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.
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.
Mental Health in Games: 3 Design Tropes that Need to Die
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s talk about how mental illness is represented in video games and why that should change. About a quarter of commercially released video games include characters with symptoms of a mental illness. Too often, these portrayals follow the trends we’ve seen in over 40 years of research into […]
Game-Based Learning in the Classroom: 3 Essential Questions
Because games teach in ways that are unique, they bring many interesting affordances to the classroom. Games give learners a chance to immerse themselves in new information, apply that information in problem solving, and take new perspectives. They offer exposure to new content, and ways to practice tasks. Students can fail safely in games, and […]
Co-op Therapy: Using Video Games to Connect with Teen Clients
In my therapy practice, I’ve found that the best way to reach a client is by speaking his or her “language.” When it comes to talking to teens, I don’t just mean speaking English or Spanish. I mean speaking fluently about the latest trends, songs, and games. I once worked with a client who did […]
Sea of Thieves: Anchored in Positive Design
Sea of Thieves (SoT; rated 13+ years), a pirate-themed, open-world game, launched in March of 2018 with over 1,000,000 players ready to set sail on day one. What initially sparked my interest in SoT was an article in US Gamer about how Rare, the development studio, had specifically designed the game to preemptively combat the […]
How Games Change the World by Modeling the Truth
“How can a game change young people’s minds in a positive way?” There’s a hopeful idea underneath this question. It’s hidden beneath the words, and it’s one any parent would recognize: “I believe that my message to my children will be heard.” Certainly, parents’ messages to their children are often heard. Still, anyone who has […]
An Interview with Kinful: Bringing Cross-Cultural Empathy to Schools with VR
How do we prepare today’s students to thrive in an uncertain world? One proven technique is for schools to wholeheartedly support students’ social and emotional development — their empathy, their ability to bounce back after failure, and their capacity to connect meaningfully and sensitively with diverse people across the world. Schools are demanding effective social […]
Nier: Automata – True Kindness in Games Requires Sacrifice
Editor’s note: This guest-authored post was inspired by a panel discussion called “Find the Kind” at MagFest in January of 2018. The panel was led by Heidi McDonald and Sean Weiland of iThrive Games, James Portnow of Extra Credits, and Dr. Shaun Cashman of Pfeiffer University. Please note that THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS for the […]
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