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Space For Grief

Games include interactions, narratives and characters dealing with all aspects of life (and death). This means that some care is necessary if players are sensitive to losing significant people. But also, games can provide a helpful space in which to process, consider and understand death and loss.

Image 162 I've come up with some games that explore this topic, along with help and suggestions from Gaming The Mind (Twitter), an organisation of UK-based mental health professionals who aim to promote positive mental health within the gaming community. By focusing on the intersection between gaming and mental health, they want to raise awareness of mental health challenges and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.

"We express grief in different ways depending on our age," they said. "To help children cope with loss, it is important that they receive honest explanations about death, appropriate to their level of understanding. With these games, players may find valuable space in which to acknowledge grief as a completely normal reaction to bereavement."

"The games we have selected don't necessarily offer an ideal way to cope with death but tackle the topic of death openly and with a positive attitude. They can help show the player that they are not alone in what they are going through. Playing these games with young people, and answering questions they might have along the way, can be a useful starting point for important conversations about grief."

This list includes 45 games from the last 16 years, with 244 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to process loss.

Game image

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3+ to PEGI 18+
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Platform, Puzzle, Role-Playing, Shooting and Simulation
Total Likes: 244
 

 
Game image Roki

Roki

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PEGI Rating 12+ for RokiESRB Rating TEEN for Roki

Roki

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 23/07/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @PolyTreehouse

Players: This is a single player game

Röki is a Scandinavian folklore point-and-click style adventure game where you play Tove on a journey to save her family. As you help her to come to terms with loss, you explore deep into a snowy fairytale landscape with strange locations and creatures.

Call of the Sea

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 12/08/2020

Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @OutBlueGames

Players: This is a single player game

Call of the Sea is a narrative adventure set in the 1930s. You explore an island in the Southern Pacific to find your missing husband. As you do you discover what happened and revisit memories of being there before.

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Open World and Simulation

Developer: @AsoboStudio

Players: You can play this with 30 players online

Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight Sim 2020) is the latest flight simulator game in the long running series. Along with a huge range of aircraft you can learn to fly, the game recreates the entire Earth using textures and data from data Maps...

Last Minute Love

Expected Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 27/12/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC and Web Browser

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @ThePhilipCal

Players: This is a single player game

Last Minute Love is an adventure where you play an "old person" in a nursing home who is looking for love. This takes the dating simulator style of game in an unusual direction. You explore the home in your wheelchair, meet a quirky cast of people and...

Spiritfarer

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Simulation

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Spiritfarer is a boat building exploration game. Unusually though, you play Stella, ferry master to the deceased and the boat you manage takes them to the next life.

Photographs - Puzzle Stories

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 03/04/2019

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

"Have you ever made a mistake, or hurt people you care about?" Asks the Photographs trailer. It's a puzzle game that aims much higher than to distract you while on the way to work.

Knights And Bikes!

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room and up to 2 players online

Enter a hand-painted adventure in a fictional late-eighties British island and work together as Nessa and Demelza to explore its coast on bikes to find treasure, mystery and trouble. There’s fighting with frisbees, water balloons, tape cassettes and...

The Last Of Us

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Shooting

Developer: @Naughty_Dog

Players: This is a single player game

You play a father, Joel, whose daughter was killed during the early stages of a deadly fungal outbreak. It’s now 20 years later, and he has clearly suffered from the loss. When Joel is given charge of a girl, Ellie, about the same age his daughter...

Open Roads

Expected Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @FullBright

Players: This is a single player game

Open Roads is an adventure game about a girl who finds out that her grandma has a different past than she thought. The girl and her mother go on a journey to look deeper into her grandma's life by revisiting abandoned family properties and looking...

Assemble With Care

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 19/11/2019

Platforms: PC and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

From the makers of Monument Valley, this puzzle game is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family heirlooms to broken statues to...

I Am Dead

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 07/10/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @A_i

Players: This is a single player game

I Am Dead is a puzzle game from the creators of Wilmot's Warehouse. You play a recently-deceased museum curator trying to avert a disaster from his home town of Shelmerston.

God of War

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 20/04/2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Role-Playing and Shooting

Players: This is a single player game

You play super-strong Norse fantasy hero Kratos as he takes his son Atreus on a brutal quest in the wake of his mother’s death. The exploration, puzzle solving, climbing and fighting gameplay intertwines with a mythological family drama played out in...

Balan Wonderworld

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 26/03/2021

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Genres: Action, Adventure and Platform

Developer: @SquareEnix

Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room

Balan Wonderworld is a running, jumping and exploration game where you control two characters Emma and Leo in the imaginary place called Wonderworld. The world is populated with people’s memories: happy helpful characters but also restless worries and...

