Weekly INT Boost – The Ways Games Help In Tough Times

Photo by Andrew Branch

Photo by Andrew Branch

Welcome to our roundup of all the best mental health-related articles you may have missed this week. This week, we have a bonus tiny puppy, as well as some great articles about game psychology from Valve, coping mechanisms and more. While we’re at it, don’t forget to check out Waypoint’s feature on us if you haven’t seen it already.


How Valve Tricked Players into Being Less Toxic

“His theory was that asking players to consider their team’s actions before their own would put them in a critical space and make them more self aware of their own behavior. Players who wanted to rate themselves high yet had just given their team a low score in the same field wouldn’t easily reconcile the two points of view.”

Motherboard explores a recent experiment in DOTA 2 that successfully made players less unfriendly to each other. Always a worthwhile goal.


One Game Creator’s Way to Overcome Depression? Make an Uplifting Game

“‘I’ve been spinning my wheels big time with 3D game development. And a host of other pesky and depressing minor health problems hit me all at once,’ Ciara wrote. “Not to mention, of course, depression and anxiety, which tricks me into thinking everything I do is worthless.’ However, in response, Ciara’s solution is to start development on a game called Picky Pumpkins.”

Make Good Art” isn’t always an easy mantra to follow. Kill Screen highlights one artist who is working hard to apply it during a period of depression.



Animal Crossing Helps Me Cope On A Day Like Today

“It seems absurd to say, but I have appreciated more things the way my father does because of Animal Crossing. When I was a child it helped me realize that small moments of joy are always around me, even as an outsider looking in, and today I need to remember this. There are days when I am walking alone in the city, downtown, where it is crowded and smelly and dirty and I feel myself wallowing in negativity. But in Animal Crossing, even on rainy grey days, the sky is beautiful. You have no choice but to see it, the top screen of the 3DS is completely full of sky. So on those days, downtown, I remember to look up.”

Kotaku’s Gita Jackson shares the story of how games have helped her in life, through severe childhood depression and difficult times happening now. If the topic interests you, Waypoint also has an excellent article up about the value of games in difficult political climates — but please note that it’s a partisan piece.


Cardio Protects You From Depression, Says Million-Person Study

“If you need more motivation for continuing to lace up your running shoes as the weather gets colder, consider this: According to a new meta-analysis of a million people, having low cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with a 75 percent higher risk of depression, while people with medium fitness levels have a 23 percent higher risk.”

A newly-published review of fitness research has found a major correlation between poor cardiorespiratory fitness and depression, further strengthening the ties between exercise and mental well-being, though New York Magazine points out one potential issue with the applicability of the findings: almost 98 percent of participants were male.



And that’s it for us this week. The Take This team is recovering from an absolutely amazing time at PAX Australia, where we were so glad to be able to help out. This weekend is a good one for some extra self care, so get some rest if you can and treat yourself gently if you feel like you need it. If you’re doing okay, you can always consider making good art of your own for Asylum Jam 2016! Remember, it’s dangerous to go alone – so take care of each other out there, okay?