Monday, April 23, 2012

Can Video Games be Successful Besides in Entertainment?

Researchers in New Zealand are conducting a study where video games are tested to treat depression. So far, forty-four percent of those who played, what researchers call “SPARX,” saw results and recovered from their depression. This type of treatment could prove to be more accessible and encouraging to young adults whom may be more reluctant to use conventional therapy. Computer therapy could also help in anxiety disorders, where research indicates that computerized therapy has the potential to provide effective and acceptable health care for mental disorders.
Right now, video games have morphed into a huge entertainment mongrel that has difficulty staying innovative and fresh.  With the difficulty video game companies and developers are faced with (pre and used games, price cuts, delays, falling short of expected earrings, buy-outs/acquisitions, and scandals), it is hard not to see the industry become just as cut-throat and snobbish as the high-end clothing industry. Sticking to their guns and constantly using bigger and better graphics makes it seem like another Steven Spielberg movie (minus Steven Spielberg.) Most games are lacking depth or any appealing factor besides big boobs, big explosions, and better graphics. Games that do create a captivating environment and unique game play like Skyrim and Fez often get critiqued. However, the loudest opinion is not going to be the majority, which is worrisome as the direction of video games has decreasingly little inspirational or breath-taking excellence like when the world first laid its hands on Super Mario 64 for the N64. Seeing 3D video games for the first time from a pixel 2D perspective gave an ever-lasting impression that we have seen less and less of in the gaming industry.
Forget computers, I am my own computer.
             So, it is with much excitement to see video games take a path less trampled upon in the way of science and mental health. It is like that anime Accel World where everyone lives in a world with a tech collar and your eyes are the computer screens. Although we are far from that future, I can see an era spiked with learning and knowledge in the use of video games. However, it probably would be worded as “computerized” because it does not fall in the stereotype of common video games of today. Mankind will be able to learn with much more feasibility, rewards, and access to knowledge than ever before. Research is already being conducted to apply psychology into video games. Can you imagine being able to learn to properly diet and eat just by playing a game? How about fix your car? Do your taxes? Balance your check? The possibilities of what can happen are not limited but rather endless! Once you steer it away from being just mere entertainment, you open Pandora’s box to possibilities only imagined in science fiction.

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