How Alto’s Adventure Kept Me Sane


I’ve been meaning to write about Alto’s Adventure for the past few years, but never got around to it. This beautiful iOS game was my sole way of attaining peace in a time of huge personal turmoil.

My mom passed away close to three years ago:

My wife and I spent the next few weeks visiting her in hospital—her lungs were still filling up regularly and the doctors could not fix this. Or did not know how to. They instead attached a tube to the bottom of her right lung and it drained by itself. These weeks are too painful to write about. Her health deteriorated rapidly and then came the pain. Intense, scream-inducing pain which could not be controlled. I won’t even mention the appalling behaviour of the nurses in that hospital—they could not (and did not want to try to) understand the pain she was in. They often yelled at her, complained that she would not cooperate and worse. I still remember actually considering harming them physically—I could barely contain my anger. My mom also started losing consciousness for short periods of time—these fits were most probably induced by the cancer in her skull. One night, while trying to go to the bathroom, she didn’t call the nurses for help—she was afraid they would yell at her again.

She blacked out, fell over and broke her leg.

From then on she was confined to bed. She wasn’t strong enough to survive a complex operation, which was the only solution to fix her broken thigh. The only consolation was that she started receiving appropriate amounts of medication for her pain.

These weeks were incredibly taxing, ultimately driving me into severe depression, which took me over two years to shake1. I did find one way to keep sane at the time, during those long hours in the halls of the hospital my mom was in — by playing Alto’s Adventure [iOS / Android] when my stress levels were particularly high or there was just nothing else to do. I would completely lose myself in the wonderfully calming music, various sound effects, and flowing gameplay, while skiing down the slope of the endless in-game mountain. At one point Alto’s Adventure was the only experience that would calm my frayed nerves.

I don’t know what I would have done without this wonderful game, but I would like to deeply thank the team behind it — Snowman — for their efforts. They will always have a special place in my heart.

  1. Not completely, but close enough.

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