May 25, 2012
by Jessica
1 Comment

Epic Win Friday! Talking to strangers, defeating self-destruction, and more!

Ready for some inspiration to take you into the weekend? Take a look at these Epic Wins completed by our players over the last couple weeks – including a big win by All-Star Charlie!

Charlie, All-Star (Epic Win: Have the confidence to talk to people at the next Local Game Developer Meet up):

“SHAZAM, I actually came through and did it. It took forever because there’s only one of these meet-ups a month, but I went tonight, and I have to admit at first I didn’t have as much courage as I thought I was going to have, but after I had a slice of pizza and a coke, I found someone sitting by themselves and started there, and just rolled with it meeting others.”

Jill (Epic Win: Age Gracefully): “In my ongoing Quest to Age Gracefully, I am embrassing less is more! Viva le Boheme!”

Melanie (Epic Win: Exercise a half hour a day, 30 days in a row): “I wish I could say that I feel amazing—that I feel like I can take over the world with my new found exercising abilities. Instead, I’m really afraid that I’ll be falling off the wagon. My next Epic Win is to work out 6 days a week for 3 months. I needed something to keep me on track. I feel tired going into that next challenge. But you know what? I’ve come this far, and I can keep going. I do feel proud. Stronger. More peaceful. I know I can hit my next Epic Win. “

Anne (Epic Win: Go 21 consecutive (or near-consecutive) days without self-destructive ideation, by June 3): “It’s lovely going 3 weeks without any of the usual, daily “black hell” between the ears.”

Alison (Epic Win: Meditate 10 times by this Friday!): “This is a baby epic win- my first. I feel pretty humbled that it was such a challenge. I just managed to meditate almost regularly for a couple of weeks. I still have a way to go on my adventure but it feels good to have made a start. “

John (Epic Win: Learn Mood For A Day by YES): “I NEVER thought I’d be able to learn to play Mood For A Day by YES!! Seemed outta my league. But doing it little by little, and not getting frustrated kept me going. Staying positive and on track is the key.”

Olga-Maria (Epic Win: Fly to fl & drive tampa w/o panicking): “i am feeling great–definitely feeling superbetter. my highs stay steady & my lows are so much higher than they have ever been. my allies are great, and everything about sb has been helpful. now i feel like the bad guys are easier and easier to avoid, the power ups are more and more second nature, and the other habits of action, thought, and feeling that i’ve build through this program have really paid off. i am more resilient and i also am more compassionate with myself and others. thank you so much for all of this help, everyone. i really believe in this program & am excited to share it with my doctor, as i already have with my friends.”


Congratulations to Charlie, Jill, Melanie, Anne, Alison, John, and Olga-Maria! If you’d like to see your Epic Win on the SuperBetter blog, please be sure to mark “Share this win with others” when you accomplish it!

May 24, 2012
by Jessica

A whole host of updates!

Happy Thursday, Heroes! Check out this list of updates and fixes that we have pushed out over the last week to improve your SuperBetter experience:

  1. Display player’s current avatar and “display name” in activity stream.
  2. Consistently use hero secret identity when displaying player’s “name” on the game site (Note: The SuperBetter forums are a different system, so this does not apply there.)
  3. Fix the to do list. Quests performed today will be displayed in the to-do list grayed and crossed out. The quest list will be reset at beginning of each day.
  4. Quests performed today will also remain in the quest list and appear grayed out. Status of quest will be either “Completed” or “Done Today.” Completed quests will be removed from the list at the start of the next day.
  5. Alliances may be deleted by heroes. The standard OK/Cancel box will be displayed with the prompt “Are you sure you want to remove this ally?”
  6. Hero can edit ally mission.
  7. Set length of hero notes to 6000 characters.
  8. Set length of invitation message to 2000 characters
  9. Change hero note and invitation message to to allow for longer notes/messages if needed.
  10. Set max lengths on hero note and invitation message entry fields to avoid issue with notes/messages being truncated. Will add character counters in near future.

Please let us know if you experience any difficulty with any of these fixes!

