Meditation may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of gaming, but mindfulness has been appearing among the pixels in some recent video games.
These 3 Video Games Might Help You Be More Mindful
1) A Happy Ending
A magic-infused game about death and saying goodbye? In Spiritfarer, you play as Stella, a ferry driver who transports friendly spirits to the afterlife, granting their final wishes along the way—like a colorful, compassionate spin on the Greek myth of Charon and the River Styx. Stella also learns to care for herself, during a scene where a snake spirit named Summer teaches her a sort of open-awareness mindfulness practice. “Meditation, Stella, is an affair of wholeness. Wholeness, and oneness,” says Summer.
2) A Calming Quest
Popular among educators, Minecraft provides endless possibilities for creativity and learning. In “The Mindful Knight,” designed for ages 8-13, a wizard teaches players to “cast a spell” by focusing on breathing and not getting distracted by thoughts. Sound familiar? There are further exercises for observing your sensory experience and labeling emotions, and players can record their responses for their teacher in a virtual journal.
3) One Thing at a Time
In Animal Crossing, the mindfulness is more built-in than explicit. While hanging out on a desert island, players perform relaxing tasks like talking with fellow villagers, going fishing, or tending to their virtual gardens—a structure that game designer and writer Jennifer Scheurle describes as a “gentle progression.” There’s no way to get ahead or defeat anyone else. You just have to do a little bit every day to get results in the game, which Scheurle compares to the way we gain benefits over time from meditating.