Features

How video games helped me cope with depression

And made it worse?

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Video games have been a vital part of my life. My first game was JumpStart. Frogger quickly followed. From Frogger, I played Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., and Suikoden II. Playing video games was pretty much how my siblings and I spent time together when we weren’t studying and pretending to do our homework.

I once borrowed a girl’s Nintendo DS and played Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and obsessed over farming and flirting. No, seriously… This was the game that weirdly taught me how to flirt. I know I’m not the only one (I think). I honestly hope not, but that’s for a different article for another time.


Playing games was a large part of my childhood. But, it cemented itself into my life in a different way when I suffered from depression.

I think I was thirteen when depression and I had met but didn’t quite know each other’s names. I honestly thought it was a phase. “Thirteen and depressed,” sounded too silly to have been an actual thing. It was strange. I don’t quite know what was going on with myself. I just knew I had absolutely no motivation to not only be thirteen but to also, just be.

I remember staying up one night playing Ori and the Blind Forest on my laptop and feeling like I needed to just play it. I zoned out and played until the end. By then, it was morning. I had to wash up and head to class completely unprepared. As much as the day that followed that night was pretty much set to be horrible, I felt less anxious about having a bad day.

I realize now, in retrospect, that much of playing games growing up has taught me to be fine with failure. Well, I suppose that was the case because I was completely terrible at games, but had the stubbornness of a completionist.

Night in the Woods was one of the notable games that helped me through tough times.

I played games to escape the daunting reality of existence. From mulling over the purpose of life to the significance of one’s self in the grander scheme of society, I was not going to have it. No, sir. No, ma’am. No, thank you. I was going to play to have fun and if it meant watching my character die over the dumbest of things, I was going to laugh it off and start over.

I grew up failing a lot at games, but it’s not to say I failed at every single thing. Much of my first games were educational ones which set me up to know out-of-left-field facts. The ones that followed were pretty much where I learned to get better by failing.

Games like Suikoden II and Harvest Moon were where I learned to play once for the fun and a second time to meet all the stars of destiny to save Nanami from dying and to make every single non-playable character (NPC) fall in love with me. I’m not obsessive; I just have a fear of missing out.

Games may have played a vital role in my escapism, but sometimes that sense of detachment from reality is necessary to come back functioning better than before. In cases like mine, it taught me a healthy way to cope with my depression.

You see, when I was depressed, how I saw myself was pretty much distorted from reality. It still is sometimes. In many ways, video games can be a great avenue to strip yourself of the haunting noises in your head. This may not follow for some games with inevitably toxic chats but remember: They’re as much sad saps as you are — just kidding. Be nice, play nice, and have fun.

Playing games gives you the opportunity to shift perspective and alter your sense of reality. You get to decide whether to take it seriously or to take a step back and consider it as just a game. Also, there’s more to video games than having fun. Sometimes, dabbling into the deep technicalities make the game all the more fun.

How you immerse yourself can change how the game changes you and how willing you are to have it change you. As for me, it’s sometimes what keeps my sanity in check.

SEE ALSO: Indygo: A game that talks about depression

Her GadgetMatch

How to use your selfie camera for better photos

The front-facing camera is all you’ll ever need

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When someone says “selfie,” most people think of photos similar to this:

Shot with the Honor 10 Lite

And while there’s nothing wrong with photos like these, I’m here to tell you that pictures with your smartphone’s front-facing cameras can be way better. No, really.


In this article, I’ll walk you through how to get picturesque selfie shots that are Instagram-worthy.

First off, you’ll need a smartphone with a powerful selfie cam. Gone are the days when front shooters were considered secondary cameras. Brands have now recognized the importance of selfie shooters and they’re now putting in even better ones — thank heavens! The weapon of choice for this activity was the Honor 10 Lite with a 24-megapixel camera equipped with AI.

The next step is finding a great spot. Find a way to mount your phone — whether it be with a phone tripod, or entails propping it up on a wall or your coffee mug (like I did). What’s important is that your phone is on a stable place. Now you can fix your framing!


The camera timer is the most commonly used feature for these photos. All you need to do is turn it on and pose.

Actual outtake shot on the Honor 10 Lite

My favorite selfie feature would be the Palm Gesture. Simply raise up your palm when you’re ready. This saves you the trouble of having to physically tap the shutter button over and over. On the Honor 10 Lite, there’s also the Smile Shutter feature which triggers the shutter every time you smile, and the Volume Control feature which triggers the shutter when you say “Cheese,” or when your voice reaches a certain decibel.

How Palm Gesture works

What I love about shooting with the selfie cam is the fact that it shows me what my photo looks like before I hit the shutter. This means I can move around and make sure none of my body parts are cut out. I can also make sure I’m not shooting an unflattering angle and adjust accordingly. Here are just some samples I shot with the Honor 10 Lite:

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WATCH: How to take IG-worthy selfie portraits


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Honor.

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Features

Sneaky Apple announcements: Weekend Rewind

Is something big coming?

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Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.

1. Apple announced a bunch of things, Tim Cook starts a meme

Apple quietly announced a bunch of updates to their products, ahead of what many expect to be a big announcement at the end of March.


