The iThrive Games Foundation prepares teens to thrive by meeting them where they are and working in partnership towards a world where all have the voice, choice, and agency to reach their full potential. 

We are thrilled to introduce you to our latest teen blogger, Eleanor Mather, a senior from New York. She has enjoyed playing games since playing Pokémon Platinum with her brother and friends and has grown to love discussing and developing them in the past years. She is very excited to contribute her thoughts to the conversation on games as a medium and hopes to encourage others to join in. Before we share her first blog about tabletop role-playing games and learning to live with failure, we asked her to answer a few questions.  

What is the first game you played? 

It’s hard to remember the exact game I played for the first time, but if those old Leapster games for learning count those would technically be the first.  However, the first game I played for purely recreational purposes on my own would probably be Nintendogs which came with my DS when I was around 5 or 6.

Why do you enjoy playing games?

Games are a wonderful way to immerse yourself into a context separate from your own, and I tend to find myself learning much about both myself and gain new perspectives on how other people live through playing them.  The fact that the structure of many game genres lends to more personalized experiences means that discussions on them can go into many places depending on who is part of the conversation, so there is always something new to discover.  It doesn’t hurt that they are almost always fun as well.

How do games fit into your everyday life? 

Despite the fact that I’ve lost some free time as I have become older, I try to find time to play games for brief periods at home to relax and enjoy some time to myself before returning to the chaos of daily life. 

Do any teachers at your school (past or present) use games in the classroom?  If so, what did you enjoy about that class? If not, why do you think classrooms can benefit from curricular units that surround gameplay?

While none of my teachers have implemented games into the classroom, I think many classes-particularly those involving analysis-would benefit.  Since how someone plays a game is dependent on how they approach things as an individual, students could more easily incorporate self-reflection into the curriculum when they describe the message the game was trying to portray.

What are some of your favorite games to play right now?

Animal Crossing New Leaf has become a staple of my daily routine, and Splatoon 2 is a great team-based game.  I’m steadily trying my best to catch up on Octopath Traveler and Persona 5 as well.

How do games help you?

A lot of the ways games help me are tied to why I enjoy them.  Not only have games let me explore various personas and think about new perspectives, but they’ve also let me find friends who are interested in sharing what they’ve found through the same or other games.  Games are also often an environment in which I can work on something for myself without being influenced by the expectations of others.

If you know a teen who would be interested in writing about how games are a part of their life, have them email sierra.martinez@ithrivegames.org.  

Bitnami