Video Games & … Medicine?

While stumbling (it seems that StumbleUpon is a rich resource for blogging fodder) I came across an interesting website which I assumed to be a collection of thought-provoking games.  As I read through the website, however, and began to play some of the games, I realized that the games had been developed for a reason other than entertainment.  One of these games, developed by Singapore-MIT game lab, was developed to help clinically depressed persons see the beauty in life and ultimately relieve their depression. The game is called “Elude” and the website’s description of it says:

“Developed by Singapore-MIT Gambit Game LabElude is a dark, atmospheric game that aims to shed light on the nature of depression. You play a little guy exploring a beautiful yet forbidding world. The world has three distinct levels, each a metaphor for a different mental state.

The forest that you start the game in represents a normal mood. You can ascend to a higher plane – happiness – by climbing the trees in the forest. From, here you can leap joyously up into the sky by jumping on floating flowers and leaves. The leaves and flowers disappear after you have touched them and eventually none are left to keep you aloft and you plunge down into the third game area: depression.”

This struck me as odd; a video game supplying some medical remedy instead of a doctor or medicine.  But after considering this for a while, I began to realize, why couldn’t a video game help to cure someone of their depression?  A game has the potential to elevate someones mood, even give thema different outlook on life. But that largely depends on the elements of the game.  Does one connect with the character?  Does the story accomplish the goals it sets out to achieve? I ask these questions after playing a short online video game, but perhaps this concept could be expanded into a longer video game.  And perhaps it already has? Would you consider games like “The Sims” or “Second Life” to be an example of this game, being that a player can create a character in their image but give them a better/different life that they can control? Are there studies that show the effects of these games from Singapore-MIT game lab? Discovering this game has led to more questions than answers, but it is just another link between the worlds of video games and learning.

Play Elude Here

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Games On the Front Lines [Kotaku]

This is a really great article on how our troops are using video games in Afghanistan and Iraq during their off-time. I wasn’t aware that soldiers were allowed to bring gaming devices/laptops overseas, but it makes sense so that they don’t lose their minds from boredom.

One of the Marines interviewed actually said playing Call of Duty 4 made him think more about the fact that he was taking a life from his Humvee; he couldn’t really see the death from his gunner position, but when playing CoD you’re often in a direct line of sight of who you’re shooting.

There are some really great stories and anecdotes in this article and I highly recommend you all to take a look at it.

Games on the Front Lines (via Kotaku)

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