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Mobile developer Snowman has updated its 2015 endless snowboarder Alto's Adventure with a new "Zen Mode" that eliminates scoring, power-ups, and even the UI itself from the game so players can snowboard an endless mountain without any distractions.
Countless games get updated every day, but this one is worth paying attention because it's an effort by the developer to better serve people who have written to Snowman about how they use Alto's Adventure to relieve stress.
"I play games as a way to calm me down when I'm feeling anxious or down. But it's been difficult to find games at the moment that don't feel aggressive and violent," reads an excerpt of a fan email the Snowman devs received and published on their blog. "Alto's Adventure has become something I use as a coping mechanism when I need it, so thank you again for developing it."
The post goes on to note that Snowman has received "a number of emails like this over the past year," and that the new Zen Mode (which comes with a new, more chill soundtrack) is designed to help such players while also making the game more approachable to a younger audience.
Of course, games have long been appreciated for their capacity to influence players' mental states, and researchers around the world are using them to help players' deal with everything from anxiety to autism in a much more focused manner.