May 18, 2012
by Jessica

Digital Boogie – What’s your Power Song?

We asked the All-Stars to give us something to get us moving this Friday by staring their Week 6 videos with a lip sync to their favorite songs. And it’s a good thing the All-Stars are awesome people who don’t mind being silly for the sake of science, because they actually did it. They’re helping us form an epic playlist full of inspiring, get-up-and-take-on-the-world songs, for which we want your suggestions too! Leave them in the comments or hit us up on Twitter to share your favorite power song, and we’ll add them to a YouTube playlist.


Charlie: “My Way” by I Fight Dragons

Jamie: “Back in Black” by AC/DC

Eric: “Catch” by Kosheen

Meg: “Let’s Hear it for Me” by Barbara Streisand – ACTUALLY SINGING, YOU HAVE TO HEAR THIS!


Watch the rest of the All-Stars’ Week 6 videos and check out their past stories!

May 14, 2012
by Jessica
1 Comment

Chelsea Howe, one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business

…and she’s ours! Chelsea is SuperBetter Labs’ Director of Design (you can read about her and her approach to design in SuperBetter here), and she was named today to Fast Company’s list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. Each year, Fast Company recognizes innovators who “dare to think differently.” These people are the ones taking risks and discovering surprising new solutions to old problems.” In the magazine’s profile of Chelsea, you’ll learn what she thinks is most important for the future of gaming, how she gets inspired, and what other businesspeople can learn from games. Follow the link for an advance preview – the issue hits stands May 22!

May 11, 2012
by Jessica

Epic Win Friday! A 20-mile walk for hunger and more

The last few weeks have brought some really incredible wins for our players. Check out a few of their accomplishments below, including a huge win by All-Star Meg and one by special player Mia Quinn!

Meg, All-Star (Epic Win: walk 20 miles in the Walk for Hunger on May 6th):

“Until I started walking, I would have told you that there was no way I could ever walk 20 miles in a day. Until mile 5, I would have told you that I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend my day walking. Until mile 9.5, I would have told you that the only reason I was walking was that there were other people walking with me. Until mile 11.5, I would have told you that the only reason I was walking was prove I could go farther than the one other teammate remaining. Until mile 14, I would have told you that mind was a complete blank. Until mile 16, I would have told you that my legs were going to cramp up too badly for me to finish. Until mile 17, I would have told you that the drums in my head were the only thing keeping me going. Until mile 18, I would have told you that I was stuck in a time loop and wasn’t really getting anywhere. Until mile 19, I would have told you that I had no idea why I was still going. Until mile 20, I would have told you that there was absolutely no way I could walk 20 miles. At mile 20, my life changed.”

Mia Quinn (Epic Win: wipe out social anxiety): “This past month I have done a lot to break down my social anxiety and really get myself out there. I have gotten closer with three great friends in my life and am making more efforts to make my connections stronger with people. I am really looking forward to keeping this up!”

Ryan G. (Epic Win: enjoy time with my children): “It’s amazing how little changes have afforded me quality time and future goals with my son!”

Andy T. (Epic Win: lower my cholesterol and reduce the risk of a heart attack): “I feel that i have shown great discipline and I am very pleased with myself. I would have liked to have shared it with many more Allies!”

Jenny F. (Epic Win: reach 179 lbs): “Just broke the 180 barrier and it feels good! No plans to get back up there again.”

Irena V. (Epic Win: take advantage of every day): “Oh, wow. It just were about noticing all the awesome people around me. I regained my self-esteem and started to be proactive. :)”


Congratulations Meg, Mia, Ryan, Andy, Jenny, and Irena! If you’d like to see your Epic Win on the SuperBetter blog, please be sure to mark “Share this win with others” when you accomplish it!


May 4, 2012
by Jessica

All-Star Videos: Epic wins achieved, new allies, and SuperBetter confidence!

It’s Week 6 for the All-Stars, and they’re prepping a pretty awesome round of videos to bring their journeys home. In the meantime, we’ve got Week 5 videos to share with you, wherein a couple of our All-Stars celebrate their epic wins, and others explain how SuperBetter is reaching beyond their challenges to change other aspects of their lives. Watch on!


