Firewatch: the sound of silence

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.

Cicero is thought to be the one who pronounced those words, and this quote came to my mind when I started writing this review. Firewatch is said to be one of the greatest (indie) games of 2016, and after playing it I understand why it earned this title. Not because it had the greatest graphics, not even because it told the best story. It was because we had the opportunity to build a relationship, to develop it and to suffer because of it.

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JOURNEY: FLY WITH ME

I play online games. Most of them are shooters, MOBA, MMORPG…  good games, bad games, but with some points in common. One of them is the community. League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm… all of them have a community, and a lot of them a toxic one.

How to deal with toxic communities and toxic players is one of the big challenges that game companies are facing. I don’t believe all people who have ever told me “STFU NOOB” while playing a game would say it to my face that easily. The sense of anonymity helps players feel less conscious of what they are doing and saying.

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LIMBO: A HEARTBREAKING ADVENTURE

Playing video games is like driving. You need to learn how to do it. Many triple-A titles include thousands of hard mechanics, that evolve as the game and the character does, widening the possibilities of what you can and can’t do. Those are long games, with a semi-open world or with open world scenarios. But it is not that easy to learn how to play this games.

Casual gamers or even non-gamers, those who have never played a video game or those who have played a few, are not used to mechanics or things that hardcore and regular users do without even thinking. That’s why I think Limbo is an amazing game.

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Working and growing

This is one thought about my own experience around video games and psychology. But it isn’t something exclusive to this field. I think my opinions and thoughts can be applied in many other situations.

People change. In many ways and not always to good. But we change. As a psychologist, I’ve been told that nothing is black or white, and that we fluctuate, affected by the ones that surround us, by our feelings towards others and towards ourselves,… And when we change, we learn things. Some are sweet and full of colours, and others are dark and unpleasant.

And as we change in many fields of our lifes, we change our motivations & interests. And during my formation (which will never end), I’ve changed many times the objectives of my “future”life. But I’m in love. I’m in love with what I’m doing, with what I’m learning and with who I’m becoming.

But lately I’ve had a weird feeling. Like if something that I do, and I get payed for, does not longer give me any thing. And that made me think about the main theme of this post: growth. Continue reading “Working and growing”

For Honor Closed Beta

Few days ago I had the chance to play the closed beta of For Honor. Initially I had no intention of making a review or anything like that, but after answering Ubisoft’s user experience survey I thought it could be interesting to use this game as a way to talk about 2 really different things that deserve one or more solo posts for themselves: menus and online communities

Apart from game modes, champions, controls, rewards… I think these are two really important features to talk about from a psychological point of view. Both features are really different and can be approached from various psychology fields. Lets talk abour For Honor then!

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Left-handed players

Have you ever thought about how right-handed people rule this world? It may sound silly, but there are many differences between how lefties and righties live their lives. I can tell you some basic things that may ring a bell on you. Scissors, knifes (the cutting part tends to be on the left side), doors, TV switch buttons…

Yes, I am left-handed. And I could write a lot about things that annoy me because I feel are not designed for me (UX pls). But I am here to talk about Video Games. Few studies are directly talking about differences between laterality and its effect on playing a game.

Some games, as CoD, have the option of switching from right-handed to left-handed controls, and it’s (for me) a big relief. But you might ask why most of the lefties dont complaint about playing video games using controls designed for right-handed people. I think I might have the answer. Continue reading “Left-handed players”

Learning through Video Games

It may sound boring, tiring, and if you were born after the 90’s, familiar. Schools and educational systems are starting to include Video Games on the curriculum. And here I am, as a psychologist to show why we should help in the developement, implementation and analysis.

As most of us know, at least in Spain (my country), educational system is completely obsolete. There are many reasons that can explain this lack of utility of education. Youngsters are being taught like their parents were. And teachers are teaching the way they were taught. It looks like education is stucked in 1990, and more than 25 years have passed since then.

There have been many studies showing better ways to teach, to reach the interests of the students and showing how not everything that we were taught is useful now. If you talk with teachers they will tell you that it’s difficult for them to catch with the students, Continue reading “Learning through Video Games”

E-sports and psychology

It’s been some years since x-Peke and Fnatic won their first (and only) world championship, and yet many things have changed.

The number of people interested in e-sports is increasing, and because of this, the money and opportunities around e-sports are increasing too. Just to bring some facts, last year’s League of Legends (most played online videogame ever, with 100 million player monthly according to RIOT data) world championship had an audience peak of 14,700,000 viewers.

E-sports are still newbies, without many aknowledgement, and without a solid infrastructure behind them. But despite that, every year more and more people are gaining interest in e-sports, and just as the number of players is also growing, the number of viewers is too.

If you did not understand a single word of what I’ve said before, dont worry. There are pro players of many videogames, and there are teams, with sponsors (like Samsung, Asus,…), that have coaches, psychologists, and there’s a huge crowd of young and not so young people who watch them play, via twitch, youtube, or similar sites.

And yes, there are psychologists inside some teams. And coaches, which some of them have formation in psychology or skills related to psychology and its field of knowledge.

What can I do as a psychologist in the world of e-sports?

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Psychology and Video Games. Why?

This makes sense. What does psychology have to say about video games? And how can psychology be useful during the developement and analysis of a video game?

It’s not that easy to answer this question, because these two concepts (psychology and video games) have different origins and initially different objectives and have gone through a different transformation over the years.

What’s a video game? What does psychology mean? Where do these terms merge?

I dare to say that you have at least played a video game once. Parties, friends, boredom… it’s really easy to find a place and a moment to play. Candy crush, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Final Fantasy, the Legend of Zelda, Pong, Tetris… these names might ring a bell in you.

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