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October 20, 2017, 10:51:59 pm

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redredred
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« on: June 16, 2017, 07:25:33 pm »

I've been doing a lot of research to aid a friend about a his paper on Games That Heal. The concept of the paper is to highlight that games are not just about fighting and battle mechanics but about helping each other, community, and making people happy.

Fighting and Battles are not bad in any way, however there just seems to be an imbalance with games that are released that focus on power as their means of getting through, compared to games that are just pleasant in nature. And when we look into it some more, the generally pleasant games tend to be geared towards a younger audience rather than the elder teen - young adult demographic who prefer goal oriented, battle focused games.

So, I wanted to ask for some references or some ideas on how a game can be geared towards a young adult demographic, but still be pleasant. At first I was thinking, "Nintendo" but in its core, Mario, Kirby and Yoshi still in a sense destroy their opponents to get to their objectives.

There's Animal Crossing though, which is really therapeutic, but it lacks a defined goal. There are also games like Stardew, and other sim-games which are games with goals, no violence, and gives off this sense of positivity but it's a very niche genre that not everyone would want to try. Then there are games like Undertale who treads that line so well by making the message about a choice of being kind(and evil), while not taking away from the kind of gameplay that action/rpg core players like.

So, are there similar games that I should be aware of, or should try that give that kind of message?
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ProgramGamer
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 10:56:03 pm »

I'm gonna be a bit specific here, but I like playing supports in Overwatch, specifically Mercy. I just like the feeling of helping people achieve their goals, and being the healer also puts me in a position where my responsibility is to pay attention to what's happening in the game and lead the others in battle. It's still about fighting, but in a more indirect way, at least in my opinion. Plus, some healers like Ana still require execution skills to heal others effectively, so it's not like healers offer less depth.
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redredred
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2017, 01:12:59 am »

I'm gonna be a bit specific here, but I like playing supports in Overwatch, specifically Mercy. I just like the feeling of helping people achieve their goals, and being the healer also puts me in a position where my responsibility is to pay attention to what's happening in the game and lead the others in battle. It's still about fighting, but in a more indirect way, at least in my opinion. Plus, some healers like Ana still require execution skills to heal others effectively, so it's not like healers offer less depth.

You know what, I somewhat agree with this. In Monster Hunter, the game isn't all about just battling and taking down large monsters. It focuses mainly on teamwork and cooperation. Everyone covers each others' backs with items and then some, and the random loot for everyone assures that no one fights over loot.
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Fro
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2017, 08:34:07 am »

You should look into Journeyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_(2012_video_game)

made by Thatgamecompany


The game has no dialogue, no fighting, just exploration and cooperation.
Even though it lacks textboxes Journey communicates a powerful message.
I don't want to spoil it but it's easily one of the best games I've played.

Edit: Also Undertale is an RPG that is made specifically so you don't have to kill enemies
instead you pacify them with flattery and other comical devices. It's made by Toby Fox.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2017, 08:40:32 am by Fro » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 11:16:20 pm »

If you search through old posts, there's a thread about nonviolent gaming that ends up listing dozens (maybe even a hundred or so) of specific games and about a dozen genres that generally don't have violence as their core mechanic (most puzzle games, "pure" stealth games, graphic adventures, city builders, business sims, racing, gambling, many casual arcade titles...).  Not all of these are pleasant and healing in the way you're looking for, but some of them will be.

Off the top of my head, some recent games that I found pleasant/nurturing/therapeutic, but not specifically intended for kids: Grow Home, Earthtongue, Abzu, Shelter, Starseed Pilgrim, FEZ, Waking Mars, Dropsy, Proteus, A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, Mini Metro, Fate Tectonics.

For upcoming games, Yonder: The Cloud-Catcher Chronicles comes to mind.
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2017, 09:05:31 am »

The Witness comes to mind, though I personally didn't enjoy it as much as some others did.

