Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Games for Health

Carrot not stick.
Almost a year ago, I wrote an article called ‘Games Based Healing’ which featured games that help people learn about illnesses, how to self-heal and more through games.  This article featured games to help those with dementia, autism, cystic fibrosis, depression, stroke, dyslexia and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Since then, I have come across a few more articles about how games are helping people to learn about, cope with and beat health issues.


Depression featured in our post previously mentioned, however, this great article also argues that games could have great potential to help people with depression.  It lists 3 games/apps: Depression Quest, SPARX and MoodTune which have been developed specifically for people with depression.  The article also discusses a therapist’s use of games in sessions.  She uses them as a therapeutic tool to get children talking and working through their troubles.  A gamer’s perspective is also shared, suggesting that games have positive and negative effects for people suffering from depression, but that games specifically designed to treat depression can be fantastically useful.


A game for helping stroke victims recover was also featured in our previous post.  However, a game, Stroke Hero has also been developed to help teach children to recognise the signs of a stroke.  The game has had great success so far.  Click here for more information.


Wellapets is a game designed to help children handle their asthma.  The game features a pet dragon which the player must look after, including giving them their inhaler.  It aims to motivate positive behaviour change, reduce stigma, teach about symptoms and how to avoid common triggers.  Read more here.


Again, Autism featured on the previous list.  However, this article features a list of apps that have been designed to help children on the Autism spectrum to communicate.  There are quite a few apps, some of which are free and some not.

Breast Cancer

Cancer Research UK has developed a game to help them analyse a large amount of genetic data collected from their studies.  The game is called Play to Cure: Genes in Space.  Players are encouraged to go on space missions, but the game environment maps directly to scientific data.  It might be a little difficult to get your head around just how they have managed this, but this sort of innovation is a fantastic use of games and perhaps we’ll see more of it in the future.  Click here to read more.

I hope this emphasises that games can be used in a wide variety of ways and that games based learning is extremely broad.  Games are as varied as any other medium and can be used as such.  And as this post hopefully suggests, games can do a lot of good and help a lot of people.

Please follow @paulladley on Twittergames-ED on Pinterest and like games-ED’s Facebook and Google+ pages for blog updates and interesting games based learning findings.

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