I’m not one to ask for help, even though I often need it. I know there are thousands like me out there, and I can’t help but feel like Kind Words, a letter sending game from developer PopCannibal is a beautiful tool for many that feel the same way.
Your character sits in a small room, at a desk ready to receive and send letters. They aren’t customizable but are very obviously inspired by the Youtube channel ‘ChilledCow’ which does the ‘lofi hip hop beats to chill to’ videos. Your room is customizable however, with a selection of stickers you can receive from those sending letters. It’s basic and chill… much like the music that plays as well, which is very much a part of the experience.
In Kind Words, you can send a letter out to the wild web and ask for advice on what’s worrying you. It could be as mundane as what TV show you feel everyone should be watching, or more serious, asking for tips on dealing with how depressed you’re feeling at the moment.
I spent an hour answering people’s letter’s and it’s a rather euphoric feeling. They say it feels good to give; to make people feel good will make you feel good, and it does. I don’t know for sure if anything I said helped anyone, but I honestly tried and felt good while doing it. The letters I answered ranged from how to deal with younger siblings being an annoyance to feeling like family members hate you for the way you laugh.
In one letter, someone expressed fear of coming out as gay to their religious family. I don’t know this person, and I can’t fully garner what this person’s position is from such a short anonymous letter, but as the title puts it — I can give Kind Words. I replied and told them they deserve to be happy and I would hope their family would love them no matter what. I ended the letter with a heart. I dunno if that’s THE BEST advice I could have given, but over my hour playing Kind Words I realised that as much as I wished for all the letters to contain more information with, to allow me to try and understand people’s situations better, I could always send some form of encouragement and hope that would help. And Kind Words is about common encouragement, not solving someone’s life problems over the internet in thirty-seconds.
The game offers links to Checkpoint as well as Lifeline numbers in the game’s menus and more helpful tools for those that may need them. Although I didn’t come across anyone expressing suicidal thoughts, it was on my mind as I clicked through the many letters and I felt better knowing these helpful resources were available within a couple of clicks.
Oddly, I didn’t come across any trolling either. You can report players and a game like this and its community will only be as good as the reporting and action from the developer, which based on my short time, is very good.
I sent out a letter expressing my frustrations about my day job and how it makes me feel. (Something I have expressed publicly before, and I’m happy to share here.)
“My job makes me sad and anxious and I have an irrational fear I’ll be stuck working there forever…”
Before long I had received ten responses, all of which were very kind. Some were shorter answers than others, but no one was mean or rude. And yes, reading through them certainly was a nice feeling.
Here are a few of the letters I received:
“Welp, Opinion if I were you I would quit the job and find another job that makes me happy.”
I know that feeling well. Sometimes we’re stuck somewhere out of necessity, but for now, find things that can take your mind off of work when you’re not there, a complete separation of work and home life. Maybe see if there are classes you can take in another subject that you make like to pursue, remember, having a job and money is great but our happiness and well being is the most important thing we have, take steps to make yourself happy
“I have never been good with jobs, I’m always rebel-rousing and hassling management when people aren’t treated fair, or if things seem needlessly bad I rattle cages. As a result, I get fired a lot. BUT! I’d say that one lesson I have is that you don’t have to stay there, obviously, there are some tricks to moving on, like living situation, pay, etc. But never let any job ever make you feel so down about yourself, you look out a window, look down the street, and you find someplace that won’t make you feel so bad. No money is worth that.”
The third feature in Kind Words is the ability to send some good karma out to the world. It’s like those inspirational quotes you see on Instagram pages but being sent out by real people playing this game who don’t have the ulterior motive of followers as those pages do. These messages just fly by you as paper planes around the small room your character sits in and you can click on them as they float by to see what they say.
I opened one and it simply read: