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.


  • Ninjadmin - July 30, 2010 2:22 p.m.

    "Still too drunk to aim the right way" Love it!
  • Tomsta666 - July 30, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    I still don't understand all the hate for PoP '08? Even your compliment then were backhanded. I loved that game man!
  • Crimsonkingx - July 30, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    PoP still has a couple basic puzzles! I know one thing...drunks HATE puzzles! Hell! I hate them sober!
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - July 30, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    well in Red Dead, you can use a cheat that will turn you drunk until you turn it off. I don't know if see John collasp every second will help your hangover though. Very funny article!!
  • joshin69 - July 30, 2010 2:35 p.m.

    Oddly anough ive found Red Dead Redmption THE best game on a major hangover. No flashing colours, the music is quite chilled and the game lets you play at your own pace while still sucking you in without you realizing it. LocoRoco is also not bat but the music does start to burn the mind after a while
  • GR_DavidHoughton - July 30, 2010 2:41 p.m.

    Josh: Red Dead VERY nearly made this list for those very reasons. Pottering around the wilderness just exploring stuff and watching sunsets can absolutely sort your head out.
  • reverandglass - July 30, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    any you missed?! how about Ico, Flow, Little Big Planet (earlier stages). Lego Star Wars on co-op was a favourite of the ex and I but only after we switched on all the cheats! PoP is still one of my go to hangover games though.
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - July 30, 2010 2:48 p.m.

    good to see someone defendign PoP, i love that game as well
  • joshin69 - July 30, 2010 3 p.m.

    reverandglass: Flow is a no no for me, inverted motion control just does my head in on a hangover. Thanks for the "VERY" Mr Houghton, made lol in the office. Heads turned, Thank god its Friday.
  • JosefMotley - July 30, 2010 3 p.m.

    i don't understand why people are still hyping that ridiculous flower game. great idea but it controls like a drunkard... being hungover and playing with that fiddly, irritating motion control nonsense would make me want to kill myself
  • Silvermech - July 30, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    I'll remember this in three years when I can legaly drink.
  • GodofPS314 - July 30, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    Great article, I was just wondering why do you guys do top 7 countdowns? What is the signifigance of 7?
  • joshin69 - July 30, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    Has anyone tried Aquanaut's holiday or Afrika on a hangover? They both look the perfect gaming tonic.
  • WickedSid - July 30, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    Shadow of the Colossus, for the same reasons as Red Dead.
  • lozarian - July 30, 2010 4:53 p.m.

    This made me chuckle heartily. Especially the mashymashymsmashmashsmashy bit. Rapidly becoming my fave GR writer - almost pratchettesque.
  • Gameguy94 - July 30, 2010 4:54 p.m.

    @ GodofPS314 Because seven is the most important number in the history of ever. Think about it, theres seven continents, seven deadly sins, seven wonder of the world, the seventh Final Fantasy is considered the best, James bond's number is 007 (aka 7). Seven just makes sennse.
  • revrock - July 30, 2010 5:24 p.m.

    how's 'bout 30 credits worth of "plank" on Wii Fit to punish oneself for the debauchery?
  • JPorFavor - July 30, 2010 5:28 p.m.

    That's why Dynasty Warriors keep selling!
  • sleepy92ismypsn - July 30, 2010 7:08 p.m.

    This article is so sad for me. My step dad was an alcoholic who loved absolut vodka and playing video games with hangovers. Sadly he killed himself by drinking a huge bottle of it earlier this year. R.I.P. Ken Bruce. He would have loved Red Dead Redemption.
  • 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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