We don't play games in isolation. Part of the joy and benefit of play is that it embeds itself in our lives and relates to other activities we are enjoying. The benefits we get accumulates and evolves from game to game to game.
We have recorded (23) Game Pathways that document these journeys through video games to uncover real experiences children are having with the games they play. They are created from interviews with real families, teachers and professionals who have found games lead to positive outcomes in their lives.
Each Game Pathway focuses on a tangible outcome, and then tracks the Milestones that contributed to it. For each milestone we record the Game, Style of Play and Platform. This creates a context where we can document the following:
- Activities: The related activities that contributed to the experience of the game and were inspired by it after playing. Things like craft, trips, videos, books, toys, music, clubs and so on.
- Transformations: How the player was changed by playing the game (knowledge, skills, beliefs, disposition, identity and so on).
These relate to games that engage the player with a particular career or role. Some of these are games that let you try out a specific job, others let you dip your tow in a variety of roles. They are a great way to see what works for you and find inspiration for the future.
These relate to games that focus on the connection between people and communities. This highlight different ways that games can connect us with existing friends, as well as being a place to make new connections.
These relate to games with different educational benefits. Along with games that are designed to be educational, this includes games that can inspire learning and knowledge because of the worlds and stories they create. The collateral learning uncovered here is a glimpse into the ways games can help children learn about themselves, their community and the world.
These relate to games that help us understand ourselves and our place in the world. This uncovers the important identity work that players are often doing in the games they play. Dress-up and role-play in the play room, video games offer a chance for us to be someone else for a while. Building understanding and compassion for ourselves and others.
These are games that are helpful for mental health. This includes games that have been helpful for specific mental health challenges, as well as games that help us understand the challenge faced by the people we love. Some of these are designed to be used as a source of games that offer wellbeing in different ways.