6 games guaranteed to get you through a hangover

You think you’re conscious, but you’re not entirely sure. You don’t remember waking up, and if you did, you certainly don’t remember how long ago. All there may ever have been is this hazy, hot, uncomfortable limbo. The vague memories of your life before it may themselves have been a dream, for all the plausibility of any emotion or experience beyond the pain of this thirsty, bone-aching, thought-sucking hell.

You slither out of bed and crawl to living room. You drag yourself like a busted Terminator over to the sofa, fall upon it with the impact of an dinosaur-wiping asteroid, and try to think of a game with which to sooth your tortured mind. But they’re all too loud, or too reliant on skill, or too fast-paced, or have narratives you couldn’t possibly concentrate on through your current haze of hot-skulled stupidity.

But fear not, friends. Games can have the answer to this disgusting state. They require very careful choosing (after all, the trip back to the shelf if it all goes wrong is hardship enough to make you give up on the whole escapade), but choose carefully we have. This list is tried and tested, and one weekend soon, it may save your life. 

GodFinger (iPhone)

There are certain inarguable criteria that a game must fulfil in order to be a safe and therapeutic hangover experience. It must be engaging enough to distract from the pathetic misery being suffered in the real world, but not complex enough to tax the pathetically detuned brain suffering said misery. It must have a pleasant, but not dull, ambience. It must provide a sense (or at least illusion) of real achievement and progression in order to massage the sufferer’s hideously mangled sense of self-worth, but should never require much in the way of serious skills. And there should never, ever, be any major penalty for being rubbish. Because the hungover gamer will be. At all times.

Above: GodFinger will make it all okay, even if you feel like the guy on the left

GodFinger, the marvellous little 2D god-game from Wonderland Software, achieves all of these goals with such effortless finesse that it’s like a cyborg app sent back from the future to save the world’s drinkers from themselves. Soothing, breezy, summer’s day atmosphere? Check. None-more-instinctive, drag-and-drop interface, letting you spin, scale and modify a whole planet at the flick of a finger? Check. A sedate, player driven-pace, total lack of pressure, rapid levelling-up, and building objectives that auto-complete over the course of hours, inciting no pressure to micro-manage at all? Check check check.

Above: Ignore the plonky tune. In game all you'll hear are light breezes and tweeting birds

It can even be run in the background and give you a gentle nudge whenever it needs you to do anything, so you can take intermittant snooze breaks and still form a full-functioning planetary society over the course of an afternoon. Perfect. GodFinger is just perfect for a hungover day. My last Saturday afternoon proved this beautifully.

Dynasty Warriors (Various)

If however, your poor mind is so far gone that only outright oblivion is a workable release from your pain, you need to go deeper. You need a drawn-out, one-note, utterly monotonous, yet strangely compulsive task. You need something that you can lock your brain into with total focus, but which will never require it to hit a single gear above neutral. You need comfortable repetition and simple rewards. In short, you need Dynasty Warriors.

MASH MASH MASH MASH MASH MASH SMASH MASH SMASH MASH SMASHY MASHY SMASHY MASH MASH MASHY MASHY SMASH MASH SMASHY SMASHY SMASHY MASH. That’s it. That’s all there ever will be, and that’s all that needs to be, when your head feels like it’s falling out of your arse through Olympic booze consumption.

It’s pointless, but instantly gratifying. It’s bog-simple, but weirdly satisfying as long as you don’t think too much (which you won’t). And it’s utterly, mindlessly, pioneeringly repetitive, which means that in terms of separating your brain from cruel, hungover reality, there is no better therapy. It’s just like a lobotomy, only it doesn’t last as long.

Flower (PSN)

If instead, you want to drown out the heady maelstrom of pain, self-loathing and paranoia with something more sedate and calming, then Flower is the one for you. A thorough dousing of cool ambience, delicate aural therapy, and gameplay so dreamlike that you can slump in and out of semi-drunken consciousness without even noticing, it’s ideal if you want to replace your hungover head with one filled with peace, colour and gentle thoughts. You stinking hippie.


It’s controlled with broad sixaxis tilts, so your sloppy, uncoordinated, detox-driven hand shakes won’t be an issue. There are absolutely no enemies or penalties, and you get to play as the goddamn wind, fuggodsake, manipulating daintily swirling flower petals through a peaceful meadow. It’s all the soothing, head-clearing pleasure of being outdoors in the country on a sleepy summer’s day, only without the eyeball-searing agony of actually being outdoors and having to deal with the hellish burden that is real sunlight. Ideal.


