Blue Marble Game Co. bringing games that heal to E3 2013
All too often you hear about the negative reprecussions associated with games, attempts at finally showing a causal link between fictionalized and real world violence. Despite the fact that such a thing has never been proven, the stereotype still persists. But one thing that is documented are various benefits that are the direct result of playing games, like improved hand-eye coordination, stress reduction, improved motor function, and more.
What you may not know, is that video games are also used to help people recover from certain debilitating conditions. Blue Marble Game Co., the developer of multiple NeuroGames is bringing a number of games to E3 to be used as treatment for people in such conditions. The company's hope is that their games will be able to be used in therapy and healthcare fields in the future. Of course, most eyes are going to be on games like Watch Dogs, the new Smash Bros., or whatever else Microsoft, Sony, and any number of the top-end developers have planned for their next-gen consoles. But these are serving arguably a far more noble cause, and deserve the same amount of attention, if not more.
Here's a quick rundown of some of the games in the mix Blue Marble is bringing:
- The Treasure of Bell Island was designed for the physical and cognitive rehabilitation of patients. This game was amazingly enough developed for the Department of Defense, and is commonly used on military personnel who have sustained head injuries in the field. The game is an Android app that allows players to strategically explore an island, playing a variety of mini-games along the way, such as tapping on berries to drop them into a moving basket. The game collects data in real time on a player's motor response times and other mental functions, which can then be reviewed by a clinician or therapist. For example, a player with a brain injury might be easily distracted by butterflies that appear during the berry mini-game. The program would count how many times the player tried to touch the butterflies, which are irrelevant to the task.
- RESET also works to restore cognitive skills to improve quality of life and enhance duty performance following mild traumatic brain injury.
You may not think of senior citizens as the biggest gamers around, but if you actually bothered to visit any of your relatives that live in nursing homes, you'd discover that a good deal of them would swiftly kick your butt over a couple games of Wii bowling. Then they'd sit you down before telling you all about how they had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to get to school, and they were thankful for it, damn it!
With this little appealed to demographic in mind, the staff at Blue Marble is also bringing Zoezi Park, one of the few games out there designed with the elderly in mind. It helps with arguably the most dangerous and persistent threat to those over the age of 65: the threat of falling. About 1,600 people in the U.S. visit the hospital as a result of a fall every day. Zoezi Park, previously funded by the National Institute of Aging, is an interactive exercise program that has already been shown to reduce falls by 35 percent. Blue Marble has also arranged for a crowdfunding campaign so they can continue development of the game.
In all honesty, don't expect to hear much about these games with the bevy of E3 coverage that'll be unfolding this week, so if any of these games piques your interest, you can check out more about them at Blue Marble's website here.