Coronavirus: the worst video games to play while you self-isolate

Video games may be the perfect way to take your mind off the coronavirus, but some might hit a bit too close to home…

We’ve already shared some great video games to keep yourself occupied during the coronavirus pandemic. But, depending on how sensitive you are to the current calamity, some might not be the best choice to keep your mind off what’s happening in the real world.

Not because they’re necessarily bad; in fact, a lot of the games on this list are very good and we’d happily recommend them at any other time. They’re just not particularly appropriate right now.

So if you want to be completely distracted from the current epidemic, maybe don’t pick up any of these games for the time being.

TheLast of Us(PlayStation 4)

Yes,we did recommend you play this one in the other list but, let’s be real, partof the reason why we play games is for escapism. Sure, the coronavirus isn’tturning people into terrifying mushroom monsters (at least, not yet) but, forsome, embarking on an adventure set in a ravaged, post-apocalyptic Earth whereyou’re just as likely to be killed by other humans might just make you anxious.

FalloutShelter(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, iOS, Android)

We could probably list all the Fallout games here, but those are set in a world that was destroyed by nuclear war and we don’t have to worry about that happening (yet). However, one entry that’s probably best worth avoiding is Fallout Shelter.

The premise of the game is simple – build and develop your own Vault. Basically, you are playing a game entirely inside an underground bunker. It’s hardly fun escapism, is it? We’re all stuck inside our own homes; we don’t want to play a game about that as well.

Plus, you need to micromanage all the other residents’ wants and needs, and nobody wants the stress that brings. No, there’s no water left today because you used up today’s limit, Janice!

ResidentEvil 7: Biohazard(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Honestly, we could list the entire Resident Evil series on the list as well, since every game involves dealing with monsters born from viruses created by the Umbrella corporation. But we’ve decided to pick Resident Evil 7 to rep the series.

This is partly due to it being the most recent mainline entry (not counting the Resident Evil 2 remake or the upcoming third one) but it’s also because it sees you trapped in a decrepit house and at the mercy of the Baker family, a bunch of psychopaths that are not only infected, but are really bad at social distancing, constantly pursuing you as you attempt to find your missing wife and escape.

It’s even worse in VR, which proves there can be such a thing as too immersive.


Which Pokémon games? All of them! ‘But these games don’t have viruses or pandemics,’ you say.

Well that’s where you’re wrong, because the series DOES have a virus – the pokérus, which can randomly affect any of your beloved fighting pets and further spread to others in your party.

It is admittedly very rare, with there only being a one in 21,845 chance of it happening, and it’s completely harmless. In fact, some players actively try to get their pokémon to catch it, as it doubles the effort values gained. Basically, it only makes the pokémon’s stats better with no downside.

But is that really the sort of message you want to be encouraging at the moment? Games that tell you that contracting a virus is a good thing?! No sir! Best to stick with the original Red, Blue, and Yellow titles on the Game Boy, as the pokérus didn’t exist back then.


Capcom, why do you have two zombie-related series? While not as popular as Resident Evil, the Dead Rising series has its fans and its oddly relatable at the moment, as most of the games end up with you being trapped in a shopping centre swarming with zombies.

These games could provide some satisfaction if you pretend the zombies are idiot shoppers ignoring quarantine, who you get to smack around with all manner of crazy weapons, like a pair of chainsaws tied to the ends of a kayak paddle (thanks Dead Rising 2).

But a lot of us wish to be distracted from the current situation and fighting off mindless zombies, as you desperately search empty stores for scraps of food isn’t really that.

TwoPoint Hospital(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch)

Medicalworkers deserve a lot of support and empathy, more so than ever before. TwoPoint Hospital could theoretically help us gain an understanding of howstressful managing a hospital can be and give us a greater appreciation of whatdoctors and nurses do for us.

Onthe other hand, though, do you really want to spend your quarantine time dealingwith staff and patients, managing the budget, and having to weather in-gameepidemics? The game’s comical tone may help distract you from it all but, forsome, badly run hospitals might not seem particularly funny.