  • blocpartier - August 5, 2010 5:52 a.m.

    Rez HD gets my vote. But only the mode where you're invincible and the levels are never-ending.
  • AGENTJORRRG - August 4, 2010 9:50 a.m.

    Crackdown 2 is perfect for it, especially in co op. Screwing around doing stupid crap. Mag a destroyed car to an SUV to another SUV with the wrecked one in the middle, then drive through a sea of freaks with a buddy. Almost forget you have no periferal vision or sense of taste.
  • KrEid - August 1, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    Wow, and here was me playing through Dead Space this morning hungover, why couldnt this article be out a day earlier dammit!
  • Link555 - August 1, 2010 12:03 p.m.

    You missed Flow.
  • Clovin64 - August 1, 2010 12:48 a.m.

    Dynasty Warriors is good for playing while hungover? Maybe I should stop using the disc as a coffee coaster then...nah. Its a good coffee coaster. I'll just play Red Dead to relax. What about the Katamari games? They were relaxing.
  • EvilInkarnate - July 31, 2010 5:27 p.m.

    Funny ass article!! This is the GR that I miss!! Anyways, PoP, although semi-mindless sober, IS a great hangover game. It's pretty, it's peaceful, it's easy. I'm so glad Flower is on here. That game has gotten me through many a weekend, and weekdays. I want some Flower DLC!! And lol @ Peggle flavored Pringles.
  • SenatorPepper - July 31, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    GRRRRRROOOAAAAAN. I'm going to purchase GodFinger. Right. Now.
  • philipshaw - July 31, 2010 10:22 a.m.

    I have to agree with Flower,it heleped after I had a bad hangover
  • EffinChrys - July 31, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    @TheWebSwinger: No I am currently past the legal drinking age already (I'm 26 this year), but drinking is never my thing. Never was, never will be.
  • ballplayer27 - July 31, 2010 3:20 a.m.

    Can't get over the mashymashysmashymashmashsmash descriptions of dynasty warriors every time that game comes up. I read every word, lol
  • peachguy - July 31, 2010 2:55 a.m.

    hahaha I <3 GR
  • TheWebSwinger - July 31, 2010 2:54 a.m.

    @Sleepy92: That's awful, man :\ @CyberNinja + EffinChrys: You'll change your mind sooner than you know it, believe that.
  • TheWebSwinger - July 31, 2010 2:53 a.m.

    Take 2 bong rips, go back to sleep, wake up, take two more bong rips, play whatever you want. Problem solved.
  • EffinChrys - July 31, 2010 12:06 a.m.

    Sleepy92- I'm sorry to hear that. To everyone else: Drinking is overrated. I don't enjoy being dizzy and having a headache the next day, along with plenty of vomit. To each his own...
  • Caio - July 30, 2010 11:03 p.m.

    Oh, man. Wish I'd known this by yesterday. It was a miserable day. And that shmup is a bit too bright for me to play in a state of alcohol-induced torpor. I really like playing Endless Ocean on the Wii when I'm hungover.
  • Danomeon - July 30, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    @Tomsta666 The main reason many people didn't like it was because of how it was structured. You just platform along, collecting orbs, then reach the grounds and heal it, then fight a boss. The levels weren't really unique or different, and the formula just repeated itself. Rather than fighting new bosses you were confined to the same four throughout the game. There were really no climactic moments, just kind of lazily platforming along. The handful of enemies never changed, and the plot wasn't really excellent, either. These are just my personal opinions, but they are shared by many.
  • gamerinflames - July 30, 2010 10:30 p.m.

    Ahhh. Finally an article I can relate to.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - July 30, 2010 10:24 p.m.

    No Hate For POP Oh Eight! Seriously, it might be basic and boring, but by that logic, Heavy Rain sucks too.
  • Cyberninja - July 30, 2010 9:03 p.m.

    to bad i wont ever need this because i dont think i will ever drink that much when i am 21 or older.
  • TwilightBlaze - July 30, 2010 8:50 p.m.

    Bayonetta on the easiest mode is a given. All you have to do is press on button for everything. ONE BUTTON, MAAAAAN.

Showing 1-20 of 39 comments

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