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Under the weather: gaming when you’re ill

Although spring is on the horizon, we’re still in that time of year where bugs are lurking everywhere. There are people sniffing on the train during the commute to work; colleagues sneezing all over the office; and snotty children to deal with when you get back home. It’s therefore no surprise when we end up surrounded by medicines and feeling sorry for ourselves.

Last month I ended up catching a horrible cold which hit me for a week and left me unable to do anything but wrap myself up in a blanket and drink copious amounts of tea. The biggest annoyance at the time wasn’t so much my bright red nose and tissue shortage – it was the fact that I didn’t feel up to playing video games. I’d cancelled all weekend plans so as not to pass on my germs to friends and family and therefore had plenty of free hours, but sadly no energy to pick up a controller.

Hands, video game, controller, gamepad

Between melodramatically declaring this to be the worst sickness ever and reaching for another round of paracetamol, I got to thinking: do other gamers still play games when they’re feeling under the weather? I guess as long as you have the brain-power to follow what’s happening onscreen and aren’t flailing your arms around in virtual reality (VR), they can’t do any harm. And it’s probably best not to go for any titles which could encourage motion sickness, especially if your stomach is already feeling a little delicate.

I think the issue for me is that when I’m feeling down emotionally, I’ll often reach for an adventure. You’d think the genre would be great in times of physical illness too, with simple mechanics such as pointing-and-clicking which don’t require fast reflexes, but that brain-fog you get when you’re not feeling great doesn’t do much to help with puzzle-solving. Others such as Kevin from The Mental Attic may still turn to adventures when they’re feeling sick but for me, my go-to genre us out. I need to find something else for when I’m next stuck on the sofa with a cold

A few other bloggers suggested trying something relaxing that requires less focus. Will from geeksleeprinserepeat usually goes for Football Manager because ‘you can take it all so slowly’ and ‘it’s basically a fancy spreadsheet so no bright flashing lights’. Unfortunately though sport isn’t my thing so I’ll leave that one to him. Jonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog does ‘brainless things like grinding or farming’; and TriformTrinity turns to RPGs. While using sickness time to gather more runes in The Elder Scrolls Online could work, there’s a good chance I’ll end up running into a rogue Bone Colossus.

Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog told me she goes for titles where she doesn’t have to think too much, such as Tetris or Bejeweled. Athena from AmbiGaming seconded this and revealed that she chooses games which are either replays or not too complex in terms of their story. Both of these opinions tap into nostalgia, something mentioned by Megan from A Geeky Gal: in times of distress we often opt for things which bring back fond memories as we find comfort in their warm, rosy glow.

However, a number of bloggers I spoke to said they’d rather save the video games for when they’re feeling better. Omar from Drakulus and Brandon from That Green Dude are just a couple who told me they’d rather opt for a film, television or Netflix when they’re under the weather as these can be forms of entertainment that require less focus and concentration than gaming. An added bonus is that they can be easily paused when you feel like you’re drowning in your own mucus or if it’s time for a healing nap.

I think Khinjarsi from Upon Completion may have the right idea: she shared that she chooses YouTube. And Pix 1001 from Shoot the Rookie said: “Lately when I’ve been ill I’ve played demos or watched let’s plays. This feels less demanding than delving into a game I’m already playing. It seems like less of a commitment whilst still giving me something to concentrate on to take my mind off being ill.” It’s a nice combination of relaxation and gaming for when you’re confined to the sofa with a blanket.

What about you: do you play video games when you’re feeling? If so, do you have any recommendations? Thankfully that horrible cold is well in the past now and I’m back on my hobby, but it would be great to pick up some tips for next time!

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

7 thoughts on “Under the weather: gaming when you’re ill Leave a comment

  1. One time when I had probably had too much mixture of alcohol, sniffles and cough medicine “They All Went To Rapture” became a completely different experience than when I played it any other day, feeling fresh as a hawk during a hunt for mice. Because your head is not thinking clearly as well as being all over the place, playing the game was like a psychedelic adventure in the outer skirts of Britain, trying to follow a glowing light as people talk here and there.

    Point of the small story is, Walking Simulators are something to try out when you’re down with the sickness. They don’t require much thought, fast reflexes or anything really… you simply just walk around.
    However, most importantly you must always when being sick…

    Stay Cozy!


    • I’d never thought about that before… but I can definitely see how Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture could be incredibly trippy when you’re not feeling well! I bet that was an interesting experience. 😂


  2. This is how I know (and my wife knows) that I’m actually ill, when I stop playing video games! I was really ill for three weeks once, the first thing I did when I started feeling better was play Company of Heroes!


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