As Tolkien put it, the only people who frown at escape are jailers.
Sometimes you really, really, really need to get outside your own head. And if you’re not inclined to drink or other mood-altering substances, good fiction is the way to do it.
Some situations, you need more “out of your head” than others. I’m currently watching a Resident Evil 2 walkthrough vid (Leon), because it’s that or reality and right now I would really rather deal with zombies, thanks.
For all the videogame aspects (healing herbs growing in the oddest places, ammo almost any time you turn around), the game builds the horror atmosphere very effectively, drawing you in to the character’s life-or-death struggle even with (by today’s standards) somewhat less realistic graphics.
Part of that is the sound. Not just the soundtrack; though that’s creepily effective, sometimes even more so in places where there is no background music. But the sound of footfalls on different surfaces gives you the sense of someone actually traversing the terrain; from concrete to steel-runged ladders to fire escapes and floating wooden boxes. Scraping of objects over floors, creaking of doors, the ting of something falling from a hidden compartment – all those give you the “next best thing to being there” engagement with the environment.
Another part is the in-game option to avoid combat, as much as possible. Which is realistic. Leon’s not there to kill zombies; he’s there to find survivors and try to escape with them. You have to shoot some things, but you have the option to try to run.
And one of the things that really draws you in is, Leon is a genuinely good guy in an awful situation, trying to do what’s right.
…Not to mention when undead butt does need to be kicked, he’s good at it!
(And according to Word of God, he did it all with a hangover…)
So. A good guy, trying to do good things, up against incredible odds. What’s not to like?
Going to get me some more sneaking by zombies, now….