What It Takes to Make a Kinder, Gentler Video Game

Tiffany

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Destiny's Sword tasks players with not just efficacy in combat, but also managing the mental health of their squad, and it’s backed by science.

Destiny’s Sword is a sci-fi adventure where players command a squad of futuristic peace-keeping troops. But it’s not just about battlefield performance. It’s also about paying attention to the squad’s mental health. The player assumes the role of commander of a squad of soldiers, but if you don’t tend to your team’s psychological state and watch their non-verbal cues, the group’s performance is affected. You have to be observant: Is someone on your team suffering from PTSD? Anxiety? Are they drinking? Do they have bags under their eyes, indicating they are tired? Are they having nightmares and getting into fights? The developers wanted players to gain empathy for their squad members as they were shepherded through their recovery process, missions, and duty assignments.

What compels you to play a game and stay invested? Is it the action, the kill, the leveling-up, the loot, the skins, the strategy, being MVP of the game? Would Destiny's Sword interest you in detecting a players mental status and other physical needs?
 

Crims

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The competition, which is spurned from biology which is spurned from violence, is what's the usual reason why violence is a mainstay of videogames, even going to Space Invaders.

Reading the article, I really like the idea of repopularisation of command and strategy games like Company of Heroes 2, where you're responsible for your troops or allies. If you've got a game you like to play with friends, you're usually always doing that anyway - your friend's well being is just as important as your own and people can distinguish fiction from reality (for now). VR is going to have a glut of violent games, so it'd be great to have something much more human and relatable.
 

Retro

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I tend to play shooters like Unreal Tournament or Call of Duty, mostly. Basically, games with advanced 3D graphics which require a high end graphics card to get the most out of them.

I also liked Portal and Portal 2 very much though. Both set in the Half-Life universe, but not a gun or a kill in sight, just fiendish puzzle after fiendish puzzle. Great games.

And while I could never fully get into Half-Life and never finshed it, perhaps partly due to its really dated graphics and scratchy, distorted sound, Half-Life 2 was on another level. In fact, I played it all the way through three times over the years. And this is coming from someone who often doesn't even finish campaigns, losing interest part way through.
 

Crims

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And while I could never fully get into Half-Life and never finshed it, perhaps partly due to its really dated graphics and scratchy, distorted sound, Half-Life 2 was on another level. In fact, I played it all the way through three times over the years. And this is coming from someone who often doesn't even finish campaigns, losing interest part way through.
In a sense Half Life 2 was a puzzle game for the most part - physics puzzles make up the majority of exploration, especially in the boat section.
 

Tiffany

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Strategy, shooting and winning, keeps my attention on a game. My amusement threshold bar is a bit lower as I'm not an advanced gamer, not even intermediate, but I do get the rush as I've experienced some of the Overwatch training center. Living with a gamer daughter, I do hear all of the game coordination chat while she's gaming with her group of friends. It's quite interesting, there's laughter, swearing, compliments and a lot of "I got your back". Love that!
 

Crims

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I think it's really about bonding, and stuff that's Out Of Game that matters most. Every time I've seen the above tried to be done, it's usually been through an uncanny valley style (Milo on Kinect) or without the real self awareness and humour required to be worth it on behalf of the players. Whenever i've seen this attempted it's either 'moderately bruised' or 'borderline bleeding to death', described as subtle but isn't at all.
 

Tiffany

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I think it's really about bonding, and stuff that's Out Of Game that matters most. Every time I've seen the above tried to be done, it's usually been through an uncanny valley style (Milo on Kinect) or without the real self awareness and humour required to be worth it on behalf of the players. Whenever i've seen this attempted it's either 'moderately bruised' or 'borderline bleeding to death', described as subtle but isn't at all.

Yes, there's a lot of bonding because of the group/team experience. That bonding experience can't be written in code somewhere as part of the game.......thus the dynamics of the human equation superseding the code and AI.
 
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