The company announced significant updates to the iMac. The 21.5-inch iMac now features Intel’s eight-generation six-core processors, while the bigger 27-inch iMac can offer up to an eight-core Intel Core i9 processor which promises 2.4 times faster performance.

AirPods can now be wirelessly charged. It’ll work with any Qi wireless charging solution. It also delivers better performance efficiency, faster connect times, 50 percent more talk time, and the convenience of hands-free “Hey Siri.”

The iPad Air and iPad mini get a boost in performance, as well as Apple Pencil support for the iPad mini, an A12 Bionic chip, and Retina display with True Tone tech and wide color support.

But perhaps the most significant thing that came out of these updates is Tim Cook giving birth to a new meme.

2. Travel video shot with Huawei P30 leaks

After Huawei’s moon and other samples “leak,” now comes what appears to be a travel video taken with the Huawei P30 Pro.

Cinematographer Parker Walbeck uploaded a Cancun travel video on his channel which was supposedly shot with the P30 Pro. Walbeck did say he made a few edits in post production but also went on to praise the phone’s optical and digital zoom capabilities.

3. Tesla’s Model Y is more affordable

Tesla is taking another stab at a mass market EV with the Tesla Model Y. It can easily be mistaken as the Model X at first glance with its long, sloping lines, wide bonnet, and lower grille. The difference is that being a crossover, the Model Y is bigger. In front there are LED fog lamps, auto dimming and power folding side mirrors, and a choice of 18-,  19-, or 20-inch wheels.

Pricing starts at US$ 39,000 and stretches to US$ 60,000 for the top-of-the-line Performance model. In between those are the Long Range and Dual Motor AWD which are at US$ 47,000 and US$ 51,000, respectively.

4. Black Shark 2 in your area

Xiaomi’s gaming smartphone isn’t playing around. The Black Shark 2 is here with top-of-the-line specs namely a Snapdragon 855 chipset, Adreno 640 GPU, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of internal storage.

The Black Shark 2 touts a Samsung-sourced 6.39-inch AMOLED screen, pumping out images at 2340 x 1080 resolution. Additionally, the display’s brightness goes up to 430 nits. Latency has also been reduced to 43.5ms. It has motion interpolation, optimizing the display for gaming purposes.

5. Google Stadia is for people with high-speed internet

At its recent Game Developers Conference, Google unveiled Stadia, its new cloud-based gaming platform. Unlike the PlayStation Now, Stadia does not require its own console. According to Google, gamers can access the platform anywhere online — laptops, TVs (through Google’s Chromecast), and smartphones. Thankfully, the service is brand agnostic; any device will work.

Predictably, this new platform will require a lot of bandwidth, so bad news for locations that don’t have access to really fast internet. And they really should’ve just called it Google Games or Google Gaming. GG.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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Automotive

Nissan pushes through with electrification of Asia and Oceania

One step at a time

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It’s that time of the year again when Nissan gathers thought leaders, government officials, and media representatives from around the region to discuss how to improve and reshape the way people use transportation.

With the theme “Transform the way we drive and live,” this year’s Nissan Futures offers updated statistics and tackles the company’s plans and strategies to fully electrify Asia and Oceania.


Through a report, Nissan kicked off the event by showing us our current situation and where this could lead. They said that in about 30 years, the human population will hit 9.9 billion and two out of three people will be living in cities. This translates to more carbon footprint for each city and heavier air pollution for everyone if we simply continue going down this path.

“Asia Pacific is home to more than 2.1 billion urban residents, that is 60 percent of the world’s urban population. This brings increased pressure on the region’s cities and mobility systems. Events like Nissan Futures create the appropriate platform to discuss solutions for our region’s societies and mobility systems,” said Yutaka Sanada, Regional Senior Vice President for Asia and Oceania. “Driven by our Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision, we are committed to bringing safe, smart, and sustainable mobility to more people.”

Yutaka Sanada officially announces the arrival of Nissan Leaf to more countries.

READ MORE: NISSAN LEAF TO ARRIVE IN PHILIPPINES AND INDONESIA BY 2020

We already talked about the benefits of electric vehicles (as well as myths that surround them) and how they will significantly reduce tailpipe emissions on the streets and eventually reduce air pollution. With that in mind, Nissan envisions a city with a more sustainable environment by jumping on the electric bandwagon. And right now, their Leaf electric vehicle is what embodies their plans for the future.

“The Leaf remains the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our strategy for moving more people to a better world,” said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s Global Head of Marketing, Sales, and Electric Vehicles.

Just earlier this month, the Leaf cemented itself as the most successful EV to date — surpassing the 400,000 sales mark. Although, we weren’t that surprised since we got to drive and experience the Leaf for the second time. I’d say the drive was more exciting this year since we drove it around the open streets of Hong Kong and witnessed how it fared in terms of its safety features, handling, power, and battery consumption.

We made a short video of the drive:

Yes, we’re still far away from cities being fully electric, but Nissan is relentlessly pushing through. It has already put its foot in and is paving the way for electrification that will soon extend beyond the confines of a vehicle.

SEE ALSO: NISSAN INTELLIGENT MOBILITY FIRST LOOK

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