Faces of DEEP


DEEP is an award-winning virtual reality game developed by Owen Harris (lead designer) and Niki Smit (artist). DEEP transports players to a fantastical underwater world with just one directive: this is your world to explore. Assuming a first-person perspective, the player is engulfed in a deep, calming blue, rays of light penetrate the waters, plankton abounds, schools of fish-like creatures traverse the world leaving streaks of blue light in their wake. DEEP features everything from wide open spaces to claustrophobic canyons, and almost anywhere the player looks, there is something sparkling off in the distance to capture their attention and imagination.

But what makes DEEP truly special – and the reason for our interest in the game as psychological scientists – is that the game utilizes the player’s breathing for how it plays. So in addition to donning an Oculus Rift, players are equipped with a breathing monitor – a band with an elastic center which is fastened around the player’s belly. DEEP wants players to practice deep breathing, breathing in and out of their bellies. So when in DEEP, a deep and sustained inhale which floods the player’s belly with air, stretches the elastic band in the real world, and helps elevate the players within DEEP as if the air boosts their buoyancy. For players who really want to discover DEEP, sustaining a consistent pattern of such deep breathing is essential, because the game exerts a slight force on players which slowly drags them downwards to the ocean floor. So to overcome this force, healthy breathing is paramount.


Joy. Simultaneously, Shared, Vicarious, and Individual.



Wonder (left), and Control (right)

Marieke Photobomb



Help from Mommy




Radio 1 Interview



Interview for NOS Jeugd Journaal




User Research Analyst at Ubisoft Montréal. My favorite games tell emotionally rich stories and challenge me to think differently


More updates

We'd like to hear from you,
to build a better community