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Kind Words, This War of Mine and more: Video games that can be forces of social change

Kind Words

Kind Words   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A homage to those games that help bring about positivity, guiding kids as they grow up, and educating people on mental health issues

Gaming is a powerful medium to do some good if used right. Just recently, we have seen the use of an interactive VR experience to help a grieving mother say goodbye to her daughter. While gaming companies invest a lot of resources in the next global sensation like Fortnite, a handful of independent studios are creating moving experiences to bring about meaningful change.

For those who watch The Game Awards every year, you may recognise the title of the story as one of their categories. A homage to those games that help bring about positivity, guiding kids as they grow up, educating people on mental health issues or just being a friendly hand in the dark to guide people out.

Kind Words

Developed by Popcannibal; Available on Steam

On Steam, the full name of the game is Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to). Which sort of sums things up. This is not just a word processor wrapped into a game, but a powerful method of getting that right piece of advice, or giving that right piece of advice. People just write out their concerns and put it out there, for some kind strangers to answer back. Building an anonymous positive community by just being kind.

This War of Mine

This War of Mine  

This War of Mine

Developed by 11 Bit Studios; Available on Steam

While this game has been around for a while, with all that’s been going on in the world today, it’s important to come back to This War of Mine. A game that is about war, but not from the perspective of a Call of Duty soldier, but that of the civilians as they hide, scrounge for food and survive their daily hell where they can be executed on sight. The Complete Edition of the game is out now and it also contains The Little Ones, which is even more poignant, putting you in the little shoes of our children. While we wage all our violent wars, there’s always the innocent that suffer.

Sayanora Wild Hearts

Sayanora Wild Hearts  

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Developed by Simogo; Available on Apple Arcade, Switch, Steam, PS4, Xbox One

Growing up is a difficult thing, which is why Sayonara Wild Hearts is different for different people. A music-driven sort of puzzle game, on the surface it’s a pulse-pounding fever dream that looks beautiful. At its heart, it’s almost an act of breaking free, a game that symbolises the various demons we need to confront in order to emerge and embrace ourselves for who we are.

Gris

Gris  

Gris

Developed by Nomada Studio/Devolver Digital; Available on Switch, Steam, PS4, Xbox One

To the sceptics who feel that games are not art, I shove Gris in your collective faces. A hand-drawn masterpiece, much like Sayonara Wild Hearts, it uses visuals and deep symbolisms as it features a young girl named Gris, who has to navigate through her sorrow, find pathways and overcome all of those to claw her way back to life. Gris may mean something else to you, but to me it felt like it was telling me to find a way through the tough times, and focus on living your best life.

Celeste

Celeste  

Celeste

Developed by Matt Makes Games; Available on Switch, Steam, PS4, Xbox One

We all have our mountains to climb, and some we have been climbing since we were born. You play as Madeline, and ahead of her is a tough journey, as she has to climb up to the top of Mount Celeste. While this game may look as cute as Mario, it’s a supremely tough game, which is all about overcoming and emerging triumphant, no matter the hardships you face.

Hell Blade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hell Blade: Senua’s Sacrifice  

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Developed by Ninja Theory; Available on Switch, Steam, PS4, Xbox One

Mental health is something that should be treasured at all costs. Yet, how do we know we are facing a mental health issue? Hellblade is a fantasy horror on which creators Ninja Theory have spent hours working with neuroscientists to clearly define what people experience with psychosis. A condition where you can see things that aren’t there. Unlike the peaceful experiences of the games above, it features the talented Melina Juergens as Senua, a Pict warrior who has to rescue her dead love from hell itself.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 3:24:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/kind-words-this-war-of-mine-and-more-video-games-that-can-be-forces-of-social-change/article30963561.ece

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