Video games to cope with grief
Grief can be a challenging thing. Not everyone grieves in the same way, and people find different ways of coping. It can be difficult to understand your emotions and know how you’re ‘meant to’ act. Video games might help you to understand your feelings a bit better.
This blog is a part of our Living With Loss: Grief Campaign
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Playing video games to cope with your grief may sound a bit different if you compare it to the usual grieving advice that you may get, but it could be a way of exploring feelings that works for you. It could also be a way of distracting yourself from your grief for a little bit.
Hallie, 25, shared her list of 8 video games* that may help you process your loss.
(*If you’re struggling to process your grief and feel that some of these games may be triggering, please speak to someone you trust. You can talk to Meic free and confidentially by calling 080 880 23456 or chatting with us online.)
Available on mobile, this free award-winning adventure game for teens allows players to explore an island and accept quests from various characters. As you play, you’ll come across written notes and audio transcripts from young people talking about their loss, and you’ll be encouraged to engage with coping strategies to build resilience.
FREE. Available on App Store and Google Play.
The main character, Gris, is a young woman lost in sorrow after a painful experience. Her world is black and white, and only after working through the stages of grief (and different sections of the game) is colour brought back into her world.
Costs involved. Available on Nintendo Switch, Steam, PlayStation, and iOS.
This narrative point-and-click game retells Joel Green’s 4-year fight against cancer. It focuses on the highs and lows experienced throughout grief.
Costs involved. Available on the App Store.
Stella becomes the new spiritfarer whose task is to fare spirits to the deceased in the afterlife. The goal is to make the spirits more comfortable by completing tasks like cooking food, building places of rest and helping them fulfil their last wishes.
Costs involved. Available on Steam, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation.
The Last Campfire is a puzzle game where the player controls a soul called Ember, who must solve puzzles to help fellow sad souls who have lost hope to find their purposes.
Costs involved. Available on Steam, Epic Games, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox One, Apple Arcade.
This visual novel adventure allows you to play as Edith, who explores their childhood home to find their family secrets and solve the mystery of why she is the only Finch still alive. In the first person, you’ll explore the stories of Edith’s family members and work Edith through her grief.
Costs involved. Available on PlayStation, Xbox, Steam, Nintendo Switch, iOS.
Take the role of a wolf with the ability to control other animals. You’ll assist lost souls in crossing into the afterlife. You’ll discover ruins of long-forgotten civilisations and ancient cultures that tell stories of hope, loss, ambition and failure.
Costs involved. Available on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Gog.com
Playing video games to help with your grief may not suit everyone. Meic is always here for you if you need to talk to someone about your feelings or get advice and support. The contact details are below, as well as some grief organisations that can help.
A youth website by Cruse Bereavement Support. A safe place where you can learn from other young people how to cope with grief and feel less alone. Call the Cruse helpline on 0808 808 1677 between 9:30 and 5pm Monday and Friday and between 9:30 and 8pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Visit their Grieving at Christmas page.
Helping children, teenagers and young adults to find their feet when their worlds are turned upside down by grief. Their Help 2 Make Sense website has advice, tips, and real-life stories from other grieving young people. Visit their Coping With Grief at Christmas page.
Supporting bereaved children and young people. The Grieftalk helpline offers confidential, emotional support and guidance to anyone affected by grief. 0808 802 0111 9am-9pm weekdays. Visit their Remembering at Christmas page.
Free and confidential helpline for children and young people up to 25 in Wales. Call our helpline from 8am to midnight every single day: 080 880 23456 or chat to us online. Find out more here about how we can be Here For You Over Christmas and New Year