Gaming multimedia till date haven’t been used put to some other use apart from entertainment. Different studies undertaken by researchers have consluded that games can be used for many other purposes. While we constantly rant about the violent video games desensitizing the tender minds of teenagers, there is also a brighter to these games. Scientists are now applying video games in the areas of psychology and self-help, with great success.
Applying Video Games in Psychological Treatment
Academicians and psychologists do find some potential in applying video games for the treatment of common psychological problems like depression. According to Sally Merry, a senior lecturer from University of Auckland, a fantasy computer game called ‘Sparx’ is used in the treatment of depression through cognitive behavioral therapy. The idea underlying the activity of making such games is making the therapy sessions fun-filled however, through a virtual medium. The Sparx game is loaded with a lot of features and activities which help the players to learn some relaxation techniques and ways to combat depression. Converting the ‘Gnats’ into ‘Sparx’ is the main idea or basis of this game. GNAT is actually an acronym for the following terms: gloomy, negative, automatic thoughts. SPARX, on the other hand stands for smart, positive, active, realistic, x-factor thoughts. Computer therapy is also used in the treatment of anxiety-related disorders. The British Medical Journal too has endorsed this game and described it to be fun-filled as well as effective.
Applying Video Games to Other Uses
Applying video games to neurological feedback systems is considered useful in the treatment of kids with attention deficit disorders. The mechanism used in these games is one in which brain activity is monitored through sensors fitted on helmets. The players have to wear such helmets while playing the games. If a player loses concentration while playing the game, signals are sent to a controller, which in turn hinders the acceleration of characters in the game. A study conducted in India by an ophthamologist, Dr. Somen Ghosh concluded that the standard treatment coupled with a regimen of playing video games should help a patient recover from ‘lazy eye’ i.e. amblyopia. Daphne Maurer and his team of researchers from the McMaster University in Canada have come up with a new finding that shooting games assist in improving the vision. The sensory abilities which seem to have completely damaged can be corrected even in adulthood. Thus, playing video games therapeutically is not all that bad for the eyes. Video games offer an advantage of being compulsorily interactive. It means that have to pay full attention to a game when you are playing it. Therefore, using video games as a tool to bring about a positive change in a person holds great scope.
The online games, just like the offline ones (mentioned above) are increasingly being developed for some noble use instead of just entertainment. The online video games associated with the treatment of mental illnesses by applying video games to the treatment plan can be placed in two categories i.e. ‘society games’ and ‘online worlds’. Narrative content is the specialty of online worlds while ease of accesibility is the characteistic trait of society games. Now that scientists are applying video games in the field of psychological treatments, people would take the activity of gaming seriously in the future.