Author: Jessica Marsh

E3 2017: Microsoft E3 2017 Press Conference Round-Up

Quite unsurprisingly, when Microsoft kicked off their Press Release at E3 2017, the first announcement was the launch of the new Xbox One X. With no other console rumours on the horizon, they were pretty sure this would impress, and it did. Boasting the smallest and most powerful console in existence, the One X is liquid cooled, the first console to do so, and true 4k. And with the console launch price on par with the Xbox One and Xbox One S at US $499, it looks like Microsoft has found their sweet spot. And that’s not all, while...

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CheckPoint Kickstarter LAUNCHED: Tackling Mental Health Issues with Video Games!

When I met with Jane Cocks, co-founder of CheckPoint, at Pax Australia last year the not-for-profit was only a few months old. Who knew that six months later CheckPoint would be launching a fantastic new Kickstarter aiming at bringing to life one of their core messages: to universally improve understanding of the interactions between videogames and mental health. Three days ago, they launched their Kickstarter campaign for a high quality, 16-episode webseries that aims to help people with mental health issues using the power of video games. Looking to raise AU$55,000, they’re already almost a third of the way there. The...

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How Video Games Saved My Life and Made Me Who I Am

In September 2015 I was supposed to be married. But by the end of 2014 I realised that I had begun to fall out of love with my fiancé. There was no drama behind it.  The relationship had simply run its course. But we both were in denial. In June that year, just before we split up we got an apartment and even though we weren’t together we thought we could make it work. We were both dealing with the reality of our failed engagement, we couldn’t draw a line between our friendship and our old relationship. We were...

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7 Plant Based Apps to Get You Through Winter

And not in a prophetic way. The winter season is almost upon us and with that comes cold, damp and snow. While the holiday season lends a brightness and a fanstastical counterpoint to the dreary weather outside, the winter blues can still set in. The weather unfortunately can affect our moods in a big way. The best way to cope according to research is sunlight, but in the midst of a four day rain, or a heavy blizzard, there’s not much sunlight to be found. Plants have also been found to be calming on the psyche and boost productivity. And...

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Checking in with CheckPoint: A Brand New Non-Profit Promoting Game Therapy for Mental Health and Well Being

Gaming for mental health is a burgeoning field. Many people will tell you that they have found solace in gaming while going through a hard time, or that when they’re feeling overwhelmed there’s a certain game they turn to to help them through. But more and more there is gathering evidence that gaming for mental health is psychologically sound. And there are a few groups cropping up that are bringing together these evidence based studies, and providing safe spaces and resources for health practitioners, game developers and gamers alike. One such group is the brand new, Australian based, not...

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PAX Aus Wrap Up: Why Are Conventions So Crucial To Geek Culture?

PAX Aus finished on Sunday, and it was definitely a memorable event. For three days people from all over Australia, New Zealand and beyond lived their passions. There were professional level cosplayers, streamers, e-sports teams, video game and tabletop developers, comedians, musicians, mental health professionals, and people who just wanted to have a good time. And in all of that, amongst all of those people, there was very little judgement. When it comes to its demographic, PAX is seemingly more acutely aware of who they cater for than any other convention in Australia. With the Diversity lounge, and the...

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PAX AUSTRALIA: Playing On Hard Mode: The Psychology Of Dark Souls

The one thing everyone knows about the Dark Souls series is that it’s difficult. This game is brutal, and the world you find yourself in wants to kill you, but the game itself desperately wants you to succeed. It knows that you are better than you think you are. That you can do this. There is no way to tailor difficulty, except for weapon and armour choices, so everyone has the same starting point. You learn to play the game by, well, playing the game. Hiding, avoidance, protecting yourself isn’t at all frowned upon, it may be the only way...

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10 (and a Sequel) Mobile Games to Get You Out of Your Head

Life is a fun ride, but sometimes when things get difficult you can dwell on what’s getting you down. Breaking that negative feedback cycle can be a hard task, and we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the thoughts in our own head. Have a look at this video from Headspace. It explains things pretty well. Lengthy gaming sessions with your friends, or sinking two hundred hours into The Witcher III are perfect ways to get through, but when you’re at work, on public transport or at a social event, that kind of gaming isn’t exactly feasible. Fortunately mobile games...

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5 Reasons You Should Be Playing Co-Op Video Games

In today’s demanding lifestyle we are constantly challenged to balance ourselves. Work life against social life, personal obligations against entertainment, responsibility against relaxation. So it can be hard to find time to stay in touch with the people we love and not let ourselves lose that all important connectivity. During John Hari’s research into his book Chasing The Scream he really looked into the Rat Park experiment and applied it to his research, specifically Vietnam Vets. It has been found, surprisingly that the addictions they faced while on tour were counterbalanced not by restriction, but by connection. This animated video...

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Let’s Play ‘Flower’, From the Makers of ‘fl0w’ and ‘Journey’

Author: Jessica Marsh This is not a review but rather an anecdotal reflection on the power of video games. A written ‘Let’s Play’ if you will.  Spoilers for the game below. There are few games as moving as Flower, few that so quietly take you on a journey of self and prove how important the power of one is. And few that remind you just how much you matter. When I first picked up Flower, I expected a relaxing simulation much like fl0w. A meditative experience with no real consequences and a peaceful heart. What I did not expect, however, was that...

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