It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we just feel down. Perhaps it's due to endless weeks of bad weather, a horrible breakup, or buyer's remorse over picking up that copy of Duke Nukem Forever. Or maybe there is no underlying reason; sometimes we just get into an inexplicable funk and feel like silently brooding in our bedroom like Squall Leonheart. Well, here are nine things that should chase depression away from any gamer.
The Intro to Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
The first half hour of Lunar: SSS introduces the player to the game's two central characters, Alex and Luna, when they are still pretty young. Young love is secretly blossoming between them as Alex waxes nostalgic over his hero Dragonmaster Dyne and Luna shows off her musical talents. Oh yes, and Alex has a squeaky-voiced flying cat thing for a pet. Sure, darker themes emerge as the game progresses, but Lunar casts its magic over players in the very beginning, throwing them into a world of overwhelming childish optimism. It takes a pretty jaded gamer to get through this opening sequence without at least a little bit of that optimism rubbing off on them.
Co-op in LittleBigPlanet
Seriously, how could you look at Sackboy's goofy face and not crack a smile? LittleBigPlanet just oozes with happiness, and it's not completely because of its lighthearted visual appeal or Stephen Fry's soothing narration (though that's definitely a huge part of it.). The whole game is about encouraging players to be creative, and being creative simply makes you feel good about yourself. And when you add a second player to the mix, the fun value increases exponentially. Even if you're still feeling grumpy, you can always have your Sackboy smack your friend's Sackboy around. At least that should make you feel better.
Co-op in ToeJam & Earl
And speaking of co-op, ToeJam & Earl for the SEGA Genesis had an incredible two-player co-op. This odd little game told the story of two aliens who have crash landed on Earth and must piece together their spacecraft so they can make it back to their home planet Funkatron. It was a celebration of junk food and funk music that satirized just how bizarre human beings actually are, and it had a massive funny bone to boot. Playing with a friend was always the best way to enjoy this madness, as the three-legged ToeJam would interact with his chubby buddy Earl in some unexpected—and often downright laugh-out-loud hilarious—ways. If you've never experienced this true gem of retro gaming, it's currently available on the Wii's Virtual Console. Pick it up next time you're feeling blue and call up a good friend to play it with you. Trust us, you'll feel better the second the funky opening theme kicks in.
Poker Night at the Inventory
One of Telltale Games' lesser-known titles, Poker Night at the Inventory is an absolute blast. Sure, there is no shortage of great poker games out there if you just want to throw some cards around, but only Poker Night at the Inventory lets you play Texas Hold'em with Max from Sam & Max, Tycho from Penny Arcade, The Heavy from Team Fortress 2, and Strong Bad from Homestar Runner. You'll forget the poker pretty quickly as you find yourself wedged between four of gaming's larger-than-life personalities. It's not always kid-friendly, but it's almost always laugh-'til-you-cry outrageous. The only problem is that your real-life friends will seem a whole lot less interesting after hanging out with these guys for an evening.
"The Moon" Theme from DuckTales
Perhaps you don't want to play a video game at all but you're jonesing for a happy tune to get you through a rough patch. Well, look no further than "The Moon" theme from Capcom's DuckTales for NES. Often cited as one of the best songs of the NES era, "The Moon" is low-fi tunage at its absolute best. Not even the cantankerous Scrooge McDuck can sit through this one without being affected by its joyful 8-bit sounds.
Rayman Origins was a great game that didn't get the attention it deserved because it shared a release month with Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, and far too many other big-name titles. Like LittleBigPlanet and ToeJam and Earl, Rayman Origins has a great co-op mode. However, you don't need to have a friend close by to be infected by this game's contagious happiness. It's a beautiful game with a hand-drawn aesthetic and some of the goofiest music you'll ever hear in a video game. This is a title that simply makes us feel good about life.