Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming

Steam Games: Kind Words

I saw that Bel at Tales of the Aggronaut also wrote about this “game” today, but I haven’t read his post yet. I wanted to come at my own post with fresh thoughts first. Still, I’m glad to see other people picking it up in the blogosphere!

I first heard about this on Friday night from a Kotaku article. I don’t usually jump right out there and buy a game on impulse these days. And I even hesitated on this one before I picked it up.

Then I took the plunge, and I’m glad I did. For $5, Kind Words on Steam is totally worth it.

What Is Kind Words?

I hesitate to call it a game. It’s more of a social interaction platform for giving and receiving support and good vibes.

Everything you do is completely anonymous – interactions are only signed with the user’s first initial. And there’s no back and forth in this, so it’s not meant to be a conversation or a dialogue.

To break it down in simplest terms, you read “requests” which are short notes sent by other players. You choose whether to reply to those posts. The idea is to comfort the person, answer questions, give advice, or just let them know they’re not alone.

I’m giving advice to someone who gets overwhelmed with completing tasks.

You do all of this in a quiet, comfortable virtual environment that takes place in a single room with chill music playing in the background. Each day you participate, you unlock new songs to add to your virtual playlist.

When someone gets your response, they can thank you by sending you a collectible sticker. This sticker is an object that you can place as decoration in your room. You can also put them on your letters and share them as thanks to responses to your own requests. It’s a neat little collection meta-game, but not the central point in any way.

When you’re not reading or responding, you can chill out in your room. From time to time, paper airplanes fly across your screen that you can click on. These carry real time encouragement and messages from other players. I was surprised at how downright wholesome and thoughtful some of these could be!

A deep message from a paper airplane

You can send your own paper airplanes with quotes, good wishes, good vibes, whatever you want to say to people. It’s a nice place to find a pick-me-up if you’re feeling a bit bummed and just need to hear something pleasant.

I passed this game along to my sister and brother-in-law, and they were (as I expected) right on the ball in answering questions and sending out their own prompts. Rather than send requests about worries and concerns, I like to send questions in the disguise of looking for advice.

“When you need to concentrate on getting something done, what kind of music do you listen to? I’m open to suggestions!”

Things like that. It gets people talking and responding about something positive that they enjoy, and it actually does get a number of replies! I figure that’s within the realm of what requests can be used for, because who doesn’t get some good feelings from listing their favorite books, or music or talking about how they first started gaming?

Anyhow, I spent way more time in Kind Words over the weekend than I have any other Steam game I can think of recently. I’ve made it a point to check in for a bit every day, answer a few requests and bask in the good vibes.

I think it’s a neat little social platform, a cool experiment, and so far, I haven’t run across anyone trying to spoil things for others. If you’re curious about the game, and it sounds like something interesting in any way, give it a go and brighten someone’s day.

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Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

9 thoughts on “Steam Games: Kind Words

  1. I’ll definitely pick it up. I just read the post by Bel and now also finished yours and am quite overwhelmed that you both had only warm and nice comments. It seems to be interesting, so… I’ll jump into right away.
    Here’s a paper plane from me: Thanks for your post, Aywren! It’s always nice to read your stuff here! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you!

      It sounds like this game might be something you’d enjoy! I’m glad to have been part of the encouragement that got you on board. The world needs more positive vibes out there, and I’m sure you’ve got some great thoughts to share. I’d love to see your post about it if you try it out and have some thoughts to add! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The developer interview I linked in Bel’s comment thread discusses the way they plan on handling people who don’t use the game in the spirit in which it’s intended:

    “Right now, Kind Words still has a fairly small community of about 3000 users, of which Scott says he has had to ban around 12 total. The game has a report function, and all reports go straight to Scott’s inbox, where he then deals with them personally by either issuing warnings or bans, including personalized notes explaining why the person has been banned. Most bans so far have been issued to people who simply showed up to troll, while warnings are reserved more for misunderstandings, such as (per Scott’s example) someone who posted a link to a Discord community they made to talk about the game.”

    I’m not sure how that’s going to work out if Kind Words blows up and the 3000 turn into 300,000. There are plans for that, though:

    “Scott says he’s working on improved moderation tools before the Steam release expands its audience. That includes an auto-moderator that can suspend posts that receive too many reports until Scott can look them over, as well as extra features to cut what Scott refers to as “noise” from well-meaning people who misunderstand the point of the game.”

    There are also design safeguards, though, which I think are likely to make the environment quite unappealing to trolls:

    “The flow of conversation goes: request, reply, and then a sticker is ‘thanks.’ No other words. In this way, no troll, no insult ever gets a rise from a victim. No one can ever get that satisfaction of having upset someone if that’s what they’re trying to do.””

    That cleverly automates the advice that’s always been the best answer to trolling: ignore them!

    It’s a very interesting interview and it sounds like a very interesting “game”. I have it wishlisted but I’m wary of the abilty it seems to have to eat up time so I’m not going to try it just yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very good info to have! Thanks for taking the time to round it up and drop it here. I kinda felt like it was hand moderated right now, but also worried about what happens when it gets too large for that. Seems like he’s thinking it through.

      Like

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