Welcome back, Pixelkiners! I hope you caught up with our best news of 2014, which came out right before the new year. But it’s time to put all that behind us now and look at what’s happening in 2015.

We interviewed Dr. Randy Kulman, the founder of LearningWorks for Kids, a company that promotes the teaching benefits of games. One of the issues they try to address is how what you learn from games gets turned into real-life skills. Obviously not every game that kids play is educational in the traditional sense, so they encourage people to think about what they’re doing in the game and how that could apply to other areas of your life. A huge part of that, of course, is encouraging parents to get involved as well. They have a database where you can select a particular skill or learning challenge—like math, or organization, even time-management—and find games and apps that use that skill. Awesome. That interview is up on the site right now.

Decision-making is probably a skill that you can improve by playing some roleplaying games. Keezy Young talks about what it means to make decisions in games and how it makes us better storytellers. Often in a roleplaying games players have to fill in the background of their characters—maybe you know what kind of family your character was born into, but you get to decide why that affects the decisions they make, the way they speak to other characters, things like that. Thinking through your character’s decisions can really change the emotional impact of the story, as Keezy found out when she asked other players about their experiences. To hear their stories, check out that article!

Some universities are now offering scholarships to gamers. That’s if you’re good at League of Legends, anyway. As we mentioned in our best of 2014 video, League of Legends, and esports in general, are a big deal. Pro matches draw in millions of fans—which is probably a plus for universities looking to attract students. Fans of League of Legends and college athletics can check out the Collegiate StarLeague this fall.

There’s no easy solution to handling depression, but sometimes help can come from unexpected places. For Nicole Tanner it came from Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, a music game that we’ve talked about a few times already. Fantasia doesn’t just get you up and moving, it also grants you the power to change the music. The combination of exercise and control over creating music had an incredibly positive effect on Nicole. Please do read this article, and also look at our list of six other games that address grief, loss, and depression.

This article was written by

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.