Gaming grief

Can gaming help you to cope with grief?
30 July 2019

Interview with 

Dr. Pete Etchells


An Xbox controller.


Dr. Pete Etchells from Bath Spa University has written a book called Lost in a Good Game: Why we play video games and what they can do for us. He told Chris Berrow how the book came about.

Pete - Part of the book is about my dad and my dad died when I was 14 of motor neurone disease. And I talk in the book about how games played a big role. At the time I didn't realize it so much but looking back and thinking about it in the context of the book I realise that games played a big role both in terms of how I processed his diagnosis and how I tried to deal with the aftermath of his death. I don't really want to say everybody should play video games to get over grief and things like that. So I don't think it will work for everybody in the same way it did work for me and I'm very thankful for that though.

Chris - When you hear about gaming and people playing games it usually tends to be the word addiction is not too far down the line you know and we've in fact on this podcast in previous episodes a couple of months ago we spoke about gaming addiction and the World Health Organization classifying it is kind of like a mental health condition but also there's treatment centers for gaming addiction. And I guess it's interesting because you sort of came at it that you wanted to basically say well hang on a second some of the scientific research here is not pointing towards that conclusion.

Pete - So there's a group of scientists who argue that it's perhaps a little bit too premature to formally diagnose something such as gaming disorder because really the scientific research isn't quite there yet and I think our argument comes from the fact that we don't really have a good handle yet on what gaming addiction or gaming disorder or how we want to label it what it actually looks like and who it affects. And I think that's the key problem. So I'd say that you know everybody on both sides of the debate is trying to do the right thing and I don't think anybody is suggesting that there aren't some people out there for whom gaming can become a really problematic thing.


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