Home  >  Latest News  >  How Video Games Connect Chronically Ill People At Home

How Video Games Connect Chronically Ill People At Home

How do games connect chronically ill people?

Due to the isolation of COVID-19, especially during the early stages of the pandemic, playing video games became much more than just a pastime.

Research by Ofcom found that 62% of UK adults played some form of video game in 2020 and further studies suggested that video games for many individuals helped them cope with such an unprecedented life experience. 

As national lockdowns were imposed, people found solace in their video game experiences, as gamers used the medium to continue to share and keep in touch with friends, family, and the outside world whilst playing together. 

The impact of COVID-19 on our everyday lives is something we can now all relate to. However, as restrictions were relaxed, shops opened, and a sense of normalcy was on the horizon, not everyone was able to rejoice. For chronically ill people, online connectivity continues to be a way to help manage pain, boredom, anxiety, and sadness. 



The internet gives us virtually unlimited access to each other. Whilst online social networks have become a valuable source of information and camaraderie for like-minded people who are chronically ill, video games have provided well-meaning new experiences and escape.  

During a chronic illness flare up, people may be confined to their bed, with little energy, in a lot of pain, and with an unpleasant level of brain fog. Gaming provides people with something to do that’s less passive than watching TV or listening to music and creates a sense of achievement and doing something meaningful with your time.  

The ‘perfect’ game to play whilst restricted due to a chronic illness will be different for everyone. Whereas some may look for a cosy, cute game to snuggle up in bed with, others may prefer to jump in a co-op mission with their friends online. In every genre, a community of players exists. Whether that’s speaking through a headset to finish a quest, sharing Animal Crossing patterns, or talking about strategies on online forums, video games are continuing to create a much-needed space for people to connect with each other.  



Video games help decrease social isolation, and for many people gives them a peer group where they can simply be themselves. Whether you play video games and connect with others via Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox, or PC, we have a list of games to reach out with. 




Animal Crossing has been linked to promoting positive psychological wellbeing with its everyday island life, filled with colourful characters, and whimsical environments. Play as often and for as long as you like, curate your own focus of your session, and build your own routine.  

You won’t need to work your brain into overdrive to complete the cute quests and chat with your villagers. Although keep your wits about you if Redd visits! If you’re feeling particularly anxious and need a low energy interaction, then AC: NH is also the perfect antidote by allowing your friends to visit and roam your island, with communication being sufficient through adorable emotes and gestures.  




Unpacking is a zen puzzle game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Its soft pixel art style is nostalgic, calm, and provides a warm fuzzy feeling for players as they progress through the game. You’ll begin the scenarios placing belongings around your childhood bedroom before moving into a college dorm, and beyond.  

You won’t need to grab your microphone for your time with Unpacking, but it will provide a safe space amongst its familiar surroundings to feel grounded and connected to yourself. Unpacking is also proud to be an accessible game. 




The Destiny universe is as diverse as it is vast. Players are invited to play alone or with friends across exciting adventures with rare and powerful rewards.  

Grab your headset and jump in, Guardians. As well as co-operatively completing raids, Destiny also offers a ‘Social’ game mode whereby players can enter non-combat areas to interact with other players.  

This is by no means an exhaustive list, as the truth is, all games have spaces where gamers can positively engage and communicate with each other.  

As gamers, we love to talk about it and those places on Reddit, Twitter, Discord, etc are created for us to share our passion, and for those who can’t as easily pop to the shops, or for a coffee, they become very important and a source of connectivity around a mutual interest. 



If you are living with a chronic illness and want to feel safe, heard, and understood, consider specialist support: 

  • CISFA UK provide both online and in-person support for adults and teenagers throughout the UK. 
  • Grant A Smile offer practical home support to families with chronic health problems.