Externally, the concept of using a video game to ‘play out’ some aspect of an unrelated situation, be it mental, emotional or physical. The game acts as a cathartic proxy by virtue of its interactive nature.
Internally, catharsis refers to the relief and positive emotion experienced when a challenge is carried out after significant investment of energy and time. It can be connected to victory conditions but doesn’t have to be.
“There’s a palpable feeling of catharsis when you spot a typewriter in Resident Evil. It communicates that the player is safe, and silently congratulates them for reaching that safe point.”