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Posted on Jun 21st 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (NeoMagicWarrior)
Posted under Sick

Alright, Let's be real: being sick sucks. The silver lining is that you get to play all those sweet games that you wouldn't otherwise have time to play! Having been recently sick, I thought I'd go over some of my favorite sick gaming moments so that when you inevitably fall to a pH imbalance or broken bone, you have an Idea of where to start.

Sonic the Hedgehog

My earliest memory of gaming while sick comes from around 4 years old. I picked up a real nasty case of pneumonia and had to be hospitalized for a week. During my hospital tenure, they had carts with TVs and game systems. There must have been one cart for the whole floor, because I recall getting around 20-30 minutes on 2 of the days there. On the cart I got, they had a Genesis and a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog (There was another with a NES and Track and Field, but I only saw that one in other kid's rooms). At this point I didn't have a Genesis, so the opportunity of playing Sonic really outshined all of the grey that was that awful hospital, their mean staff (I mean, I didn't die so they must have been at least sorta competent), and the whole week of being stuck in a bed, even though I felt fine on the antibiotics.

The Price is Right

Okay, so this one isn't a video game, but it's related to them. Being sick during the school day usually meant two things: unlimited games while Mom went to work and a bunch of breakfast cereal since she wouldn't let me use the stove or microwave. So me, a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and a glass of orange juice made their way to my room to play video games. Back in those days, all my game systems were hooked up to a small TV via RF modulators...all set to channel 3. Every time I would change games (read : a lot...I was an impatient kid) I would briefly get to see what was on the TV. Really early, it was news, but eventually The Price is Right (with Bob Barker, not that TERRIBLE Drew Carey guy) would show up, and I would be unable to start up a new game until the episode was over. I'm not entirely sure why I cared to stop. Maybe it was Bob's unshakable message to spay or neuter your pets or the allure of a BRAND NEW CAR!!! that spoke to me while my head was all stuffed up, but those early morning game shows really got me through an illness like no other.

L.A. Noire

One summer, I caught the flu and was barely able to sit up straight. This ruled out any game with rapid motion, loud noises, tight precision movement, or generally anything exciting. Enter L.A. Noire, the point and click adventure with the heart of GTA.  The slow pace of the investigations was perfect for my frequent stomach-induced interruptions, and the segmented gameplay made it easy to go take naps in between. I never actually finished L.A. Noire, because I got better before I went through all 3 disks, and really couldn't play something that slow paced in my normal state of health.


This most recent sinus infection left me irritable and impatient enough to not want to play much. Fortunately, Tetris is a good "zone out" kind of game. I spent the bulk of this past week buried in a blanket with an NES controller and the sound of Korobeiniki playing as I dropped blocks as fast as possible. It really made the time pass. Also, I've gotten really good at playing Tetris...but only while laying sideways.

I hope that this leaves you with some sort of nostalgia for being sick, and helps make gaming while under the weather "contagious." What are your favorite games to play when sick? 

Till next time!

~ Neo

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I did this a lot when I was a sickly youngin.  I have a very strong memory of playing Populous on my tiny Zenith color TV when I had pink eye as an early teen.  I found that if I placed the TV on its side and cycled the power,  I could lay on my side in bed and the TV worked great.  It's kind of a bummer but I find the older I get the less I am likely to game and just try to sleep instead.  Oh well.  Fun article to read, Neo, and while it didn't bring me back to a better time (physiologically speaking), it was nice remembering.
@bombatomba: I feel like the reason I game less and sleep more when sick as an adult is that I am less likely to stay home if I only feel a little bit sick. Sick days are WAY more useful for impromptu arcade trips than actually being sick.
When I was a kid I came down with Mono and a friend of mine lent me his Sega Genesis to play while I was recovering. Spent an entire week playing Dune and Theme Park and have really great memories of both of those games on the system.

About a year and a half ago I came down with a really wicked flu and decided to use the time off work to try and catch up on my backlog. Turns out that trying to play something so fast paced and dynamic as Bayonetta when you're ill isn't always the greatest idea. Ended up getting sick within the first couple minutes of each attempt to play. After that I felt so awful that I just watched a bunch of Netflix while coming in and out of consciousness.
@NeoMagicWarrior: Great article. The Price is Right was always my favorite mid-day game show pretty much anytime, but it actually made me excited about getting sick because it meant I got to stay home from school and watch it. And like you, there was a massive bowl of cereal with me as I did. For me it was always Cookie Crisp or Lucky Charms.

As far as sick games, I tended towards games that I knew front and back and didn't have to put a lot of thought into. So a lot of Mario Bros 2 and 3, River City Ransom, or SimCity. The SNES version of that had such calming music. These days I'll go for something like Diablo III on PS4.
Unfortunately, I can't relate to this.  My mom would have never let me play games when I was home sick.  I could lay on the couch and watch TV all day, but gaming was more active.  Even laying in bed playing my Game Boy would have meant I was okay enough to go to school.  But I'm glad you got to game a little while sick!  And yes, The Price Is Right was a STAPLE during sick days!  That, and Nickelodeon Cheesy

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