Feature Excerpt

Keep Calm with a Cup of Coffee

This is an excerpt of a feature from Unwinnable Monthly #133. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

Can a videogame be used to reduce anxiety? Absolutely. However, Toge Productions, the creators of Coffee Talk, wanted to do more than create a soothing environment: they also poured their hearts into the characters. Each character in the game has their own thought out storyline that makes them feel completely human. Even the mythical creatures.

I was drawn to the game because, well, I’d do anything for a good vanilla latte. But I found that Coffee Talk provides players with a getaway, something to distract their minds and hands in a relaxing way. Thus, Coffee Talk can be a relief those who suffer from anxiety or anxious thoughts. The lo-fi music, quiet pace and the ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) inducing coffee sounds makes Coffee Talk a wonderful experience.

Coffee Talk was the first time Toge Productions tried their hand at a story based game. Players are cast as baristas in an overnight coffee shop, making different kinds of coffee and tea for a wild array of customers. This scene provides a kind of nightlife that is extremely soothing. Did I mention, a fair amount of the characters are mythical creatures, too? Don’t worry, they are magical and continue the calm vibe. Even if you get the drink wrong, it furthers the storyline. There is no pressure at all. You become attached to the characters and calmed by the sounds of pouring coffee. 

The game allows players to learn at their own pace, with chill lo-fi bops in the background. Lo-fi is non-lyrical music that blends together hip hop and jazz; the style has blown up recently as “background music” for studying, working and even anxiety reduction.

It is clear that much love and care went into developing Coffee Talk. Creating a game that helped reduce anxiety while provided players with something soothing was precisely the goal for Coffee Talk according to the developers. After playing the game myself, I found myself going back to it whenever I needed something to calm my anxious mind. Inspired by this, I reached out to Andrew Jeremy, the project manager of Coffee Talk. I wanted to talk with him about the impact the game had on me, and on other players, too…

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Katiee McKinstry is a freelance writer, journalist and gamer based outside Atlanta, GA. In addition to Unwinnable, she has bylines in Nerdist, Gayming Mag, The Gamer and more. You can follow Katiee on all socials at @rosecafletic or through her website www.lifestartswithcoffee.com

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