Game Experiences for Better Mental Well-Being - March 2018


At the GEMH Lab we love games as much as we love our work, and we often experience the effects of many different games as part of our research.  We felt like we should share some of the games we have played and what positive mental & emotional experiences we had while playing them. 


Adventure (Exploration)

  • MindLight (PC) - A 3D game that uses neurofeedback game mechanics to teach children methods to face and overcome their anxiety and fears.
  • Sky (Apple Store/ AppleTV) - Explore with a loved one through a desolate sky kingdom. Provides moments of empowerment through social support  
  • Journey (PS4/ PS3) - Travel through vast worlds facing challenges alone or with a stranger you meet along the way.  Overcome moments of rejection and anxiety to become more emotionally resilient 
  • Flower (PS4/ PS3/ Vita/ Apple Store) - Fly on the wind as a flower petal and make a barren land full of life.  Relaxing and meditative, getting immersed into the rhythm of the game can provide relief during episodes of anxiety and depression.
  • Abzu (PC/ PS4/ XBOne) - Freely explore a vast underwater environment restoring life using magical springs.  A relaxing and immersive experience that is a great escape for an active mind. 
  • Proteus (PC/ PS3/ Vita) - No instructions. No predetermined goals. An open-ended procedurally generated environment whose beautiful soundtrack changes depending on the player's movements and location.  A game of discovery and experimentation, recommended for training the curious mind,
  • Gone Home (Mac/ PC/ Linux/ PS4/ XBOne) - Examine objects around a house, discover clues and uncover the events of what happened in this family's home.  An interactive narrative exploration game, that encourages and rewards a growth mindset, by rewarding the process of finding answers rather than the actual answers.  
  • Lumini (Mac/ PC) - A relaxing flow adventure game where you control a school of fish and guide them to safety by keeping as much of the group together as possible.

Couch Co-Op

  • Overcooked (PC/ PS4/ XBOne) - A little chaotic co-op cooking game for one to four players. You have to work as a team to prepare, cook and serve meals.
  • Space Team (Google Play/ Apple Store) - A cooperative shouting game for phones and tablets. A fun social game that tests high stress communication.
  • ibb & obb (Mac/ PC/ Linux/ PS3) - A unique cooperative puzzle platformer where gravity goes both up and down.  Both local and online co-op where you succeed only by working together. 


  • Thomas was Alone (Mac/ PC/ PS4/ PS3/ Vita) - Control one or more simple shapes, using their unique abilities to aid the other shapes to their individual goal.  Combined with great writing and narration this colorful puzzle platformer surprisingly builds personal connections between simple shapes to weave an emotional narrative.
  • Talos Principle (Mac/ PC/ PS4) - Play as an android exploring the world and solving puzzles to progress in a philosophical storyline.  
  • LYNE (Mac/ PC/ Linux/ Google Play) -
  • Portal 2 (Mac/ PC) -
  • Monument Valley (Google Play/ Apple Store) - Solving seemingly impossible 3D puzzles by seeing the world through different angles.  Problem solving from new and unexpected perspectives helps shape a more resilient mind.
  • Dots & Co. (Google Play/ Apple Store) - A meditative puzzle game that requires more flexible insight as you go through the levels.




  • Everything (Mac/ PC) - An inspiring interactive experience and reality simulation game. You can be everything you see, from animals to planets to galaxies and beyond. Travel between outer and inner space and explore a universe of things.

Virtual Reality (VR)

  • DEEP (Oculus Rift/ HTC Vive) - Explore the serene world deep underwater.  A meditative VR game controlled by yogic breathing techniques that can alleviate stress, anxiety and mild depression.
  • Tilt Brush (Oculus Rift/ HTC Vive) - Unleash your creativity painting in a full life-size 3D virtual world. 
  • Lumen (HTC Vive) - Use gaze tracking to stimulate growth of an interactive bio-luminescent forest.  The experience is a self-guided, nonlinear meditation. 
  • Talos Principle (Oculus Rift/ HTC Vive) - see above in 'Puzzles'

We would love to hear what you think about our recommendations and/or tell us of any games you recommend that we may have missed.


Ken Koontz
Creative Director of GEMH Lab

GEEK, Game designer, artist, producer, anime and video game enthusiast, American football player, and as of recently a newb gardener. I'm pretty much always down for new ventures and experiences - O' ley do it!


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