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    • Please join me in welcoming Ches Hall, the creator of the Plus 7 Intelligence Podcast.

      A bit about you, Ches: You list your bio as being “simply a guy who loves video games and board games. But instead of being content with the idea that my gaming habit held me back, I set out to find what value games bring. Now, I want to share what I have found with everyone else. Outside of playing and writing about video games, I engineer stuff at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and attempt to convince my wife and kids that I am not a dork.”

      A bit about Plus 7 Intelligence. The podcast about how games impact people! It is a podcast where each episode features conversations with a guest who digs deep into the potential of games. Game designers, psychologists, scientists, and everyday gamers hold surprising truths about how games invigorate players. Beyond the news and reviews of a typical podcast, we seek answers to our deepest questions about the intersection of life and gaming. Season 2 focuses on mental health, education, and social change!

      Welcome Ches!

    • I was wondering about what my years of gaming really meant about me as a person. so many people had said that it was a waste of time, but I began to find so many amazing benefits that games could have. I realized that society was wrong about games. Not only that, but they were wrong in a way that hurt the self-esteem of gamers like myself.
      So I set out to find people who could truly answer what the affect games was on the world.

    • So you’ve been doing +7 for nearly 2 years, since July 2017 - congratulations on the show’s success. What kind of feedback do you get from your listeners and friends?

    • Thanks for the praise. I've been fortunate to have many opportunities and support that most shows don't get.

      The overwhelming feedback I get from listeners is that they are so grateful to have a show that takes games seriously and positively. Most shows are either completely in the gaming bubble. And outside that bubble is a lot of misinformation and blame.

      so on my show you hear things you don't hear anywhere else.

    • Videogames and gaming play such a huge role in many peoples’ lives, but it’s rare to find a place to discuss the impact, design, social effects, and more around the field. How do you identify the guests for your show?

    • At the beginning, I wanted guests who would be able to surprise non-gamers with a new perspective.
      But by going down the rabbit-hole, I realized that there was so much more to gaming than even I thought. So my new mission was to find guests who wouldn't just surprise non-gamers, but astound even veteran gamers with how impactful games could be.

      The critical piece that I look for in a guest is how they can speak to a tangible way that the world is different because of games - because of the joy they bring and because of the way they challenge us to grow.

    • For those who may not be subscribers or just interested in getting started with listening to +7, what are some episodes you’d recommend they get started with?

    • My episode with Z Yang is a fantastic place to start. His story of games helping him stay connected and hopeful through a difficult time of his life is inspiring. And since then he has gone on to found a studio all about making meaningful games . That's Season 1 Episode 5.

      Another great place to start is by listening to Dr. Jennifer Hazel recount why she, as a psychiatric doctor, started an organization about addressing mental health issues and wellness with video games. That's Season 2, Episode 1.

      Those are great choices, but I try to make every episode accessible, so feel free to jump in wherever you find a topic that interests you!

    • You’ve interviewed some individuals who’ve helped spearhead a lot of discussion online, such as Cam Adair. What sort of responses did you receive from this episode?

    • For those who don't know, Cam Adair heads GameQuitters, an organization that provides support for gaming addicts and promotes awareness of the potential dangers of games on having a healthy lifestyle.
      To fans of games, even the concept of gaming addiction can be controversial.
      Oddly enough, while I expected that episode to turn into a debate, Cam and I seemed to have so much in common that our differences didn't seem as important to talk about. We mostly talked about our desire for gamers to lead the lives they want, free of whatever was holding them back - and that the role of gaming in their lives was something to be introspective about.
      That is one of the magical things about having a show where I get to talk to people from all walks of life.

      The feedback from that show was exclusively positive - most grateful for having a different perspective represented.

      That was Season 2 Episode 3.

      The most controversial feedback I received an an episode was where I asked some questions about the financial relationship that some game publishers have to weapons manufacturers. I got a review calling my show "propaganda." I'm quite proud of that.

    • Plus 7 helps share stories of games for good - education, for instance, as highlighted in your episode with ICivics: Games, or fitness, as in your episode with Side Quest Fitness! What are some other recurring themes that you feature?

    • Games + psychology is an undercurrent of the entire show. Nearly every episode has something to do with it since we are starting to understand so much better how games affect us. This manifests in a lot of ways, particularly in the area of mental health.

      Games have been associated with poor mental health for a long time. But now that people are abandoning stereotypes and using science, the multitude of benefits of gaming for your mental health are astounding: helping everyday people manage their mood, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression, providing solace in the face of loss, and even being prescribed by counselors as a part of treatment. It's truly astonishing.

      I did a whole series on Games + Mental Health for Season 2. Even Season 1 had a bunch of episodes about it.

      I also like talking about how games lead to unusual careers (like a virtual archaeologist), or how people use skills/attitudes learned in video games in their real lives.

    • Yes! I see listeners getting in touch with charities and organizations and it warms my heart.

      Take This is a great example, they have been pioneers for lots of people to get a better handle on their own mental health and to support people around them in the gaming community.

      This last season in particular has had me featuring a lot of non-profits. This show not only allows me to chat with some of the people I most admire, but I get a chance to support them by echoing their message. It is very fulfilling to be able to contribute to so many different causes, when I definitely couldn't do so with my wallet. And it gives an added purpose to growing the show.

      I am especially proud when I get to introduce one of my guests to the work of another guest, to see those worlds collide and combine. Since gamers often feel alone, there are so many people working out there with similar goals and passions who haven't found each other yet. it's great to be the bridge.

    • You often mention during your show the versatility of game theory. What are some applications you hope to see that you haven’t come across yet in your show?

    • There is so much to talk about that I haven't covered yet or only with a glancing blow.

      Games + . . .

      Business

      Music

      Politics

      Art/literature

      Futurism

      Economics

      Parenting

      Military

      Just to name a few off the top of my head.

      The opportunities are boundless - that's not an exaggeration. We've already talked about how games have addressed grief, genocide, identity - in the most unlikely places imaginable, games are making a difference.

      I'd love to cover more personal stories, as well. Luckily, there are great shows like Heavily Pixelated that are already doing a fantastic job on that front.

    • The Games + Education series still has a ways to go, so look forward to more episodes on that in the coming weeks.

      After that . . .

      Honestly, my guests this season have been so incredible, that I'm still working on exactly how best to follow the act. I've been fortunate enough to be able to go through most of my "dream guests" already!

      But in the process of making the show, I discover so much that I'll never run out of incredible gamers to talk to.

      You can expect some more deep dives with focused series, since this allows me to dig deeper than other shows can.

      And expect to see the show in more places with new partnerships. When I started the show, it was just a crazy idea. But now it is something that is resonating with people, so growth and expansion is what needs to happen.

    • Even if you don't know how podcasts work, my website will let you listen to every episode on desktop or mobile. That is simply plus7intelligence.com

      You may not know it, but if you have an Apple device or Spotify, you already have a way to listen and subscribe!

      You can find links for those, as well as most other podcast platforms on that homepage.

      Here are few direct links, too.

      Apple Podcasts | Android | Spotify | Stitcher 

      (Pro tip: if you have Alexa and Spotify, just say "Alexa, play Plus 7 Intelligence podcast" to start listening to the latest episode)

      You can find the show on Twitter: @7_intelligence

      Join the community Discord for the show, a chat room where we discuss the show, games we're playing, and just hang out! +7 Intelligence Discord Channel

      I'd love to hear what Cake readers think of the show and about how games have impacted their world.