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Therapy in Game Form 24

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the clicking-your-way-to-health dept.
An anonymous reader writes "That's right, playing PC and video games can be good for you, according to this article on BusinessWeek Online. The article talks about games that can help people improve their self-esteem, fight phobias and ADD." There's obviously some biofeedback hardware involved with the games mentioned, but sadly there's no pictures with the story. It's also probably safe to assume that such games won't be coming to an arcade anytime soon.
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Therapy in Game Form

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  • OCD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane_the_Great (778338) on Friday May 14, 2004 @03:39PM (#9155544)
    Games can also be enables of health problems. For instance, a person with OCD may thrive in a MMORPG where the best players are the ones who play the most and go on the most quests. Clicking repeatedly to kill monsters will appeal quite a bit to those with a disorder like that. I've also noticed that games such as The Sims can also enable people with mental health disorders to further their behavior. Rearranging furniture, building and rebuilding over and over, et cetera, all seem like activities someone with an OCD-type disorder would enjoy. Better than playing these games, people with these disorders should try to seek help for the problem rather than just moving it into a different medium than real life.

    Of course, games, like most forms of entertainment, can be a great stress reliever. But all things in moderation.

    • DDR turns fat people into walking toothpicks too
      • DDR was supposedly initially designed as a diet and exercise aid, too. I wonder if it would've been half as successful had the marketing ultimately gone in that direction?

    • Re:OCD (Score:4, Interesting)

      by therealmoose (558253) on Friday May 14, 2004 @04:47PM (#9156534)
      As someone who has mild OCD (the type that compels me to step on each tile twice on the way to getting 1520 on the SAT I, not the type that makes me nuts), I have to say that it is an advantage in many games but especially any RPG-type game. Most of these strongly encourage repetitive behaviour, and some (especially MUDs) require highly accurate repetition.

      As far as the therapy angle, it's a game d00d.

      • Re:OCD (Score:1, Offtopic)

        the type that compels me to step on each tile twice on the way to getting 1520 on the SAT I, not the type that makes me nuts

        But apparently you are the type of OCD that has to mention their SAT score to prove something to complete strangers. Congrats!

    • Re:OCD (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have OCD.

      And I partly agree with you, a person who has OCD could have an obsession over rearranging furnature in "The Sims" for example, but if they didn't have the game, they'd just rearrange it in real life, or develop another obsession. It's not as if you get rid of the disorder as soon as you get rid of what they can obsess over.

      After I stopped a praying obsession, it became small things, like standing on one foot while the microwave was on, washing my hands in a certain way, walking around the tabl
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday May 14, 2004 @03:40PM (#9155555)
    "...that can help people improve their self-esteem, fight phobias and ADD."

    Nothing like a long late-night session of AD&D [wizards.com] to fight ADD !

  • This may seem a bit off topic but do you remember that story a few days ago about games being banned because of negative influence? Do you know about the programmes to fight fobias using the exact same objects causing fobias?

    I think psychology and lawyers have to discuss a bit more together.

    No wonder kids are pissed off about this. They somehow know it's another 'grown up stupid thing'. Most great people existed didn't live in a paradise world, they had the ability to see the shit and still stay calm abou
  • by Leffe (686621)
    Aimbottin' in Counter-Strike doesn't increase my self-esteem at all :'( Only if I play against pros, and they kill me sometimes...
  • On how not to pick up women, on avoiding cars, avoiding walking off cliffs, avoiding using the unzipping icon on the towel guy at the spa, how not to use the number 4, about what to do when your wife leaves you for a woman, and of course, island geography!
    Coming soon: college guide!
  • Escapsim (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StarWynd (751816) on Friday May 14, 2004 @04:55PM (#9156634)
    For me the best kinds of games are those which combine escapism and require a good deal of thought. After a long, frustrating day it might feel good release that frustration with ripping off someone's head a la Mortal Kombot or fragging away in Quake or Unreal. However, those games tend to feed the negative emotions rather than alleviate them. This happens because I am still actively thinking of frustrations and annoyances rather than putting them out of my mind.

    My preferred game are ones that I can escape into where I can forget the troubles of the day and engage my mind in something else. For me, a good adventure game fits the bill, but it all depends on what you can enjoy and immerse your mind in. Just don't immerse yourself so much that you forget to do little things, like eat or go to work. ;-)
  • ...is a perfect example of video games and therapy. It combines myst style navigation around areas along with bio-feedback. For instance, one "puzzle" is a fire that you need to light by concentration on your breathing etc. It uses a USB interface for the sensors on your fingers. Ton of fun. Highly recommend it.
    http://www.wilddivine.com/
    (mac and pc only...)
  • McGill's scientists designed a game in which the user must click on smiley faces that zoom across the screen on clouds. Playing for just five minutes a day gives self-confidence a major boost.

    If that's all it takes, sign me up! It sounds fun, but I have a feeling that the "boost" that comes from clicking zooming smiley faces may not lead to the real self-confidence people need. Feeling happier in the short term and relieving stress are admirable goals, but I don't think there's ever going to be a replaceme

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