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Stardew Valley

The player inherits their grandfather’s old farm plot in the beautiful town of Stardew Valley, which is your chance to start a new life and create a thriving farm. Players throughout the game will get to know Stardew Valleys inhabitants, make friends, start relationships and celebrate being together.

Stardew Valley is a feel-good game that you can lose hours in just taking care of your farm or doing other activities such as mining, fishing, mini-quests, and so much more. When we ask our community their comfort game, Stardew Valley has been in the running every time!

Features:

  • The farm is in your control do what you want with it
  • Meet interesting people, form friendships and relationships
  • Customise the game to your liking
  • Take part in events each with mini-games and things to do

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Promoting Positivity In Animal Crossing: New Horizons by Georgie Peru

The Animal Crossing series started way back in 2001 with Animal Forest. Since then, Animal Crossing has offered casual gamers a safe place to relax and unwind.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was aptly released on March 20th 2020, just as the global Coronavirus pandemic hit and created extremely turbulent times.

For many countries around the world, Spring marked the beginning of lockdown measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Causing a dramatic change in pace for many people, Animal Crossing: New Horizons offered a break from the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic.

A Sense Of Normality

Released on Nintendo Switch, Animal Crossing tasks players to clean up, make a home, and develop an island life. Starting their residence with a simple tent, Animal Crossing players can complete tasks, collect items, and welcome new villagers in order to claim island status. Players will eventually own their own island home which is customisable, from the rooms inside your house to how your mailbox looks.

Animal Crossing offers daily activities which gave people a sense of routine that was missing from real life. Meeting and making friends with residents and other players certainly offered a source of positive psychological wellbeing, bringing a much-needed calm in the storm most of us are slowly easing out of.

After immersing yourself in a few minutes of play, Animal Crossing can definitely lighten the load through its use of beautiful environments and imagination. Throughout the year, Nintendo released regular updates to the game like Bunny Day where players could join in on Easter-themed festivities like an egg hunt. 

Psychological Recovery

While it isn’t possible to label recovery as a single definition, the “recovery model” is often used to display the importance of supporting individuals with mental health conditions by recognising their identity and boosting their self-esteem.

The recovery process is sometimes described by the acronym CHIME; Connectedness, Hope and Optimism, Identity, Meaning and Purpose, and Empowerment. 

Animal Crossing ticks the boxes of psychological recovery by offering:

  • Connection with island residents and other players
  • Relaxation
  • Opportunities to learn
  • Feelings of control
  • A sense of accomplishment

Engaging in the game’s lighthearted activities, people can find a place to stabilise their mood and develop a sense of mindfulness. Offering players a space to restore their psychological energy allows a more calm and logical approach to coping with real life.

Animal Crossing allows people to soak in a wealth of visual opportunities, including the vast ocean, luscious landscapes, catching fish, chasing bugs, and interacting with other players.

Talking to other island residents certainly adds to the feeling of positivity through engaging and positive dialogue. Once you’ve started to build a rapport with these villagers, you can give and receive gifts and even help them in repairing their own relationships.

Expressive and Creative Play

The routine behaviour in the game helps to encourage positive feedback. Mindful tasks are uplifting and offer a sense of reward and accomplishment through simple and casual play. New Horizons definitely offers a level of self-expressive play, allowing players to showcase their creativity in a safe space. Whether it’s expanding your home, buying new wallpaper for your bedroom, or purchasing a new item for your island, this safe space offers people a leg up in the psychological process.

You could easily spend hours designing your island through the vast tools Nintendo offers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. 

There’s an in-game phone (NookPhone) that contains a multitude of apps for you to discover, including:

  • Camera
  • Nook Miles
  • Critterpedia
  • DIY Recipes
  • Custom Designs
  • Map
  • Passport
  • Call Resident
  • Rescue Service
  • Island Designer
  • Nook Shopping
  • Best Friends List
  • Chat Log

All of these apps encourage players to explore the different possibilities available to them. 

Each day in Animal Crossing leaves where you left off, but represents actual times, dates, and seasons comparative to the real-life world. As the seasons change, players will see their islands transform, with snow in the Winter, and more bugs in Spring/Summer. The way in which the game coincides with day/night and season cycles makes it a positive escape from reality, without going too far off course.

Another representation that Animal Crossing nails on the head are that of the psychological resource of agency. The feeling of autonomy is accurately depicted through the use of meaningful engagement with the environment. Whether a player chooses to spend time weeding and catching bugs, or visiting other islands, all are classed as valid actions.

