NEW GAME IDEA: Forgiveness Grampa

In high school I had a friend whose parents gave him a dollar every time he made a mistake. “Mom and Dad,” he’d say. “I smoked weed for the first time last night.”

“That’s great, son!” they’d respond. “Here’s a dollar!”

Or so I was told. But I love the idea of incentivizing and normalizing mistakes. Because it is normal. Humans make mistakes – big ones and small ones pretty much all the time. Constantly, really.

It’s so obvious, and still so hard for me to accept of myself a lot of the time. I suspect this is true for lots of people.

So here’s a playful pocket-sized reminder that it’s OK to make mistakes. A little computerized nudge that you’re still 100% lovable and good.

The whole thing is you having a chat with a friendly grandparent. They’re a cartoon-looking, animated character, sitting outside a house, and you can type to them. Of course, as part of the app setup, you get to pick your own grandparent avatar and setting, which could be either incredibly touching and healing (if you select the actual grandparent who gave you this attunement as a child) or a throwaway gag. It’s really up to you, y’know?

Anyways, you open the app, and your grandparent asks, “What’s bothering you, sweetie?” (or some variant depending on their dialect / accent, but just stick with it. Feel free to imagine it in Yiddish if that’s helpful to you.)

Up pops the chat box and you type in “I posted something stupid on Facebook,” or “I got really angry and defensive and was mean to TJ.”

And then… and here’s where the magic happens…

Your heartfelt admission is run through Google Translate a bunch of times, mangled just enough, and then spit back out to you in English by your grandparent.

“Oh. You’ve posted a sting on Facebook? Well, so what? I still love you anyway. Gimme a kiss!”

Then they pucker up and you gotta tap their big ol’ lips to finish the interaction.

“Thanks for sharing with Grandma. Come back and see me anytime, darling.”

That’s it. They’re always there when you need them. If you’re doubting yourself, or just feeling bad, or have done something harmful. Just a small reminder that the core of your being is still loved and lovable.

So, lots of questions, because this idea just came to me this morning. First off, does it provide any relief? Does it need more upfront framing of why you’re using the app in the first place like, “this is to practice getting comfortable with making mistakes?” And what about big things? Maybe those need a totally separate dialogue… I think this little exchange is too dismissive of real regrets. And also what about actually reconciling and changing harmful behaviors, too?

But! I think it’s a worthwhile start for practicing recognizing your own self-worth and lovability as a human regardless. Because we do make mistakes and hurt people – it’s just part of living, and keeping that sense of goodness at the same time can be a struggle. So hopefully this can be a tool towards that end.

And actually here’s the best thing about this app (and this post, maybe): you can really do this in your own head, by yourself, whenever you want to throughout the day. The app is really just a placeholder. So your challenge (and my challenge – seriously, I’ve been trying lately) is to try this exercise least once this week when you’re feeling down on yourself. Just imagine a kindly elderly mentor telling you it’s ok. That you’re good. That you’re lovable. Because you are – even when you post something stupid on Facebook.

Why Games Can Help Your Mindfulness Practice

I’m a beginner, and I’m trying to be more mindful throughout my day. I meditate in the morning, and as great as it is for me, it’s not always an option to sit for 15 minutes when I’m stressed out at 3pm.

I’m making mindfulness games to help people calm down and get in touch with themselves wherever you are – physically and mentally.

No matter where you are on your mindfulness journey, here are five reasons why mindfulness Continue reading “Why Games Can Help Your Mindfulness Practice”

Quick Tips to Prime Your Body for Forgiveness

This morning I drew up a game idea to help practice forgiving yourself by relaxing your body. There are definitely ways to calm your mind by calming your body, and here are a few simple ones to get started.

A lot of these ideas are geared towards generating a feeling of spaciousness. Feeling bad can make us feel small and clenched so “WHOOPS!” and these simple acts help us feel wide and bigger than our mistakes. Because you are more than your missteps.

  • Clench your hand into a fist, bring it away from your body, and then slowly release it
  • Shrug your shoulders
  • Touch your lips gently with your fingers
  • Place your hand over your heart
  • Roll your shoulder blades all the way low onto your back
  • Lift your eyes to something high up in your field of view
  • Turn your arms so your palms face forward
  • Place your hands behind your head and lean back
  • Breathe slowly & deeply three times (count to four on your inhale, and four on your exhale)

So if you’re feeling cramped, overwhelmed, stressed, or just down on yourself, try these simple postures for just a few seconds and then see if you’re more ready to forgive and move on.

Game Idea Round-Up

Hey! I’m trying something new today and posting a round-up of all the game ideas of written down on my incredible “GAME AND BLOG POST IDEAS” Trello board. I like to think of this board as a greenhouse for my little game idea seedlings. Whenever I get an idea, I put it on the board immediately, and then it germinates in the back of my mind until I’m ready to come back to it. Continue reading “Game Idea Round-Up”

Mid-game Uncertainty

Last week, I started a new game for The Gentle Issue and made great progress. I fleshed out the idea, sketched out a roadmap, and began coding. It’s a game about frogs and snow globes and taking breaks, and I really liked where it was heading.

After I got all the basic systems in the place, I stepped back and took a look at the little pond I had created.

A cartoon frog jumping around a video game
My little froggy friend

Continue reading “Mid-game Uncertainty”

Games *to* myself

I had a conversation with a friend this weekend about in-school social workers using Wide Open Games in their work with adolescent boys. My friend was saying how the games could help start conversations in a way that regular talk therapy sometimes struggles to with teenage boys. I love this idea, and it’s not something I would’ve ever thought of on my own.

Continue reading “Games *to* myself”

Crystal Coworking

Quick little tip for all my fellow coffee shop, shared-desk, or kitchen-table-coworking colleagues. If, like me, you don’t have an office or desk to call your own, it can be a little disorienting and discomforting to unpack and re-pack all your stuff at the beginning and end of each work day. It’s hard for me to feel like wherever I’m working is truly “mine,” and that can make it hard to get into a groove.

Continue reading “Crystal Coworking”