Innovation That Matters

Grieving game

Smartphone game helps bereaved young people cope with death


Game based on enchanting island has been designed to help families grieve and develop emotional resilience.

A smartphone game designed to help bereaved young people and their families has launched, receiving 40 percent of its GBP 30,000 crowdfunding target within 48 hours of sharing on platform Indiegogo. The game, Apart of Me, is a non-profit resource designed by a child psychotherapist and his London-based team at Bounce Works.

The game is based on an enchanted island, which acts as a safe space that the young person can explore whenever they want. The player is supported on the island by an Oracle, who acts as their wise guide. The game’s narrative is based on the hero’s journey and when the main character is experiencing a tragic event, the best way to grow from this is to learn certain skills that will allow the user to turn suffering into wisdom that can be shared with others. There are four zones to the game: The cave, which represents wisdom and is a mysterious place for catching fireflies, exploring emotions and hearing user stories from other young people; message in a bottle, representing connection, which encourages a bond and opening up to parents and close ones; the waterfall, where peace can be found; and perspectives on death, where the subject is openly explored.

Whilst interaction within the game is a key component of the experience, the game also contains intuitive mechanics encouraging young people to connect offline in meaningful ways with their families and friends, using the tools and skills they have acquired while playing. A core principle of the Bounce Works design philosophy is using digital technology to encourage face-to-face human connection.

There has been a spike in the use of gaming for medical and therapeutic purposes, with a virtual reality game helping Alzheimer’s research and a gaming system that helps boost the feel-good factor with exercise coming to the market in recent months. How have smartphone apps helped your wellbeing?




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