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

06/19/18 Amanda Lange

How Difficult Video Games Inspire Me in My Career at Microsoft

As a Software Engineer and former Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, I often have people — sometimes parents — ask me how I got my start in technology. The truth of the matter is, though I’ve been inspired by a lot of different sources over the years, my biggest source of inspiration to start in technology […]

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05/30/18 Sarah Hays

“Link”ing Games and Therapy: A Triforce Intervention

[Content Note: Description of trauma, sexual assault] Jane (not her real name) was a 13-year-old girl referred to me after being groped multiple times by random peers in the hall at school while visiting her locker between classes. As a result of Jane’s traumatic experiences, she was afraid to go to school, walk in the […]

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05/21/18 Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

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 […]

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05/14/18 Barbara Chamberlin & Jesse Schell

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 […]

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04/20/18 Josué Cardona

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 […]

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04/11/18 Kelli Dunlap, PsyD

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 […]

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03/28/18 Jason VandenBerghe

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 […]

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