5 Games That Make You Happy When You Are Sad

Today’s blog post focuses on ‘Games That Make You Happy When You Are Sad’. We start with an overview of games and mental health where we discuss the benefits of games on mental health. We then move to understanding Gamification, which is the use of games in counseling practice. Lastly, we look at a list of a few games that make you happy when you are sad.

Games That Make You Happy When You Are Sad:

Games can be a beneficial way to cope and can make you happy when you are sad. Just like books and movies, games also have the capacity to make us feel a wide range of emotions. Games can be cathartic and can help us vent our emotions in an adaptive manner as it channelises our creativity, optimism and determination along with problem solving capacities.

Here are a few games that make you happy when you are sad:

  • Kirby: Planet Robobot
  • Journey
  • Mario Galaxy (1+2)
  • Flower
  • Forza Horizon 3
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Rayman Legends

Games and mental health:

It is often said that online gaming, video games or the board games that people play can have a negative impact on the emotional and mental health. On the contrary, playing games can have several emotional and cognitive benefits and can actually help improve our mental health. Games are now used regularly as a means of coping and relaxation and also as a tool to help a person face their fears along with improving dexterity, all of which can be implemented to function well in the outside world. 

So far, both digital as well as physical games have been used to help cope with a number of disorders such as anxiety; more specifically social anxiety disorder and depression.

Games have been beneficial in the following ways:

  • Games have helped in coping with anxiety:

There have been several games, such as Pokémon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which have been successful in teaching people with social anxiety disorder various ways in which they can start conversing with others. The simulated environment of the game also allows the player to try out the strategies in that setting before they feel confident enough to interact in the real environment. 

The virtual environment provides them with a safe space to interact and overcome their fears. 

  • Games have helped in coping will chronic illnesses:

Chronic illness such as cancer can take a toll, not only on the person suffering from it but also on the caregivers. One such game, That Dragon, Cancer, helps the player deal with his or her condition by following the story of a four year old child who battles with cancer. It motivates the player to understand that he or she is not alone. This helps in understanding that games can serve as a support system.

  • Games help in facing fears:

Some games are issue specific and if a person is sacred or has developed a phobia of something on which the game is based on, it can be used as a way of helping the person overcome their fear of phobia. One such game is Ten Candles which helps the player deal with their fear of death.

  • Games help in cognitive skill development:

Both digital as physical games require concentration, strategy, planning and problem solving skills. Playing games like bingo, monopoly, card games and certain types of video games can help in improving mental agility and problem solving skills as the person has to be ready with their next moves swiftly.

Games also improve dexterity and reaction times and help the person have faster response to things during games. It also improves memory and decision making capacities.

  • Games improve social skills:

Games provide a good opportunity for socialisation and this can improve confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem of the person along with emotional contentment. In addition, it can also help in combating social isolation as games are a good way of initiating conversations and forging lasting friendships. 

  • Games enhance attention span and strategy:

Games improve the attention span of the players along with improving their attention to details and reducing impulsiveness. It also facilitates assimilation of information by facilitating selective attention. It also helps in developing strategies for games and the skill can later be incorporated in real life situations.

Games in counseling practice-Gamification:

After seeing the potential benefits of games on mental health, it is obvious for mental health practitioners to incorporate gaming into counseling practice. Popularly known as gamification, games are not being used in counseling to help clients with a number of issues.

Use of games, both video as well as physical games has been parallel to play therapy, which is a form of therapy that uses structured and unstructured play to understand the child’s state of mind. Therapists believe that by using games, the client’s behaviour and response pattern pertaining to specific situations can be obtained, increasing the therapist’s understanding of the client. 

Games have also been used in therapeutic practice to induce a calming effect and also to teach a specific skill to the client. They have also been used to promote well-being.

Therapy specific games are also used, such as the CBT based games which are multi level games that require the players to reach different milestones to earn rewards. 

Therapists also used entertainment computer games, which are not directed towards any specific disorder or therapeutic goal but are used to improve mood, enhance emotional regulation and facilitate stress release. 

Are there games that make you happy when you are sad?

As we saw the variety of games used in counseling practice, one of them being the entertainment games, which may not be used to achieve a specific counseling goal, but can improve mood, especially when the person is sad.

Let’s look at a few games that make you happy when you are sad:

  • Kirby: Planet Robobot

Apart from its charming name, the game claims to be a delight from start to end. The game focuses on a pink robot called Kirby. Over the period of years, several additions have been made to the game, mechanical suits and capacity to inhale enemies to increase power, it is not a very intense game and serves as a good distraction when sad.

  • Journey

Journey is another game that can make you happy when you are sad. It is often called a life affirming game and is known for its soothing visuals. It is a simple game which is full of puzzles, beautiful landscape and background music. It is based on the philosophy that life is a journey and not a destination. 

  • Mario Galaxy (1+2)

Mario is a playful game that can work wonders for when you are sad. The visuals, characters and music can help uplift your mood. The game also requires concentration, which can help divert attention from the sadness inducing situations. 

  • Flower

Just like Journey, Flower is a game that can make you happy when you are sad. It is a game that does not have any violence, no challenges or lives to be saved. It often helps players appreciate life. In the game, the player has to play the role of wind and collect flower petals on the way. The last stage requires the player to paint the metal and concrete world with the petals and push the cracks away. 

The music of the game is also powerful and was created with the intention of providing an emotional shelter. 

  • Forza Horizon 3

Although a racing game, Forza Horizon 3 will put a smile on your face and is one of the games that make you happy when you are sad. The game takes place in Australia, and is filled with highways, forests, dunes, caves, vineyards and beaches. The player can explore the places solo or with companions and with any kind of vehicle.

  • Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone is a simple puzzle game. All the characters in the game are in the shape of a polygon along with Thomas and in the course of the game, each of them understand their own identity, relationships and their purpose. These elements also make the gamer think making it one of the games that can make you happy when you are sad. It has beautiful music which matches the situations. 

  • Rayman Legends

The game is cartoon based, like the Pixar movies. It has hand painted backdrops and loving animations and these characters can induce joy in a person. The game involves the player to go from point A to B to complete a level amidst the adventures that each level offers. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Games That Make You Happy When You Are Sad

How can video games help you emotionally?

Games are able to help people cope with feelings of boredom, loneliness and stress, and it also leads to improvement in their well-being. Games can also be used to relax and cope.

Why do video games make me happy?

When you’re enjoying a good game the body responds to the positive experience by releasing endorphins. These are commonly referred to as a ‘natural high’ as they create feelings of wellbeing and happiness.

Are video games immature?

No, video games are merely just a form of fun. Like playing a board game with the family or playing tag. 

Can video games kill brain cells?

Prolonged exposure to video games weakens the brains of young people and puts them at greater risk of dementia in later life, as suggested by a new research. Gaming for a longer period of time can lead to reduction in the grey matter of the brain.

Is gaming good for depression?

Action video games are seen to improve the ability to suppress rumination through improvements in executive function, but less effective for the emotional symptoms of depression.


Today’s blog post focused on ‘Games That Make You Happy When You Are Sad’. We started with an overview of games and mental health where we discussed the benefits of games on mental health. We then moved to understanding Gamification, which is the use of games in counseling practice. Lastly, we looked at a list of a few games that make you happy when you are sad.

I hope the blog post was able to provide information about the different games that can make you happy when you are sad along with an insight on the importance of games for mental health. Please feel free to drop in your comments and queries below.



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