Empowering Teens Through Great Games

About iThrive Games


We believe that video games can create meaningful ways for teens to engage in their own development. We are committed to the use and design of  games that are engaging and meaningful to teen players.

Who we are
We are a team of psychologists, social and emotional learning experts, and game developers.

How we work
In collaboration with game developers, mental health experts, and educators, we infuse meaningful, game-based growth opportunities into the virtual and physical settings where teens spend their time.

Why games?
We know games can empower teens to develop socially and emotionally, stretch their skills, take risks, and explore who they are and who they want to be. We embrace teens’ love of video games and explore 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

08/15/18 Michael Vassos

Friendly Competition: Starting an eSports League at My High School

It’s do or die. I’m in the loser’s bracket quarter finals. After a defeat to THUNDER, Ontario’s third best Super Smash Bros 4 player, I move to the losers bracket to face s0rry. I’ve never heard of s0rry but I never underestimate a new opponent. After several nail-biting moments, the score is knotted at two […]

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08/7/18 Katerina Schenke

Put a Badge On It! Using Digital Badges to Support Social and Emotional Learning

Digital badges have been at the center of discussions around alternative credentialing systems for years. Digital badges—web-enabled tokens of accomplishment that circulate in social networks—rose to prominence as a potential alternative credentialing system in the early 2010s. The idea was that students could earn credit that would be recognized by universities, peer networks, employers, and […]

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07/18/18 Heidi McDonald

Student Game Developers Win for Compassion in Accessibility

In early June, I was fortunate enough to be a guest speaker at the Gotland Games Conference (GGC) in Visby, Sweden. The GGC is an annual festival at Uppsala University, where the students present and demo their game projects and compete for awards, and where speakers deliver lectures on a yearly theme. I was invited […]

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07/3/18 iThrive Games

Seeking Contributors to iThrive’s New, Peer-Reviewed Journal of Games, Self, and Society

iThrive Games, in cooperation with Carnegie Mellon’s ETC Press, has released a call for submissions to the inaugural issue of iThrive’s peer-reviewed Journal of Games, Self, and Society. Our team of highly respected game scholars, education experts, and mental health specialists recruited from around the United States will review papers submitted to kelli.dunlap@ithrivegames.org by Aug. […]

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06/28/18 Heidi McDonald

Overwatch Endorsements and Promoting Player Kindness

Blizzard Entertainment has added a feature to their co-op shooter, Overwatch (rated 13+ years), which promotes kindness in their player base. The system took effect in update 1.25 of the game. The idea is that after someone completes a team match, each player has the chance to award up to three “endorsements” to other players, […]

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06/28/18 Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

Gaming Disorder and the World Health Organization

[Note: This article originally appeared on www.takethis.org and is reposted here with permission.] In June 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) finalized its draft of the 11th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11). Included in the latest version of the medical classification manual is the controversial diagnosis of […]

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06/22/18 Michelle Bertoli

iThrive’s Resources for Educators: Using Games to Engage the Whole Teen

iThrive Games, founded in 2014, is a nonprofit committed to providing meaningful growth experiences for teens, both in and outside of the classroom. Through our education initiatives, launched in 2017, we strive to empower educators to integrate game-based learning in the classroom to support the development of the “whole teen,” meaning attending to teens’ cognitive, […]

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