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

12/12/18 Ben Schwartz

Live Action Role Playing To Support Healthy Teen Development

The summer I was 14, I saved the world for the first time. I also attempted to destroy it, spied on the Illuminati, and journeyed into the underworld, all in the span of two weeks. That’s what happens when you go off to a summer camp for live action role playing or “larping.” I went […]

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12/3/18 Susan Rivers

The Power of Teens

iThrive co-designs games with teens, educators, mental health experts, and professional game developers to discover how play and design can empower teens to thrive. But why do we care about teens? First of all, we know teens face tremendous pressures. Just a few of them are: Anxiety and depression are on the rise Inequities in […]

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11/13/18 Josué Cardona

Game Culture Is As Important As the Game

Do you floss? I’m talking about the dance, not dental hygiene, and I think everyone should at least know one reason flossing is so popular. I recently learned to floss because my 7-year-old niece and I disagreed on how it’s done. Who was right doesn’t matter. What does matter is that my 7-year-old niece knows […]

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10/12/18 Heidi McDonald

The 2018 Design Hive: Plenty of Buzz, and a Real Bee

iThrive Design Hives are annual retreats with veteran game developers and scholars in the field. The iThrive team, along with these folks, works to identify best practices in game design, on various topics, after we review the scientific literature around components of social and emotional well-being. We seek to produce resources that support the design […]

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09/21/18 iThrive Games

About iThrive’s Journal of Games, Self, and Society

Journal of Games, Self, & Society (JGSS) is a peer-reviewed journal created and edited by iThrive Games and published by ETC Press. The goal of JGSS is to encourage interdisciplinary research, conversation, and community around games-related scholarship. The journal highlights work focused on how games, game design, and gameplay contribute to a deeper understanding of […]

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09/13/18 Eric Vignola

Virtual Reality and the Search For Happiness

Happiness is a habit and a skill. According to Richard J. Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the brain can learn to maintain happier, more compassionate states through consistent training. I believe that one way this kind of training can be done is through the responsible and intentional design of […]

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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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