Mentally I'm here: The game worlds our minds are retreating into via memes

A meme began spreading on social media this month revealing which game worlds people long to dive back into.

As we enter the half-year stage of coronavirus lockdown, people's minds are beginning to wander outside the walls of their own homes. A recent meme spreading on social media, where people declared where they're at mentally, is giving us an insight into our collective desire to be somewhere else. And, unsurprisingly, many turned to game as their ideal summer getaway.

"Physically I'm here, but mentally I'm here" or some variation on the phrase, was accompanied by pictures or videos of places gamers longed to return to. These are the best we've seen, the places that most strongly resonate with our current state, and the ones we'd like to return to most.

Neopets

Unsurprisingly, a huge number of the escapes people are making mentally are into their childhoods. A place tinted with the rosy hue of nostalgia and untainted by the burdens of our later life. Many of them are web games and sites we would waste hours of lunch breaks on, in the school computer lab. The giant omelette in Neopets represents that daily comfort.

Habbo Hotel

Similarly, the comfort of being around strangers (a distant memory by now) has had many looking back fondly on a misspent youth traipsing around an isometric hotel. Whether it was primitive trolling, raiding or hanging out, there was always someone to talk to at least. Sometimes too many. So many speech bubbles.

Purble Place

Other childhood touchstones we thought we'd forgot, but which ripped a portal to the past open inside our brains as soon as we saw them, include Purble Place. Whether it was assembling a cake or hacking into a computer, this Windows Vista pack-in gave us hours of fun when it really should have only been minutes. This is what happens when they stop putting Pinball Space Cadet on the operating system, apparently.

Adiboo: Magical Playland

The game that got us hooked on point and click adventures. We don't even care that it was trying to teach us reading and singing, it snuck in under the radar as an edutainment title because we were all in on defeating that monster blob thing. Oh to be a red-capped youth talking to a laughing tree in a magical field. Take us there.

Tarzan

Not everything was shovelware or flash games though, some people desperately want to return to some of the more premium game worlds of the past. The freedom of sliding and swinging through the jungle as Tarzan, in glorious 2.5D, was almost too much to believe at the time. Now it seems even more far-fetched, somehow.

Harry Potter games

While most of our daydreams of escaping into game worlds are tied to childhood freedoms, some are reflections of our current situation as well. This single stealth section of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the PS2 still gives us heart-pounding anxiety flashbacks to this day. The stresses of a global pandemic can't compare to this music. Unbelievable levels of tension coming back to us now, please, no, we'll do anything not to have to redo this mission again.

The Chao Garden

Ok, let's just relax a bit after that dark journey down memory alley. And there was no better place to relax than Sonic Adventure 2's Chao Garden. Hanging out with our little fake Tamagotchi friends, playing with them, feeding them. This was the next best thing for anyone without a real pet. Surprisingly funky music as well, still bops to this day.

Chrono Trigger (Zeal)

Speaking of funky music, absolutely nothing tops the entrancing beat in the Corridors of Time. The backing track for when you find the beautiful, floating island kingdom of Zeal in Chrono Trigger will stick with us for the rest of our lives. Imagining just chilling next to those inexplicable waterfalls in the sky is giving us goosebumps already.

Pokemon (Lavender Town)

At the other end of the music-linked memory scale is Pokemon's Lavender Town. Plenty of people thought of drifting away to the carefree childhood journey through Pokemon's first generation games, but Australia's streaming goddess PaladinAmber really nailed the true feeling of the moment. If we were to return to Pokemon's Kanto region right now, it would be in the weird, slightly unsettling and underpopulated town of Lavender. That creepy soundtrack. The eerie atmosphere. This is where we all are right now.

If you don't see where you are mentally in here, then let us know which game world you've been daydreaming about recently. Also, if you're struggling mentally right now, and imagining game worlds to escape to isn't cutting it for you, please know that there is help out there for you. Check out where you can find someone to talk to and find your own safe place to escape to.

Editor-in-Chief

Chris is the captain of the good ship AllGamers, which would explain everything you're seeing here. Get in touch to talk about work or the $6 million Echo Slam by emailing chris.higgins@allgamers.com or finding him on Twitter. 

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