Video games can be helpful in coping with grief and death. A neuropsychologist explains the process behind it and what games do with us.
There is hardly anything worse than losing a loved one. Singapore funeral services are among the witnesses of this unwanted event, having to deal with death and the loved ones who were left behind. But then the pandemic came a year ago and suddenly relatives had to say goodbye to their loved ones via video chat or, in the worst case, could no longer see them, let alone hug them. But how can you cope with your own grief and loss if you couldn’t say goodbye? For many, the answer is an escape into video games.
Video games help deal with death – thanks to individual approaches
Many gamers turn to games in their grief – not necessarily to suppress the negative emotions, but also to be able to process them through the video games. Indie publishers in particular have already published a large number of games on serious topics such as death, but games from the major developers can also be used to cope with grief. So players look for comfort in Hades, Spiritfarer, Death, and Taxes but also in Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, or Final Fantasy Online. Some of these games were even nominated for the Game Awards 2020 and won prizes. Recently, fans were shocked that this character was originally supposed to become the protagonist in Hades.
The fact that gamers are turning to video games has increased during the pandemic, but nothing new overall – at least says neuropsychologist Roy Sugarman. Because video games can deliver exactly what mourners are looking for in such situations. Grief is by no means the same for everyone, but an individual process that games can support. For example, some might just want to distract themselves at first and not (yet) deal with their feelings, while others play games such as playing games. B. Spiritfarer says goodbye to the in-game characters and thus may be able to process their own feelings better.
Video games help deal with death – whether it’s World of Warcraft or Spiritfarer
So whether the video games are World of Warcraft, where players have sometimes organized funerals, or games in which players say goodbye with the help of metaphors and characters or cope with the grief, does not matter for the time being. However, more and more developers are dealing with elements of grief and death, such as the aforementioned Spiritfarer, but also Gris, Ori, and the Will of Wisps or Death and Taxes or Hades. Where the former has a stronger reference to death and coping with grief, gamers have also discovered video games that have no direct connection to these topics.