In the last two years, humanity has had to go through several losses. Loss of job, loss of money, loss of loved ones. And everyone has a different way of dealing with that. Some seek respite in distraction and video games provide the best distraction from grief.

It is not uncommon to see people spending an increased amount of time on video games, a coping mechanism in which the person doesn’t confront their emotions. But there is a new generation of video games that allow users to grieve and to confront loneliness, sickness, or sadness.

Video Games – An Avenue For Catharsis

There are five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (typically but not necessarily in that order). There are video games that help you process all these stages.

Let’s take Before Your Eyes. You take the role of a departed soul and you tell your life story to a deity who judges you. In the end, you get a shocking revelation when you realize that all the successful experiences that the protagonist shrouded their story with are mere facades.

They are in denial about what happened to them, all the bitter experiences. Many young people instantly relate to it as they also stay in denial about a lot of aspects. Through this game, you learn that denial is a very natural process. The game provides reassurance.

Before Your Eyes

There’s another game called Bird Alone. In this, you befriend a lonely bird in a lush jungle. You spend all your time with it, give it a name, work on fun projects until one day you get notified that it would die soon.

The next day, you open the app only to find that it has died. What do you do when someone (even if it’s an animated bird) you spent so much of your time with suddenly disappears? The game gives you a chance to restart.

It is parallel to losing a loved one. You lose them, and it may seem like a dead end. What’s left in the world for you when your loved one is not around? But that’s not the ending. You can always restart.

video games grief
Bird Alone

The creator of the game is an American named George Batchelor who created it as a way to work through his feelings after he lost a family member.

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Not Your Conventional Video Games

Unlike normal video games, there are no points for winning or losing. There are no enemies for you to defeat and no damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. Many of them can be finished in as long as an hour.

The game Before I Forget was nominated for a 2021 BAFTA Games Awards in the Game Beyond Entertainment Category. In this, you take the role of a woman suffering from dementia. As a protagonist, she recollects her life details and allows herself to feel sad.

It (Before I Forget) strips away all those game-play elements and is about exploring our protagonist’s house and interacting with objects that trigger memories for her,” says the game developer.

video games grief

Games offer an additional advantage over other mediums by letting you put yourself in the character’s shoes directly. You feel all that the protagonist in the game feels.

You’re controlling the actions they take, and there’s a system of feedback where you do something and the world responds to you,” says Morwood, a UK-based artist, and programmer.

There are several other games like The Longing, Resident Evil Village, Marvel’s Guardian of The Galaxy, Nier Replicant, Spiritfarer, Hades, Death and Taxes, Stardew Valley, Final Fantasy Online, and Animal Crossing. These video games allow the player to process grief at different stages and in several different ways.

If you know someone who’s grieving, try recommending these games to them. They may find their haven in the world of video games, which can eventually help them come to terms with their real-life situation.

Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked

Sources: Hindustan Times, Wired, The Gamehers

Image Sources: Google Images

Find The Blogger: @TinaGarg18

This post is tagged under: video games, new generation video games, grief, before your eyes, bird alone, denial, acceptance, anger, loneliness, sickness, COVID-19, feelings, emotions, mental health, it’s okay to not be okay, confront your feelings, catharsis, The Longing, Resident Evil Village, Marvel’s Guardian of The Galaxy, Nier Replicant, Spiritfarer, Hades, Death and Taxes, Stardew Valley, Final Fantasy Online

We do not hold any right/copyright over any of the images used. These have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

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