An iPhone App is My Pro Bono Therapist

This year, when I finally had the opportunity to write my own column, I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. But when I opened my laptop to start writing, I got stressed thinking about what I’d even write about. So I did what comes naturally to me whenever I feel overwhelmed: I went on my iPhone and opened “Bakery Story,” one of my many games. And, voila.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been dedicated to bakery simulation games for years. Before my current go-to, “Bakery Story,” there was “Bakery Life,” which left me heartbroken when it was removed from Facebook in 2011. And while many gaming addicts lament how playing their games have ruined their lives, I’m going to tell you the exact opposite.

My loyalty to these kind of games is not only due to the simple fact that they are fun, but because these games keep me sane.

Like its popular cousin, “Farmville,” the premise of  “Bakery Story” is simple. You bake cute simulated sugary-sweet goods, wait for them to finish cooking, serve them to in-game characters who buy them, and make money.

There are extra options to decorate your bakery, fulfil some goals and objectives, save gems for mystery prize boxes or the occasional corgi statue; enough to keep you invested, but not to keep you mindlessly playing all day. There’s no pressure of an impending time limit, no responsibility to save your work before quitting. I rest assured that when I open my bakery, I’ll be greeted with the day’s earnings and gifts from neighbors, most of whom are strangers. There’s no need to post embarassing and awkward Facebook posts asking for lives to continue playing my bakery.

The benefits of the game don’t even end there. My bakery fits with the routines of my day and even helps me get up in the morning. If I need to wake up at 6 a.m. but find myself getting into bed at midnight, I can just choose to bake some servings of Fruit Tart that will be ready to serve in six hours. And though I am the world’s worst morning person, I do get up to serve my food and prevent it from burning.

“Bakery Story” is my dose of therapeutic relaxation at the cost of free-ninety-nine. After working all day, spending hours studying for midterms or writing another daunting paper for Making of the Modern World, I instantly feel calmer once I have the opportunity to take a break and open my bakery. Some may call this procrastination, but baking zero-calorie simulated chocolate chip cookies definitely beats consuming real comfort food calories in my book.

People have told me countless times to quit playing these juvenile games, and they’ve heard me reject them with this explanation far too often. It may seem childish, but I don’t really see why I should. I don’t tell them to stop crushing candies or running through Mayan temples. But to each their own, and at least on the days that I feel crazy, I’ll have my version of therapy in the palm of my hand.

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