Category Archives: Video Games

Where We Find Comfort in Video Games

If you haven’t heard of Hygge, you may not have been inside a bookstore lately. It’s a Danish word meaning, roughly, “wellbeing,” but it’s also a concept that encompasses coziness, contentment, wellness, friendship — the good life, more or less. Since the 2016 release of The Little Book of Hygge: the Danish Way to Live […]

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Why Frustration is so Compelling in ‘Getting Over It’

When you’re playing a game, you probably don’t set out to be frustrated. Frustration is a feeling we associate with bad game design, with unfair competitions, with controllers thrown at walls. Getting Over It with Bennet Foddy is a game fully intended to inspire frustration, but people still play it. People still play it even […]

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What Destiny 2’s Eververse Can Teach Us About the Psychology of Loot Boxes

For Destiny 2 players, Eververse is a major point of contention. Eververse is a fictional trading company that sells loot boxes for real-world money. These loot boxes, known as Bright Engrams in the game’s lore, contain random cosmetic items like weapon skins, dyes, and emotes. To some players, Eververse is the root of Destiny 2’s […]

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How Majora’s Mask Helped a Game Creator Through Death Anxiety

Death is a concept few of us are comfortable with. For most people, being afraid of dying isn’t something that directly impacts our days and nights. It might inform our decisions or get us thinking dark thoughts from time to time, but mostly, it doesn’t come up. For some people, the idea of dying provokes […]

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Playing Games While Talking About Feelings is What BROverwatch Does Best

“We are going to play Overwatch and talk about our terrible feelings.” That’s the rallying cry that kicks off the first episode of BROverwatch. And that’s exactly what the team of Duncan, Carl, JP and Jamie proceed to do. They start with a check in: how is everyone doing? And, as the first full episode […]

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Celeste’s Creators Share Their Reasons for Bringing Hope to the Masocore Genre

Masocore games are designed to frustrate. Loosely speaking, they’re part of a sub-genre of the platformer requiring quick reflexes, quick thinking, and a whole lot of patience. Super Meat Boy is a prime example, one that celebrates players’ failures by splattering a level in meat-boy gore. Celeste does things a little differently. It shares the […]

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How Artifact 5 is Designing for Mental Health

Danny O’Dwyer’s Noclip is a channel to watch for anyone interested in the making of games. O’Dwyer produces crowdfunded documentaries about the games we all love and the people who make them. His Noclip Sessions episodes are shorter, intimate conversations with game designers. Last week, Artifact 5’s Samantha Cook stopped by for one of those […]

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Study Examines How Video Games Portray Addictive Substances

Substance use isn’t a major topic in many games. It comes up in some, of course, from Chloe Price’s casual marijuana use to the heavier drug themes of various Grand Theft Autos, but most games aren’t spending much time on accurately representing drug users. As a recent survey has made clear, though, a great many […]

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Why Does Subnautica’s Terrifying Alien Ocean Calm My Anxiety?

Like many people, I find the idea of the deep ocean terrifying. Unfathomable depths, strange, alien creatures — everything that makes Thalassophobia tick. So here’s a strange thing: the most calming game I’ve played in ages is a game about those unfathomable depths and alien creatures. Subnautica isn’t a gentle game. It starts with a […]

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Anamorphine Gets New Details (and a Delay)

If, like us, you’ve been looking forward to Anamorphine for months now, be prepared to be patient: the game recently slipped past its mid-January release date. Its developers at Artifact 5 announced that the game needs “a few final weeks” of polish, and that it will be out in the next few months — the […]

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