Computer games researcher Katherine Isbister writes in her book How Games Move Us (2016) that “games can actually play a powerful role in creating empathy and other strong, positive emotional experiences”. It is real! Game designers want players to laugh, cry, and show empathy to the other players and characters in digital games. So if you are looking for a mood boost, try these video games right now.
1. Kind Words
Ziba Scott’s Kind Words might seem like an odd game with all of it requires is that players write and receive encouraging letters in a warm room where they are cocooned in the relaxing sounds of lo fi chill beats.
It is inspired by the sensation lo fi hip hop radio on YouTube. This channel is a combination of chill electronic music looped over animation and also offers an amazingly active live chat – a heartfelt confession space.
Expanding on the spirit of the YouTube stream, Kind Words allows players to write letters about something worrying them and then read responses from other players. While it might be tempting to dismiss this game due to its simplicity, the exchange of messages might have an important role to play.
2. Going Under
Game designer Dan Cook once said that humor in games is difficult because of the conflicting nature of video games and comedy. While video games rely on the predictable to be playable, comedy comes from unexpected violations of the expected.
However, Krista Bonello, a comedy and punk-culture scholar, has stressed that comedy in games might succeed if it comes from exploiting the players’ experience of their previous games.
In that vein, Going Under becomes a great successful game by twisting the same setting of the action-adventure into the crumbling startups’ world. Instead of looking for buried treasure in mystical ruins, players have to strip the buildings of assets and explore the remnants of failed tech companies.