Allowing players to practice curiosity is another positive element that Animal Crossing successfully achieves. People tend to indulge in curiosity when they feel safe, and every part of this game offers a safe space to explore. There aren’t any bad actions as such, there’s no death, no respawning, and no checkpoints. 

Promoting Positivity

As restrictions start to lift and we step cautiously out of the woods, Animal Crossing: New Horizons continues to be an invaluable escape. 

This wholesome gaming experience encourages positive behaviours and feelings and is a beacon of light that’s sold more than 31 million copies.


Georgie Peru’s Muckrack

Georgie is a bright, friendly and outgoing person. She is a highly analytical and technical individual who has a passion and the right mind-set for thought-provoking work, particularly focusing on content writing and web writing.

Skills utilised:
News

5 Games to Cheer You Up by Richard Breslin

It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, sometimes a dose of happiness can be hard to come by, especially for those that suffer with depression.

However, as I discovered as a child and right on through to present day as a married man with a son, videogames play just as an important role in improving my mental health, possibly even more so as I’ve gotten older.  There are so many games that I love, whether it be an epic adventure, a superhero saving the day, a game of football or something creative, they all play a role in my happiness.

So with that said, as challenging as it has been to narrow down just five games, I’ve compiled a short list that I believe do a great job in cheering me up by putting a smile on my face, and I hope that they can do the same for you too.


Two Point Hospital

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

A spiritual successor to the beloved Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital carries the torch into the modern day with giving you the responsibility of running your very own successful hospital.  However, this is no mere hospital, as its filled with unpredictable chaos and bags of humour.  You’ll be tasked with insuring that patients leave satisfied (preferably alive), making sure that staff are not skiving from their duties, oh and you’ll have to make sure that you don’t turn Two Point Hospital into a financial ruin and to show appreciation for your efforts, you’ll might  even be rewarded with end-of-year awards at a prestigious ceremony.  On the surface, Two Point Hospital may be judged as a business simulator and in some part that is true, but it’s also one of the most entertaining, funny and immersive games that I’ve played in recent times.


Concrete Genie

PlayStation 4/PSVR

Concrete Genie is a heart-warming story of a boy named Ash that lives in the small town of Denska.  A once thriving fishing community brimming with life, much of this town is now polluted, abandoned and decayed.  Ash is a lonely child that takes comfort in doodling creative art work in his notebook.  But when a group of bullies target Ash, they steal his note book, tear it to pieces which leaves the pages scattered throughout the derelict town.  So Ash embarks on a quest to recover his lost pages, but he soon discovers unexpected companions after finding a magical paint brush that brings his art work to life and brims the town with colour.  Concrete Genie has a unique gameplay feature that utilises the motion controls of the DualShock 4 that has you doodling your unique creations in-game before they spring to life with character, personality and vibrant colour.  Concrete Genie may have a campaign, but it’s a heart-warming story of a boy struggles, and an experience that will live with you for years to come.


Dreams

PlayStation 4

In Dreams from LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule, your “dreams” can quite literally come true.  The LittleBigPlanet series has always been about user created content with some impressive levels have been created by the community over the years since the first game released in 2008 for the PS3.  However, Dreams can take your creativity to the next level, whether it’s your own unique games, perhaps you wanted to finish a cancelled game or something based up your favourite movie?  You can even create something for visual purposes, for example, have you seen that life-like Full English breakfast?  The thought of it alone makes my mouth water!  But even if you don’t feel like creating, there are 1000’s of uploaded user created content which grows by the day, which you can check out for yourself.  Dreams also offers a perfect taste for anyone thinking of getting into videogame development.  Whether you want to be inspired or be the one inspiring, Dreams can give you a feeling of accomplishment and achievement like not many other games can.


Untitled Goose Game

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Untitled Goose Game is one of the most ridiculous games that I’ve ever played and it just so happens to be one of the funniest too.  The premise is simple, you are a Goose in a village, you’re placed in an area and you must complete as many of the in-mission objectives as you can.  However, while you go about your duties as a Goose, it is also your duty to torment the villagers and cause as much chaos in the process as you can!  Pinch picnic supplies, set off sprinklers, steal a garden rake, trap people in a phone booth, torment locals in the pub or just creep up to your unsuspecting victim to make them jump in fright with a loud HONK!  Yet beneath all of this chaos, is a surprising depth of puzzle solving that will have you scratching your head.  You may not initially think it, but Untitled Goose Game is like something that you’ve never played before and I can’t recommend it enough.