Embracelet

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 24/09/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @MachineboyCom

Players: This is a single player game

Embracelet is an adventure game, where you use a magical bracelet to interact with objects and solve puzzles. As you explore the fishing community, make friends and solve puzzles, you subtlety affect the outcome of the story.

Unfinished Swan

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 16/10/2012

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

The Unfinished Swan invites you to explore a world by splashing paint on it. The tactile experience leads you into a fairy tale about an unfinished painting that leads a child back to his parent.

Old Man’s Journey

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 17/05/2017

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Old Man’s Journey is a game about memory and old age. You help a grandfather-figure traverse the countryside by raising and lowering the landscape. Along the way he visits places that evoke the story of his life: a wife, a child and a love of the sea.

Firewatch

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 20/09/2016

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Developer: @Camposanto

Players: This is a single player game

Firewatch is an explorative adventure where you play a fire lookout in America’s Shoshone National Forest. It has a relational and conspiracy undertone similar to the podcast/radio drama and Netflix show [link to...

Shadow Of The Colossus

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 18/10/2005

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Simulation

Developer: @SonyJapanStudio

Players: This is a single player game

You play a young man who enters a forbidden land to defeat sixteen massive beings to restore the life of a girl he cares about. It sounds like any other video game, although in fact, Shadow of the Colossus stands apart in many ways.

Sea of Solitude

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 05/07/2019

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative and Platform

Players: This is a single player game

Sea of Solitude is an adventure where you play a young woman, Kay, with such strong loneliness that her feelings turn her into a monster. As you explore a flooded city you discover dark creatures that you must deal with -- by uncovering their underlying...

Florence

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 14/02/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

This is a little puzzle game that tells the story of a relationship, following the usual stages of loneliness, meeting, dating, falling for and moving in with another person. At first, the puzzle interactions seem trivial and the game doesn’t change...

Beyond Eyes

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 04/08/2015

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Players: This is a single player game

Beyond Eyes is game about a Blind girl, Rae, who uses her senses to visualize the world around her. As you play, the game only shows you parts of the world you can hear. This means you can see immediatley around you, and further away if things are...

Eliza

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 10/10/2019

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Narrative and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Eliza is an interactive narrative where you play Evelyn, a young woman burnt out from the pressures of a high-tech job. She now works for a virtual counselling service called Eliza, that guides counsellors to provide the ideal response to patients.

Lost in Random

Rating: PEGI 12+

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Lost in Random is an adventure where you play an anthropomorphic dice and a young girl called Even. In her world, when she turns 12 she must roll a magical die to be assigned a region to live in and a life to live. But seeing her sister go through this...

Love You To Bits

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Developer: @AlikeStudio

Players: This is a single player game

Love You to Bits is an adventure where you tap to move and interact with objects, like classic point-and-click games. You play Kosmo, a clumsy, rookie space explorer in search of Nova, his robot girlfriend. After a fatal accident, all of Nova’s pieces...

What Remains of Edith Finch

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 18/04/2017, updated in 2017

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Puzzle and Role-Playing

Players: This is a single player game

Edith Finch is the surviving member of the Finch family, who seem to have died from a curse. In first-person perspective, you return to the family’s coastal home to learn about each relative’s final hours by exploring their rooms in turn.

Signs of the Sojourner

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 14/05/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @EchodogGames

Players: This is a single player game

Signs of the Sojourner, an introspective narrative where you interact with characters by solving puzzles with cards that represent emotions. It's a coming-of-age story set in the near-future and explores how relationships form, break, and mend in the...

My Brother Rabbit

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 21/11/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

My Brother Rabbit is a hand-drawn hidden-object puzzle game about an ill sister. As her plight is told through water-colour animation, you play her brother's rabbit and unfold a parallel story in a fantasy world.

Game image Tree

Tree

2

Tree

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 13/08/2018

Platforms: PC

Genres: Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

Tree is a short 15 minute game that tells the story of a boy who plants a small tree. You control the planting, watering and how the tree grows each season. As you do this the years pass and the boy...

Before I Forget

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 01/07/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Developer: @3foldgames

Players: This is a single player game

Before I Forget is an exploration adventure, where you play Sunita, a woman alone in a house with early-onset dementia. As you wander from room to room, you discover mysterious objects, each holding a fleeting, fragmented memory. Examine faded...

Apart Of Me

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 12/12/2016

Platforms: PC

Genres:

Players: This is a single player game

This is an exploration game were you visit a peaceful island, meet friendly characters, and complete quests. The theme of grief intertwines through these things. At their own pace, the player can collect various tools designed to help with coping....

That Dragon, Cancer

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 12/01/2016, updated in 2016

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

A game about a family with a young son who has terminal brain cancer. It sounds off-putting and morbid but this living biography invites you to join the family and find hope, faith and love in the face of an insurmountable challenge. It’s a unique...

