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    dkirschner's Apart of Me (iPd)

    [October 29, 2020 10:49:00 AM]
    Most students chose to play this for the assignment because it was free and accessible (they could play on their phones). Truly, no wonder mobile gaming is such a big industry. I give them options of much more "gamey" games and they all go for the free mobile game!

    Nevertheless, this was a cool experience. Apart of Me was designed specifically to help youth cope with loss. It's like a virtual guide through emotions and coping behaviors. It's set up, very basically, like an RPG/simulation and has strong Animal Crossing vibes. You land on an island and are greeted by The Guide who tells you to explore, meet the island's inhabitants, and do quests for them that will help you with your loss.

    Off you go exploring the little island. NPCs do give you quests (catch butterflies, explore a cave, etc.), and the reward is narrative or information about grief. For example, the first thing you do is explore a cave, wherein you have a sort of home, that contains stories of real people who have suffered loss. These stories are audio logs spoken by the survivor. You unlock more as you do more quests, and the idea is that you listen to these other young people talk about what it was like having their parent or whoever die, and you empathize and see similarities and differences in your own loss; you don't feel so alone.

    By the cave is a reflection pool and meditation rocks. It's calm, tranquil, and you can actually do some guided meditation there. Students reported very much enjoying that. Another NPC tasks you with capturing butterflies with a net (hello Animal Crossing!). You are supposed to return a butterfly to the NPC, who keeps them bottled up, but you accidentally release it. When you tell this to the NPC, they say something like "Ah well, it's probably better to release them than to keep them bottled up." The butterflies are different emotions; each one you catch tells you that what you're feeling (sadness, anger, loneliness, guilt, etc.) is normal and that it's okay to feel it. Again, very cool.

    There are a number of other things like the above, where good therapeutic information and advice on coping with loss is embedded into the game. The Guide even gives you exercises to take into the real world, such as writing down your best memories with the person you have lost (or sharing your favorite memories of them with another survivor). The one thing that I didn't like about this is that NPCs will repeatedly tell you that they know what you're going through, that other people have the same experiences of loss as you. This is not best practice for talking to survivors. All losses are experienced differently, despite similarities between them. If you tell someone whose mom has died, "I know how you feel," they will say or think, "You can't possibly know how this feels" because their mom was their mom and they had a relationship with her that you did not have. So, I'm not sure why this was included in the game. But, I will definitely use this one again next time, and if you're interested, it's totally worth 30 minutes of your time to see what it offers.
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    dkirschner's Apart of Me (iPd)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 18 October, 2020

    GameLog closed on: Monday 19 October, 2020

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Interesting game/virtual world not in and of itself but because it was specifically designed to help young people cope with grief and loss.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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