DOOM Eternal

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia

Now this is of course a mature game, and its 18-rated for a reason, so please only play this game if you meet the age requirements.  Throughout the years, the premise of DOOM has always been a simple one, The Slayer aka Doom Guy visits Mars where all hell has been unleashed and it’s his job to eliminate the demons to save the day.  DOOM (2016) was a fantastic reboot for the series, with gorgeous (and gruesome) visuals, fast & frantic gameplay and an adrenaline pumping soundtrack.  The latest release DOOM Eternal brings all the elements that made the 2016 release so great, and then expands upon its success to make it one of the best sequels in recent times.  For me, one of the factors that makes DOOM Eternal so great, is that the high-octane gameplay can actually work as a great stress release with its surprising therapeutic nature.  DOOM Eternal is one of the best games of this generation and ultimately, one of the most satisfying.  Now if you excuse me, I have some demons to slay!

Well, that’s my short list, and I hope that there’s something here that you might not have played.  Have you got any recommendations for games that will put a smile on our faces?  We’d love to hear your suggestions across our social media pages below!

 

Skills utilised:
Covid 19, News

University of Oxford Study Says Video Games Are “Good For Well-Being”

A recent study from Oxford University has found that time spent gaming is positively associated with wellbeing.

The data, derived from Plants vs Zombies and Animal Crossing (with over 3,000 surveys) has suggested that competence and the social elements of the games may contribute to people’s wellbeing.

Contrary to many, fears that excessive game time will lead to addiction and poor mental health, we found a small positive relation between game play and well-being.

Whilst finding this positive correlation, it is imperitive that more data is available to be able to be analysed to find out more about the intricate relationship between gaming and well-being in the future.

 

The authors have agreed that collaborations with industry partners are possible, can produce adequate data for analysis, and further collaborations to create longitudinal data will only improve insights into video games and our health.

To read more on the article, please click here.

Skills utilised:
News

Super Rare White Nintendo Switch Lite Raising Money for Safe In Our World!

05/10 UPDATE: This raffle has now closed, raising over £1820 for future initiatives within the charity – Thank you!

11/09 UPDATE:

So eBay changed their minds about supporting this. Long story, but we move on! If you donated to the eBay auction, we’re in the process of refunding all donations. We’re pleased to say we’ve now teamed up with Tiltify to host the campaign, again, tickets are just £5 for a chance to win this all-white Nintendo Switch!

More details and entry via: https://tiltify.com/@wired/rare-nintendo-switch-raffle

Original Story:

A very special all White Nintendo Switch has been created, to celebrate the launch of AVICII Invector. A game where all music royalties are being donated to the Tim Bergling Foundation, who advocate for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency and supports initiatives that engage in preventative actions against mental illness and suicide.

We’re honoured to have been selected to receive 100% of all proceeds from an auction taking place on eBay, where one of only five in the world, all white Nintendo Switch consoles is available to win, all with just a £5 raffle ticket.

Every single penny will be donated to Safe In Our World by eBay and there are only 3’000 tickets available!!

Please, please, please help share this message with the below details. Remember, currently Safe In Our World receives no direct funding or grants. Every penny will be used to help establish our support and deliver initiatives, both internally within the industry (such as our recently announced Level Up Program and soon to launch Mental Health Workplace Training course) and our gamer facing support / sign posting.

 

Terms & Conditions

Promotion and the Prize

The Avicii Nintendo Switch raffle (“Promotion”) is a raffle hosted on https://tiltify.com/ (the “Site”) in order to support Safe In Our World (Registered Charity number: 1183344) (“Charity”). The promoter is Wired Productions, Unit 4 Watford Interchange, Colonial Way, Watford, Herts. WD24 4WP. The UK. (“The Promoter”)  This Promotion will allow eligible users to purchase a virtual ‘ticket’ on the Site in order to be entered into a prize draw and have a chance of winning a Prize. Wired Productions have provided a custom Nintendo Switch Lite which is available to be won as a prize (each a “Prize”). Each ‘ticket’ you purchase will count as one entry. Purchasing 5 tickets will grant you 5 entries in the prize draw for a custom Avicii Nintendo Switch. There is no limit to the number of times you may enter each prize draw or the number of prize draws that you may enter.

The price of the ticket will be stated on the page on which you purchase the ticket. It may be listed as a ‘reward’ There is no cash alternative and the Prize cannot be transferred. Refunds are not available for this donation. Your statutory rights are not affected.

