When I was in my senior year of high school, I started noticing more and more that I was having trouble with anxiety and depression. I found it hard to have fun with anything that I used to have fun with, like playing games. I tried playing games to relax me, but I couldn't really find any game that made me feel at ease, nor could I find a game that was a really satisfying escapist-fantasy. A lot of games that I owned were violent power-fantasies, and it's not that those games can't be enjoyable, but those games weren't delivering the experience I was looking for.
After quitting my high school job, I didn't spend money on many things but, while browsing the Steam store one day, the title of a game caught my eye:
I clicked on the thumbnail and looked at a few screenshots. The game is composed of low-poly models and bright-colored textures. The game's only description was: "Proteus is a game about exploration and immersion in a dream-like island world where the soundtrack to your play is created by your surroundings. Played in first-person, the primary means of interaction is simply your presence in the world and how you observe it."
Due to school, I didn't have a ton of time to play games but, on a night when I could not sleep, I decided to play Proteus. I was immediately lost in a world of beautiful colors and amazing music and sounds. At first I had no idea what to do or what would happen, but the game allowed me to lose myself in such a relaxing and mysterious world. All the player does is walk around an island, and yet there's a ton of stuff to examine. The more I played and discovered, I realized that I had found an experience, however short, in which I could feel at ease.
The game only takes about 50 minutes to complete (depending on how much you explore), and there isn't a ton of replay value, but I will never forget that one night where I finally got some peace of mind and was allowed to relax.