New video game genre promises to 'boost psychological health'

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Nintendo DS.

The developers of a new video game genre hope to promote the idea of boosting the psychological health of gamers. Today, fun and violence are staples of the gaming industry and several groups in different countries are working on and promoting games to strengthen people's self-esteem and emotional health.

One of such groups is Dimple Entertainment, based in Tokyo. The group's representatives stated that in May they will start the production of “DS Therapy”. In this unconventional game, players can see an evaluation of their mental health by answering several light-hearted questions on various topics in the game.

Launched in Japan, the game will be available on a hand-held DS Player developed by Nintendo.

Mark Baldwin, a psychology professor at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada hopes to use games to make people feel good about themselves. Together with his crew, Baldwin hs developed a game called “MindHabits Booster” based on their research in the field of social psychology. The game idea is built upon their observations that they can use repetitive components from video game play to shape humans' perceptions as well as their ways of thinking.

The researchers working at the University of Rochester outlined that both children and adults play video games because they have several psychological needs like: opportunities for achievement, freedom and a sense of connection.