The Last Day of June

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 31/08/2017

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Last Day of June is a game about a couple called Carl and June, who suffer a tragedy when a car accident takes June's life and leaves Carl in a wheelchair. You control Carl, remembering life with June and discover that you can interact with her...

The Stillness of the Wind

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 07/02/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC and iOS

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

In The Stillness of the Wind you are an old woman who looks after a dilapidated farm. Over the course of a few hours, no matter what your efforts, the farm falls apart as you learn about the woman’s family and have the chance to ruminate on her...

Game image Rime

Rime

1
PEGI Rating 7+ for RimeESRB Rating EVERYONE 10+ for Rime

Rime

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 26/05/2017

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative and Open World

Players: This is a single player game

Rime is an adventure on an island where you play a boy led a fox-like spirit as a guide. To progress through the beautiful environments you solve puzzles across five large levels. You can run, climb, carry objects, and push or pull larger objects across...

A Mortician's Tale

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 18/10/2017

Platforms: PC and iOS

Genres: Adventure and Narrative

Players: This is a single player game

A Mortician's Tale is a management game where you play as a mortician, Charlie, working in a funeral home. As you play, you handle bodies of the deceased, including cleaning and beautifying them, as well as dealing with embalming and cremation. The dead...

Lost Words: Beyond the Page

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 01/12/2019

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Stadia and Xbox One

Genres: Narrative, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Lost Words is an adventure game where you run, jump and explore inside a young girl’s diary. You control Izzy as she writes her diary by walking on words, move them around and solve different puzzles. This develops two parallel stories, one about Izzy...

Breath of Light

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 25/03/2015

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Breath of Light is a meditative puzzle game where you guide the breath of light through sand and water. With no score or time-limits and with all levels unlocked from the start, the focus is on relaxation and breathing rather than the challenge and its...

Bird Alone

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 15/06/2020

Platforms: iOS

Genres: Narrative and Simulation

Developer: @GeorgeBatch

Players: This is a single player game

Bird Alone is a narrative game where you befriend a bird. Your feathered companion encourages the conversation in the direction of real life worries while you make music, draw pictures and write poetry. It’s a slow game that unfolds in real time with...

Takeshi and Hiroshi

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: Mac, Nintendo Switch and iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Adventure and Role-Playing

Developer: @OinkGms

Players: This is a single player game

Takeshi & Hiroshi is a role-play adventure game about two brothers. Its unusual animation and light touch battles, where you chose your enemies rather than how to fight them, make it an ideal game to introduce the genre and for younger players.
...

Dordogne

Expected Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: Coming soon

Platforms: PC

Genres: Creative, Narrative and Puzzle

Developer: @Cedric_Babouche

Players: This is a single player game

Dordogne is a narrative adventure where you play as Mimi, a 32-year-old woman who returns to the house of her recently deceased grandmother. You explore the house and area to find letters and puzzles that bring back memories of the past.

#SelfCare

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 29/07/2019

Platforms: Android and iOS

Genres: Simulation

Developer: @LuvTruLuv

Players: This is a single player game

#SelfCare is a companion game that aims to create space for your feelings. Unlike other apps that remind or incentivize you to take a break, breath or even just to stand up, #SelfCare offers interactions and narrative that create a context for you to...

The First Tree

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 11/10/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and iOS

Genres: Creative, Narrative, Open World, Platform and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

The First Tree is an exploration narrative game. In a dream, you explore a forest wilderness as a mother fox looking for her cubs. Simultaneously, you revisit childhood memories in spoken reflection from two lovers remembering the dream and their...

Mountain

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 01/07/2014, updated in 2018

Platforms: Mac, PC and iOS

Genres: Creative and Simulation

Players: This is a single player game

This is a game from the same developer as Everything that simulates a mountain. You influence how each of the rising land masses turns out by drawing different objects. The game then evolves before you, offer a gentle...

ITTA

Rating: PEGI 12+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 22/04/2020

Platforms: Nintendo Switch and PC

Genres: Action, Narrative and Shooting

Players: This is a single player game

Itta is a shooting adventure game set in a world filled with big monsters. You play the young girl Itta, who wakes in a strange place surrounded by her dead family and must seek out the powerful beings that did this to her. The only guide you have is a...

Winding Worlds

Rating: Not rated by PEGI or ESRB

Release Date: 14/05/2020

Platforms: iOS Apple Arcade

Genres: Narrative and Puzzle

Players: This is a single player game

Winding Worlds is a colourful puzzle game played in a mythic world where you solve your way through the afterlife. The characters you meet don't always want to help, but you can help them deal with their problems and find peace. The puzzles are logic...


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