Promotion Period

The Promotion will be open from 16:00:00 on 11 September 2020 and will end at 15:59:59 on 30 September 2020, UK Local time (“Promotion Period”).

Eligibility

This Promotion is open to users of www.tiltify.co.uk (the “Site”) who are 18 years of age or older.

Procedure

You will be entered into the Promotion and be eligible to win a Prize when you purchase a raffle ‘ticket’ on the Site or if you enter via an alternative entry route described below (each an “Eligible Entry(ies)”). Please note that irrespective of what it may say on the Site or on the page where you purchase the virtual ‘ticket’, you will not be receiving a physical item. Your order confirmation for the ‘ticket’ purchased will serve as proof of entry, if so required. All proceeds from the ‘ticket’ sales shall go to the Charity.

Prize Winner

There will be 1 (one) winner who will be selected at random from all the Eligible Entries for each of the Prizes.

Prize Winner Notification and Delivery

Each Prize winner will be contacted via a member to member message on the Site on their tiltify account, or via the e-mail address they have provided or is present in their tiltify account within 15 business days of the end of the Promotion Period. The Prize winner must accept the Prize within 10 business days of being contacted and provide their full address. If a Prize winner does not respond and accept the Prize, Safe In Our World reserves the right to select another Prize Winner among the Eligible Entries to award the Prize to. Safe In Our World reserves the right to verify the eligibility of any of the entrants.  Once a Prize winner has accepted the Prize and communicated their address, a Prize will be delivered to the winner by the 31 of October 2020.

Prize Winner details

In accordance with the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code), the Prize Winners’ surname and county of residence will be published online. For winner details please visit: https://safeinourworld.org/nintendoswitchwinners/. A Prize winner has the opportunity to object to this information being published or made available, or to reduce the amount of information being made available. In order to object, please contact [email removed by eBay].

Exclusion From Participation

Any attempt to manipulate the Promotion is prohibited and will result in exclusion from participation.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, tiltify or Nintendo.

Skills utilised:
News

Spotlight: Nintendo and Mental Health

Nintendo has brought joy to many since the year 1889. They started off producing handmade playing cards and have now evolved into the video games behemoth they are today. And whilst increasingly more games companies aim to nurture mental health awareness, equality and accessibility through their content, it seems Nintendo has been helping the population with mental health for quite a number of years.

When it first launched on the Nintendo DS in 2006, Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training flew off the shelves. It’s essentially a workout for the mind – a game that aims to help improve your brain age, which in turn helps with daily activities and memory skills. With health experts often suggesting we engage with tasks that help take our focus away from anxious thoughts, brain training games potentially provide that much needed mental release. In fact, a recent study found evidence that regular engagement with challenging online memory games can improve mental wellbeing in teens. Attention and emotion are apparently closely linked in the brain, so by improving attentional control through these games they were able to positively influence emotional functioning. 

Wii Fit also proved massively popular when it first launched. Both avid gamers and families were flocking to the shops every time new stock became available. Wii Fit was designed to get people gaming and exercising at the same time, whether it was to lose weight or just have fun together. The potential benefit to mental health is obvious, when we know that exercise releases endorphins and therefore reduces the intensity of mental health issues for many. The games and activities on Wii Fit could also be a way to stimulate routine, particularly for those who are house-bound due to mental health reasons. 

Then there’s Tetris. In a study by Molecular Psychiatry, they conducted an experiment in the UK with 71 patients who had just, within hours, witnessed or been involved in an incident involving psychological trauma. The patients were told to do a task such as watching TV, texting, reading or playing Tetris. 37 of the patients played Tetris for 20 minutes and the study showed that in doing so, the game offered a low-intensity therapy that could substantially reduce “intrusive memories” after trauma. Like brain training games, the focused engagement with Tetris was able to relieve stress and reduce anxiety and panic attacks. The study also showed that video games use the part of the brain that focuses on the ‘now’, rather than the past or future, preventing the patients from dwelling on the negative memories. 

Today, as we face the social challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch has proved to be an isolation antidote for many. Being able to connect with friends and family who are also playing the game from their living rooms eases the social distancing frustration. It’s also a haven of escapism, where you can share fruit with your neighbours or laze on a friend’s island. The possibilities are endless for creating, exploring and that all important relaxation. 

It’s clear that Nintendo has done a lot for mental health, perhaps without always realising the positive and scientific outcomes their games were going to produce. They have become known for creativity and imaginative adventures, providing true escapism from the harsh realities that many are challenged with. We can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for the future. 

Skills utilised:
News

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