In October, I’ll be presenting a workshop on games at Survive & Thrive, a cool festival/conference hosted by my good friend and colleague Rex Veeder. I plan to talk about games for healing purposes, starting off with my favorite example of Re-Mission. I’m glad I checked the website; I didn’t even know they’d created 6 more games! Time to do some “research.”
Have you guys heard of any more recent high-profile examples like this one? Ideally, I’d like to give participants a chance both to play these games and take a crack at designing one. I think the goal itself is worthy of study: how can a game, something supposedly frivolous and for entertainment purposes only, actually help heal a sick gamer? It seems like the approach here is to use the games to educate the gamer, boosting confidence, promoting good habits, and reducing fear. Other health games, such as Ruckus Nation, promote good exercise or eating habits. These are all fine, but I wonder if more radical things could be done with games to promote healing.
About the craziest one I could come up with was an augmented reality game that would help you administer first aid, perhaps working in conjunction with a camera and microphone to diagnose what’s wrong with someone and suggest treatment. The game could also monitor your own heart rate, etc., and play appropriate music and relaxation instructions if you were panicking. Instead of freaking you out with realistic images and a “life and death” vibe, this thing would be designed to keep you relaxed and in control during the crisis, keeping you focused on easy, manageable (and timed) tasks Cooking Mama style. More conceivable, perhaps, would be a game that would train you in first aid, letting you use your friend (or perhaps a dummy with special sensors) to learn the techniques.