Also Mini Metro, although at higher difficulties I'm not sure how therapeutic one would find that game. Still worth a mention though because its a unique and tight experience that definitely has some nice "relaxing" elements to it.
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2017, 01:27:48 pm »

This is somewhat relevant to my current experiment. I'm building a casual 3D farming/fishing/etc game where the point is to relax. I'm having trouble not adding enemies to it at every turn because I'm so used to that line of thinking.

Atm i'm struggling what to do during the night. I've got a proper day/night cycle and my first instinct was 'ooh you have to protect your farm from something' but then realized that goes against the fact that the game is about to relax.

My current course is to make certain flowers/seeds bloom/openup during the night so you can go gather those and plant them in your farm, any other suggestions/ideas are very much welcomed.
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valrus
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2017, 03:34:11 pm »

@osman: Maybe something bioluminescent (mushrooms, other fungi, fish) that is difficult to distinguish during the day, but at night it's obvious.
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2017, 01:04:26 am »

Atm i'm struggling what to do during the night. I've got a proper day/night cycle and my first instinct was 'ooh you have to protect your farm from something' but then realized that goes against the fact that the game is about to relax.
Go to sleep? Can't think of many things more relaxing. Plus, if you implement sleeping you'll not need anything else for nights.

You could also dance in fairy circles, look for shooting stars, meet nocturnal creatures or npcs, socialize after a day of work.
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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2017, 01:45:06 am »

@valrus Yep, I was thinking indeed something like that as well. I think I'll probably tie it in with the farming ( explained below ).

@boris Sleep is always an option, but I want to give the player the option to stay awake. Also, I'm proud of my day and night system and kinda want players to enjoy moonlight haha ( not sure if I'm allowed to post any pics here, but you get the idea ). One last reason is: it's multiplayer so if I make sleeping an option I would have to make them both go into the little house before 'sleep' can be enabled.

The current state is: you need seeds in order to grow crops on your plots. The seeds you get if you feed animals/creatures fruit. Fruit you find in the wild ( most of them show themselves at night ). So it's a full circle: find fruit, feed to animal, they poop out seeds, use seeds to grow more of your own fruits. Perhaps it would be cool if you can mix and match fruits and animals so they yield different crops? Would open up a lot of room for experimentation.
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redredred
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2017, 08:44:45 pm »

I just got back after a while, and was surprised to see my thread still here. Thought it would have been buried by now. I'm really loving the recommendations. Journey and TGC games specifically are lovely.

Also, I Osman, I do love them Farmsim games. Some bioluminescent evening plants would really be nice to see.
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TedEH
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2017, 07:31:01 am »

I think there's an interesting point to be made of asking why the majority of games include some sort of violent/aggressive/fighting/etc. element to them (same as with movies or anything with a vague narrative element), and I think it boils down to how most narratives (even a really basic, one sentence premise) usually need some kind of driving conflict.  Without a conflict, there's not much motivating the narrative to move forward (or the player to keep playing).

Conflict doesn't have to be something violent though- the "conflict" of a farming sim might be "we need food but have none" or "we need to make money for x reason".  Saying that you have a goal, but that goal has not been accomplished yet is enough to call a conflict of sorts.  The unique challenge of a non-violent game is to find a way to drive the game forward, or motivate the player to actually play, without a literal conflict to resolve.  You otherwise run the risk of your game being boring, or not feeling like it has a point.

Walking sim style games have that issue, where the lack of a conflict to overcome makes people question if there's even really a game happening.  Puzzle games have that issue in that, unless you attach a narrative to it, the puzzles themselves might not serve as enough motivation for some players to keep going.  Some players might be driven by exploration or a sort of completionist mindset, but that doesn't apply to everyone.

I guess the takeaway is that a game with less traditional conflict at it's core is going to have a much harder time finding an audience, so it doesn't surprise me that they're a minority.

Something to add to the list maybe:  I think Firewatch that pulls off the sort of introspective, non-violent, story kind of game really well.
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