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

06/16/17 Michelle Bertoli

GUIDE: A Video Game for Challenging Your Fears

“The voice in your head is not always a truthful guide, and the journey of fighting your fear starts by making the choice to question your own narrative.” – www.guidethegame.com You are Fia, a baby phoenix just born back into the world from a pile of ashes. Lightning strikes the tree you call home and […]

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06/2/17 Michelle Bertoli & Heidi McDonald

Zest in Video Games: Teens Need Some Excitement

This article is part of a series that captures game industry experts’ opinions on game titles and mechanics that might boost habits, mindsets, and skills that empower teens to thrive. These insights arose from discussions at an iThrive Games-sponsored think tank with game developers and scholars. Teens are wired to venture out, take risks, and […]

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05/26/17 Michelle Bertoli

Brie Code: Cultivating “Tru Luv” for Video Games

“Most people who follow me seem to be playing video games more for what they wish they were than what they are. We all tend to agree that games as a medium has so much, so much potential and that we are just beginning to explore what that potential is.” – Brie Code When indie […]

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05/5/17 Michelle Bertoli & Heidi McDonald

Purpose in Games: Empowering Teens To Explore Who They Are

This article is part of a series that captures game industry experts’ opinions on game titles and mechanics that might boost habits, mindsets, and skills that empower teens to thrive. These insights arose from discussions at an iThrive Games-sponsored think tank with game developers and scholars. Only about twenty percent of high school-aged teens already […]

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04/21/17 Michelle Bertoli

John Krajewski, “Eco” Developer, On Play that Saves the World

It’s almost Earth Day, folks. To celebrate, get out there and hug a tree, join your local March for Science, then settle in and play Eco, Strange Loop Games’ award-winning online, multiplayer survival sim. Eco calls on players to work together on a shared server to tackle only the most pressing dilemma of our era: […]

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04/7/17 Heidi McDonald

From Angst to Engagement: Insights from our DePaul University Game Jam

iThrive Games has been hosting a series of paper prototype game jams in recent months. We had one in January at MagFest, and on April 1, we held one at DePaul University in Chicago. No fooling! This jam was different in that we included both college students and high school students. We presented game design […]

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03/31/17 Michelle Bertoli

Doris Rusch, Deep Games Developer, Talks Designing for Empathy

I firmly believe that everything can be made relatable. We are all, after all, humans. Our experiences may vary (sometimes A LOT), but we all carry everything within us. We just need some ways of accessing this deep, dormant understanding of the whole range of the human condition. – Doris Rusch One moment I was […]

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