If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, chances are you’ve had at least one nasty experience. Probably more than one. For all its marvels, the internet is a noisy place, often filled with vitriol and bile.
Luckily, there are some people who believe that it is possible to be nice on the world wide web. Enter: Kind Words.
This multiplayer game is all about writing nice letters to strangers. It’s that simple. No quests. No major objectives, just being nice. There are no likes or shares, no desperation to go viral and plug whatever hustle you’ve got going on at the end of a thread. Sharing personally-identifying information is discouraged, too.
It’s just about being nice. Because it’s nice.
The official description on Steam reads: “A game about writing nice letters to real people. Write and receive encouraging letters in a cozy room. Trade stickers and listen to chill music. We’re all in this together. Sometimes all you need are a few kind words.”
Gameplay is incredibly simple, perhaps because the objective is too.
Studio Popcannibal released Kind Words in late 2019 and it has already gained a cult following. Reviews are overwhelmingly positive and heat-warning.
Featuring snippets like: “I yelled into the void – and the void answered back, with kind words.” and “The first time I played Kind Words, I cried.”
You can write and receive letters. Or you can ask for somebody to just give you a virtual shoulder squeeze and say that everything is going to be okay.
The concept might seem incredibly simple, but in a world where it often feels like the art of listening has been lost, simple is a relief.
And with over a quarter of a million letters sent within a month of its release last year, perhaps it’s worth remembering that you can’t always be on transmit, sometimes you have to turn the dial to receive.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.