I was a presenter at BTS: A Global Interdisciplinary Conference Project in January 2020, where I shared “Hey ARMY, Play This: A Game Design Analysis of ARMYPEDIA.”
Minutes before the introduction to the Magic Shop concert described in part 2, as fans wait for the official livestream to begin, a different set of messages appear. The screen is framed by the title “Magical Inquiry” at the top and a footnote that reads “Make you Feel better Magical Healing Therapy.” The instrumental of “Magic Shop” plays in the background. A series of questions are revealed, slowly, one after the other. First, “What is your name?” Then, “How old are you?” It continues: “Where are you from? What is your interest? Who do you love the most? What is your favorite song? What is your dream? When is your happiest moment throughout the day? What is the most disturbing memory in your life? What is the most important memory in your life? What is the concern that you’d like to share? The magicshop is ready to hear them all.”
If BTS’ reason for being is to manifest positive change by comforting and healing their fans, this series of questions is a good illustration of how that magic works.
Read part 1 (Psychodrama) here.
A doorbell rings once, twice, three times. Text appears on a backdrop of what looks like a starry night sky. A soothing voiceover begins to read the words in English: “Welcome to the magicshop. Any worries you’d like to share? Any wish you’d like to make come true? The magicshop will be your guidance. But first, I will need your keys. Concentrate on opening the door to the magicshop. Keep calm and relax. Take a deep breath.” The soft background music transforms into a recognizable melody from the song “2! 3!” The voice continues: “Empty your minds and focus. Imagine a door leading to your minds. What you want the most stands behind that door. Just believe. And your magicshop will come true. Are you ready? I’ll show you.” The concert begins.
Welcome! Although I have previously written about games and psychology, I consider this my first blog post in a new series about the connections between my favorite topics: video games, positive psychology, and the pop artists BTS.
In May, I went to both nights of BTS’ Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour at the Rose Bowl. At the second show, in his speech before the final song, Kim Namjoon declared that “tonight, we are one.” It was absolutely true. In that moment, I felt that he was speaking directly to me, in a far-off section among tens of thousands of other fans in the stadium, while also knowing he was speaking directly to all of us.
One week later, I attended commencement with my family and classmates and officially earned my master’s degree. And yet, none of the speakers made me feel as understood and recognized and valued as I’d felt at the concert. I was struck by the contrast. As a celebration, there is no comparison, but the difference goes beyond which was more fun to attend. Why did I derive so much more meaning among a highly diverse crowd of strangers than from a ceremony that is supposed to speak directly to my experiences from the past two years?
Equipped with lingering online access to university library resources, I started to research the psychology of mattering. I quickly found that to understand anything about mattering is to understand something about meaning.
I was the research lead for a project by The Being Academy. I provided the designer with a perspective on positive psychology research and behavioral health interventions, and was also involved in playtest survey design.
I was the creative director and a designer, writer, and developer for this game that combined turn-based combat and narrative gameplay to explore the role of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
“A fun game for friends that leads to deep conversations.”
I contributed as a consultant on design and research-based positive interventions for this two-player mobile game in 2017-2018.
An exploration of research on avatars, possible selves, and how game design can positively impact players. (2016)
Continue reading “The Best Possible (Virtual) Self”