Empowering Teens Through Great Games

About iThrive Games


iThrive Games collaborates with game developers, tests games with teens, and provides resources to foster teen thriving through gameplay.

The potential for video games to empower teens has been largely overlooked even though video games allow for players to stretch their skills, take risks, and explore who they are and who they want to be. iThrive Games is a team of social and emotional learning experts, psychologists, and game developers that works to address this oversight through collaborations with game studios as well as teen development and positive psychology experts. The iThrive Games team embraces teens’ love of video games, and explores how great games can empower teens to discover and use their unique strengths, unlock their potential, and take charge of their well-being.

Our Blog

01/10/18 iThrive Games

Looking Ahead | 2018

Through our work in 2017, we reaffirmed our mission to use and design technology that empowers teens to thrive. Today’s teens are digital natives who both face unique challenges and have incredible insight and potential as change-makers in an uncertain world. Through our programs and initiatives, we meet teens where they are, in physical and […]

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12/18/17 iThrive Games

VR and Empathy: Tread Carefully

Contributors to this article were Michelle Bertoli, MA (director of content for iThrive Games), Kelli Dunlap, PsyD (game developer, psychologist, and research consultant for iThrive Games), and Susan Rivers, PhD (executive director and chief scientist for iThrive Games). __________ Heidi McDonald, iThrive’s senior creative director, felt inspired at the start of a recent virtual reality […]

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11/29/17 Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

How Bad Data Have Given Video Games a Bad Rap (and How To Read Beyond the Headlines)

I’m a psychologist, game designer, and researcher studying how people interact with games and how games impact players. I also make games that explore mental health issues and analyze how mental health is represented in games. I love talking about the psychological complexities of designing games and how games can be used to help us […]

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11/1/17 Susan Rivers & Gabrielle Rappolt-Schlichtmann

We Can’t Design Games for Teens Without This

iThrive Games and EdTogether are co-designers and co-facilitators of Game Design Studio, a special game-based social and emotional learning program for teens. In this post, you’ll learn: what teens in Game Design Studio have said really matters to them; the goals and structure of the program; its key features; and a primary takeaway from our […]

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10/31/17 Michelle Bertoli

Oxenfree: Spooky and Meaningful Halloween Play

I’ll be hearing eerie radio static in my nightmares for the foreseeable future. That’s because last night, in preparation for my favorite holiday, I turned out the lights and spent three hours taking in the delightfully spooky Oxenfree, a horror game that uses tuning a handheld radio as a core mechanic. Released in 2016 by […]

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10/17/17 Sean Weiland

My Favorite Games from IndieCade 2017

From Oct. 6-8, I was lucky to attend the 10th IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games in Los Angeles. The weather was beautiful and ramen was available in more varieties than I was able to consume (although I tried). I set out through Little Tokyo to play as many games as possible and chat with […]

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10/10/17 Michelle Bertoli

That’s a Wrap on Design Hive 3

What do you call an enthusiastic gathering of game devs and psychologists? In the world of iThrive Games, that’s an #iThriveDesignHive! Our third Hive took place Sept. 21-24, 2017 in Anaheim, CA. We added a fantastic group of individuals to our collective Hive Mind, which includes indie, educational, and AAA devs and studio heads, top […]

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