Equoo Promises to Help People Become More Emotionally Fit. I Gave It a Try—Here’s What Happened
Can a game teach you to become a better communicator? I tried Equoo to find out.
It seems like no matter what you want to do, there’s an app that can help. As a person who has a hard time understanding others, I’ve always felt pretty hopeless about establishing a connection with people. I’m not exactly a communicator, you know what I mean?
At work, it’s proven to be a problem. I don’t understand why people act the way they do, nor do I understand how to connect. Developing a rapport with others is not easy with me; even body language is often difficult for me to understand. For most of my life, I felt like trying to “get” others was a lost cause.
My boss recently showed me a new app that promises to improve your emotional health as well as your ability to communicate—and immediately referred it to me. It’s called Equoo, it’s free, and I decided to give it a whirl.
Here’s what happened, and what you should know about Equoo’s awesome concepts.
Equoo started out as an idea from Dr. Silja Litvin’s Ph.D thesis.
Creator Silja Litvin was the one who came up with the idea of making an app that improves emotional wellness in its users. For her Ph. D thesis, she developed an app with the goal of reducing depression while increasing emotional fitness. Clinical trials showed it to be a success.
The problem was that her original app wasn’t something depressed people would use. After all, when you have depression, you really don’t feel like doing anything. To help encourage users to keep using her app, she developed it into a game.
Each game is designed to teach people important social skills they can use in real life—all while making them feel better. After adding gaming elements to her doctoral thesis and securing the help of five other psychologists to flesh out details, Equoo was officially born.
The game is hosted by Dr. Joy, who gives you insight into each interaction.
First off, I love Dr. Joy! As far as cartoon characters in an app go, she’s pretty tops. Unlike other apps I’ve tried, Equoo’s Dr. Joy offers up advice and statistics that most people really don’t know. That alone got (and kept) my interest.
One of the first stories that I played involved dating, and the statistic she cited shocked me. Apparently, you can predict (with up to 85 percent accuracy) whether a couple will stay together based on how a partner reacts when their significant other places an emotional bid.
Emotional bid? Wait! What’s that?
Emotional bids, as Dr. Joy explained, are hints that someone wants affection and attention. The concept wowed me. This was something that I’ve been doing a lot of, and now, I finally understood reactions. By reacting positively (or “towards”) emotional bids, you can develop stronger bonds with people around you.
Just being able to put what I was doing into words helped me in ways I can’t even explain. That alone helped me understand what’s wrong.
In life, we don’t really get full explanations of how humans are expected to think and act. For someone such as myself, this totally sucks. It’s a twisted guessing game for us, and after a while, you get terrified of losing and freeze up.
Equoo did me a solid by explaining the social skills I’m going to be tested on, and then placed me in real-life situations. This helped me make sense of what’s going on, without it being totally unrealistic. Later versions will test you on earlier lessons to keep things fresh.
The stories can be realistic, or a little bit more fantasy-oriented, depending on the level.
A lot of the stories deal with fantasy worlds that involve wizards, Martians, or trolls. So, while you might not exactly have a story that would unfold in the office, you definitely have a lot of drama in the situations. Even though it’s a fantasy world, you still end up having pretty realistic dialogue throughout the entire script.
With every story where you get tested, how you react determines how the story unfolds. The better you react, the more likely it is that you’ll win the game. If you lose, then you have to try again. Don’t worry—Eqoo tells you where you went wrong.
The entire game tries to present characters as human beings, rather than just wizards and witches.
In a typical game like Dungeons and Dragons, your players are not really that big on personality. Or at least they weren’t in my clique. Equoo’s characters are meant to be more about personality and dialogue than they are about fighting stats.
Every response you make gets measured as part of your score; what you end up doing with the characters and how well you notice the reactions of the characters around you determines whether or not you win.
Each storyline also acts as a quasi personality test.
I’m the kind of person who always wonders what people think of me, or what makes me different from most others out there. Equoo helps you learn about yourself and your personality through the mini-games you play.
Simply put, Equoo acts a lot like a digital therapist who teaches you about yourself, your needs, and social skills. So far, the games are really impressive in terms of what they can glean. The only thing is, you need to answer the game’s questions the way you would actually answer them in real life to get the app's full benefits.
As someone who doesn’t really have a lot of emotional intelligence, the skills raised a mirror to my face.
The hardest part about not understanding other people is not knowing how I look to others—or even worse, not knowing why I do the things I do. One thing I will say about Equoo is that they are very good at explaining the why’s, how’s, and details of what makes a person tick in a way I understand.
By giving names to common behaviors and thinking patterns, they make it possible for me to better understand myself and others. The lessons also forced me to notice when I am acting out. Now that I’m becoming more aware, I can check myself and realize why it’s a bad move.
The overall look of the game is a major draw.
Did I mention that the game is really beautifully designed? Because it’s really beautifully designed. It looks amazing, and somehow, that actually helps keep me a little bit more engaged. It’s not your typical hackneyed aesthetic look; it’s got a fresh appearance all its own, which makes the entire app look a lot more appealing.
When it comes to emotional intelligence, I’m not an easy learner. I need to be taught slowly, and carefully. Equoo was the first game I’ve ever played that helped knock some social skills into my thick skull. It’s already helped me resolve conflicts in my relationship—and that’s really an impressive feat.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s changed my life. It’s changed how I see people, and it’s helped me understand people’s actions in terms that I “get.” If you are like me and struggle with understanding people or knowing how to communicate, this game is a true life-changer.
I might be a little rougher than most when it comes to socializing, but that doesn’t mean everyone else can’t enjoy Equoo. You can learn a lot about psychology and just the way people think by playing this game.
Equoo is an amazing, groundbreaking game that could potentially change the lives of people around the world. Give it a chance, and you’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself and others.