deal with especially since my second bout had been giving me flu like symptoms. I would have to wait for the medicine to kick in and help me which takes a few days to settle down the acid.
Persona 5 was so comforting to me during this time. Even though I was powerless over my body becoming ill again, I was still powerful in the game. I went through the first dungeon sneaking up and getting rid of bad guys. I solved puzzles. I was so strong and I was working with my friends, Ryuji and Ann, in the game to take down the first boss.
Kamoshida was tough to beat. But, Morgana kept pushing me on and encouraging me and I had him steal the crown from Kamoshida to change Kamoshida’s heart. I beat the first boss after several minutes of slowly draining his health and celebrated my first victory. Then, he confessed to abusing his volleyball players at Shujin Academy and he was arrested. It felt so empowering to help these students and change the course of their lives. I may not have power over my acid reflux coming back but I did have the power to help people in this video game.
Continuing the Game
Every dungeon in the game was like a health tracker. Every dungeon I blasted through every night playing I would feel a lot better than the last dungeon. I started to feel more like myself the more I played through the game.
The game helped me feel better while I was going through a scary time and towards the end it felt like a celebration. I had reached the end of the game and I was almost feeling like myself despite the acid feeling in my throat that lingered for a bit longer. The game also symbolized the end of my college career. Just as my main character would be separated from his friends returning back home I would be separated from my friends graduating from college but, in both cases, we would always be close.
What games help you when you are feeling sick or need comfort?