Ifyou’ve already exhausted yourself playing Dark Souls, developer From Software’sother title, Bloodborne, could’ve been a solid alternative. Unfortunately, we mustadvise against playing this one too.

It’s mostly due to its setting, where the Gothic city of Yharnam is in the grips of an epidemic of its own; one that is turning the infected into horrific monsters. On the one hand it’s one of the best video games ever made but on the other the special brand of melancholic terror is not really the most uplifiting option at the moment.

Especially not when you’re dealing with the ordinary townsfolk who have shut themselves behind doors they refuse to open, and which they’re doomed to perish behind…

TheDivision/TheDivision 2(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Oh, what a shocker, more games set in the aftermath of a viral (weaponised smallpox this time) pandemic. Set in a now lawlessness America, you and an elite squad must re-establish peace and deal with numerous threats.

Granted, these games don’t have horrific mutations so that’s a plus, but the real-world parallels might hit too close to home for some. Not to mention the first game’s story is as dull as dishwater and the second one is borderline offensive in how it pretends to be apolitical but is actually all about gun fetishism and being a prepper’s wet dream.

Dr.Mario World(iOS, Android)

Eventhe happy-go-lucky world of the Mushroom Kingdom isn’t safe from pandemics. Andapparently, it’s also got a bunch of potential doctors around to help people.

That may seem ideal but has anyone even asked Mario for his credentials? For all we know, he just bought a white coat and nabbed the stethoscope from elsewhere. Or maybe the Mushroom Kingdom is just very lenient with handing out doctor’s degrees, because nearly all of Mario’s friends are part-time medical ‘experts’ too.

Wouldyou trust Wario or Waluigi to run tests on you? Would you trust literal babiesto provide appropriate medication? Or Dry Bowser, a literal walking skeleton?If your answer is yes, you’d best see a different kind of doctor.

PlagueInc(PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, iOS, Android)

Yes, this is another game we did recommend playing before, but that was only if you had a particularly morbid sense of humour.

If you’re the kind who stresses easily, it’s best to avoid this one as it involves you attempting to create a disease that can wipe out the entire human race. And we really don’t need to be thinking about that at the moment.

Danganronpa (PlayStation 4,PC)

The Danganronpa series is well worth checking out if you’re a fan of gripping and unpredictable murder mysteries and over-the-top but lovable characters. But if you’re self-isolating, it might be best to avoid them for now.

The plots always involve a bunch of high-school students finding themselves trapped and secluded from the outside world, with the only means of escape being to kill somebody. Why are they stuck there? What’s going on outside? Those are only a small example of the questions you’ll be asking as the dead bodies begin to pile up.

The last thing you want right now is to start becoming paranoid of your housemates, so maybe skip these games for the time being.

A Plague Tale: Innocence (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

Setin 14th century France, A Plague Tale: Innocence sees you takecontrol of a young noblewoman who is forced to go on the run with her infectedbrother when her family is targeted by Inquisition knights.

With its excellent gameplay and characterisation, this is honestly one that we would suggest you play at any other time. But seeing how quickly the modern world has begun to devolve is rather worrying when you’re dealing with the medieval world.

Plus, if you’re scared of rats then you absolutely do not want to be adding that phobia to the mix…

SuperMario Party (Switch)

Self-isolation sadly means that it’s more-or-less impossible to have friends come over for a good multiplayer session. And while most games tend to have online multiplayer, Super Mario Party unfortunately doesn’t, or at least it offers very little to do.

If you’re stuck inside on your own, we don’t recommend booting up this one, especially in single-player. It’ll just remind you of the crushing isolation you’re experiencing.

But what if you’ve got friends or family living with you? Well, the Mario Party games are notorious for ruining friendships. To win, you need to be ready to betray your own grandma to get the coveted stars, so you run the risk of ending a game with everybody angry at each other and under the same roof.

The last thing we need is to make enemies of the people we’re going to see every day for a potentially long while…

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