Courtney: Playful success and new allies

Eric: Epic Win celebration!

Deborah: Beyond sleeping, getting more confident in life

Charlie: DING DING! Power ups on the brain


Watch the rest of the All-Stars’ Week 5 videos and check out their past stories!

May 2, 2012
by Jessica

Gratitude is contagious! Oprah’s Thank You Game

The office is buzzing here at SuperBetter Labs! We’re SOOOO excited and we want you to know why:

Jane, Chelsea, and other members of our team have collaborated with Oprah Winfrey to create a gratitude game with the power to take over the world literally! We’re going to use Oprah’s Thank You Game to thank THE ENTIRE US and CANADA in the next month. It’s amazing. Already, just over 36 hours after the game went public, more than 2.4 million people across the world have been thanked. Read our press release officially launching the Thank You Game

We have chills. We can’t stop smiling. And we want you to be a part of it!

All you have to do is say Thank You and hit the Thank You Button. Then watch your Thank You spread through your community and across the map. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s positively addictive—trust us, we check the map every day and squeal with delight as different countries light up!

On that note, I want to thank you, dear SuperBetter Heroes, for being such brave and willing pioneers. You’re willing to play and you keep showing up. That’s the greatest gift you could have ever given me. You make my journey as a creator and writer of PowerPacks possible. Without your willingness, I couldn’t do my job. And wow, would I be missing out without SuperBetter in my life! Thank you for showing up.


Bez Maxwell is a Power Pack writer for SuperBetter and overall creative extraordinaire! She writes for the entire SuperBetter team when she says thank you to our heroes – we could never do this without you!


April 27, 2012
by Jessica

Epic Win Friday! Weight loss, new job, bellydancing, and more!

SuperBetter players are continuing to rock the world with their incredible epic wins. Check out these successes from our players from the last couple weeks!

Misty (Epic Win: Down to 155): “Today I actually went PAST my epic win by .4 pounds. The challenge is the yo yo… NOT to go back up! I didn’t do anything drastic… just exercised moderately (walking A LOT) and eating better (following my Weight Watchers points). My epic win was originally my final goal…. but it was getting discouraging. So, I changed it to baby steps….. smaller goals I could actually meet. Now I’m resetting it to the second baby step….. I hope to achieve it soon! THANKS SUPER BETTER!!!”

Zoe (Epic Win: Get a job!): “I am so happy right now, there are little uncontrollable “yip”s of happiness exploding out of me at regular intervals. I have found a job that will keep our house safe, mentally stimulate me, put me in close proximity to cool and inspiring people, and get my foot in the door in the field I want to make my career in. AND NOT ONLY THAT… but it has the potential to move me into a work-from-anywhere kind of job, in a field where I can be -very- well paid to do my work from a beach in Laos, or from bed. AHHHHHHHHH! I don’t expect this to fix everything – I feel like I am making progress, but I’m still in the process of forming the habits that are going to help me stay Superbetter. But today is definitely a good day. :D:D:D”

Eric (Epic Win: Get back to my workout routine): “Awesome!! I’m still working on chronic pain issues, but I’ve gotten back to my workout routine, getting up early each morning to put in the work. The next step is consistency, and ramping up the intensity. One of my key goals is to undertake and then complete the P90X program. I need to vanquish tendonitic overuse issues in order to do that. I also need to rehab my knee. I’m finding the strength to tackle these goals–one step at a time, while improving myself in other ways all the time. Thanks Superbetter!”

Mike (Epic Win: Be healthier): “I feel confident. I feel like I am not only going to be able to work hard for my goals, but also I am capable to go the extra mile past my goal.”

Nick (Epic Win: Quit smoking): “I’ve done it before, and I knew I could do it again. I’m not out of the woods yet, but the first step is the hardest. Giving up smoking is the first step in finding healthy and positive ways to deal with my stress.”

