Advancing the ways games advance us 


Explore our research, co-design, and advocacy at the intersection of games, mental health, and education.

iThrive Games collaborates and co-designs with teens, game developers, studios, and universities worldwide.

  • Our game development initiatives bring together developers from a range of backgrounds to create design tools, generate prototypes of compelling games, and further the exploration of crafting meaningful experiences.
  • Our education projects focus on creating compelling game-based curricular units and game design events for teens in formal and informal learning settings, always with the input of expert classroom teachers and teens themselves.
  • Our mental health efforts reveal the power of games for use in therapeutic settings and create supportive experiences for teens to explore identity, wellness, and meaning.

All the while, we research, incubate, and test even more resources to identify and shape the ways games have meaning for adults and teens alike.

Games are practice for life.

— Jason Vandenburgh, Design Director


Amplifying teen voices

Learn how we co-design experiences with teens while inviting them to engage in self-reflection and strength-building through play, critical game analysis, user-centered game design, and systems thinking.


Researching the way we interact with games and how games interact with the world

Explore the latest in interdisciplinary scholarship on game development, mental health, and education in our peer-reviewed journal.


Highlighting meaningful game experiences

Find and access outstanding games that demonstrate elements of a strengths-based approach to learning and resilience through building habits like empathy, kindness, and forgiveness.


Creating games with impact

Discover our internationally-recognized game jam program which connects developers from professional, college, and high school spaces to collaborate on short game design sprints — centering on themes like empathy, cooperation, optimism, and gratitude. These fast-paced, fun, hands-on events result in playable prototypes while providing mentorship opportunities, portfolio-building, and a chance to spot rising talent.


Providing developers with innovative tools

Develop engaging games that build strengths, explore meaningful topics, and benefit players. We scoured the scientific literature on key psychological and learning processes and partnered with seasoned game developers to create a suite of iThrive Design Kits for all levels of game developers. The Kits outline strengths-based themes, mechanics, and design tips that have the potential to build positive habits for thriving.