It is becoming widely recognised that gaming has many positive benefits and helping with grief is one of these. Video games offer players a place to escape, express yourself and engage with others, building a support system who you can open up to.
Ways gaming can help you to cope with your grief include:
- Can help you to feel a connection with other players
- Can provide a distraction when things get too much
- Can provide concentration and focus – a form of mindfulness
- Can provide metaphors, characters and scenarios which you might identify with, learn from or feel supported by
- Can help us to remember and feel connected to someone who has died
Below are a few games that players have said helped them cope with their grief or with difficult times.
Apart of Me
Designed by grief experts and bereaved young people, Apart of Me is a beautiful world and a safe space for grieving young people whenever they need it. As players explore an island, they can hear stories from other young people who know what it is like to lose someone you love, reminding you that you are not alone. You can also learn mindfulness techniques, begin to accept your feelings of grief and take on real-world quests, for example collecting photos of the person who has died. Apart of Me aims to translate bereavement counselling techniques into a magical world that is free to use and there whenever you need it.
Escape to a deserted island and create and customise your own world in Animal Crossing which you can then share with other players and explore their islands. A number of players have created memorials on their island to loved ones who have died, and holding funeral and memorial services within the game has become more prevalent as lockdown restrictions prevented people attending physical funeral and memorial services. Creating spaces where you can remember someone who has died and sharing these with family and friends can be a helpful way to learn to cope with your grief.
The aim of Journey was to create an experience where players could have a deep emotional connection with other players. Rather than competing, players can guide and help each other to succeed. Explore the ancient and mysterious desert world as you soar above ruins and glide across sands and connect with others along the way. Many people have said that playing Journey has helped them cope with the death of a loved one – providing a place to escape and connect with others.
Types of games that can help you cope with grief:
MMO’s (massively multiplayer online games)
MMO’s, or massively multiplayer online games, are living worlds where you can meet and play with lots of other people and have helped players coping with grief or tough times. Games like World of Warcraft offer you a chance to connect with others, build a support system and you may find yourself opening up and talking to your friends more than you would in other situations. Similar to Animal Crossing you can also create in-game memorial and funerals.
RPG’s (role-playing games)
Playing an immersive and story-driven RPG can offer the escapism you might need when grieving. Games like The Witcher allow you to become lost in a world and switch off from the complicated feelings and emotions you experience following the death of someone you love.
Gamers have also raised money for Winston’s Wish by taking part in gaming marathons, live streams and tournaments. If you would like to find out more, then click here.