Dancer Mohana (Epic Win: Effortlessly bellydance a 1 hour set! Key word is “effortlessly”. I can already belly dance, but I want to dance without getting fatigued and sweaty!): “I’m not sure why it’s saying I accomplished my epic win already when I didn’t. I want to dance/perform effortlessly for at least 1/2 hour without huffing-puffing, panting, and sweating buckets. That hasn’t happened yet. I do practice for 1/2 hour or more which is good, but that is less tiring then performing. Either way, I did do well at dance practice today so, yay!”


Congratulations Misty, Zoe, Eric, Mike, Nick, and Mohana! If you’d like to see your Epic Win on the SuperBetter blog, please be sure to mark Share this win with others when you accomplish it!

April 24, 2012
by Chelsea
1 Comment

Meet Chelsea: The Game Design in SuperBetter

Chelsea HoweChelsea likes making games that make a difference. At Zynga she designed and analyzed features that touched tens of millions of people on FarmVille, and at SuperBetter Labs she’s using research on positive emotion and social connection to make those touches more powerful, evocative, and meaningful. By night Chelsea designs award-winning indie games like The End of Us and Influence, runs the San Francisco Global Game Jam, and works with developers at Cornell University on experimental gameplay demos and youth outreach, all without a bat signal.

The Game Design Behind SuperBetter

For SuperBetter I wanted to bring that sense of delight and curiosity to the game – to get the most engaging experience for the greatest amount of players. Here are three places in particular where game design triumphed:

Welcome to SuperBetter
The first taste players get of SuperBetter is four quick, simple things you can do just about anywhere in under five minutes. Each activity boosts a different type of resilience, so that not only do you understand what SuperBetter’s about, you actually feel better after you’ve played.

The Game Design Deep Dive: Conveying a message to players is what all serious games try to do, but most try and do it through content – the text, characters, storyline, setting, art, or audio. None of those elements are unique to games, and usually fail to utilize the most powerful part of games: the systems that players naturally learn and discover as they play. By getting players to take actions that have been proven to increase resilience, we were teaching them the heart of SuperBetter – and doing it all with nothing more than gameplay.

Freedom to Leave
Some game companies pride themselves on making games that are ‘addictive’ – but if you look at what addiction actually is, it’s nothing to be proud of. We didn’t want players to be worried about the game when they were offline. We didn’t want to negatively affect their lives outside the game – that goes against everything SuperBetter is. You shouldn’t have to be anxious about losing points, progress, or missing opportunities just because you need to live your life. That’s why SuperBetter recommends a simple, lightweight amount of play a day: complete any scheduled quests you have, activate three power-ups, and battle a bad guy. That’s it! Then you can get offline without worrying about anything else; you’re free to leave.

The Game Design Deep Dive: When we are worried or anxious about a game even when we’re not playing, it’s no longer a game. Obligation terminates one of the core components of a game: that it is intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation means you’re doing something because you want to do it, not because you have to. The moment you have to do something, or feel like you should, is when a game becomes a chore. (This is why most gamification doesn’t work – people are using game mechanics to make you do things you don’t already want to do. It might work briefly, but it will never be a functional long term solution!)

Power Pack Journeys
Power Packs are at the heart of what it means to live a SuperBetter life. A Power Pack creates a series of quests that should take the average player two to six weeks to complete. We like to think of Power Pack as ways to form specific habits, or complete a short term goal. When you’ve mastered a Power Pack, you’ve adopted a mindset that’ll help you lead a stronger life.

The Game Design Deep Dive: Power Packs are the backbone of SuperBetter: they’re guided journeys that give players a clear sense of progress, a tangible destination, and every step in between. Even if the Power Pack doesn’t match up exactly with your goal, it’s a way to know you’re on the right track. There’s also the ability to fail in Power Packs: quests have a recommended completion schedule – 3 times a week for 3 weeks, for instance. You can still unlock the next quest if you finish 9 times, but you’ve only mastered the quest if you do it within the three week period. Grouping Power Packs also gives players a sense of a broader journey – they can master all of our resilience Power Packs, all of our healthy eating Power Packs, or the summer adventure Power Packs. This lets players customize their experience, mix and matching a unique path towards their best vision of themselves.