Video Game Cures Depression???
Researchers in New Zealand invented a video game that does the exact opposite of what World of Warcraft does: Cure your depression.
Mom, no matter how many times I play Super Mario Galaxy 2 I still can't stop crying.
The game, SPARX, which stands for SMART POSITIVE ACTIVE REALISTIC X-FACTOR THOUGHTS, cures your depression by being a normal video game that comes with a six pack of SPARKS alcoholic energy booze.
A drink loaded chock full of caffeine AND alcohol? I can wait to drink it and run in front of a train!
That is not true. Sparx is actually a cleverly designed game where players navigate a 3D fantasy world with obstacles and enemies formulated to teach skills to deal with anxiety and depression that they may not be getting in a home or school environment.
"Hello giant monster, I am clinically depressed." "I see, little human, in that case here is the hookshot."
An example of this is that in one level, a swamp, you are attacked by GNATS, which are little black creatures that say mean things to you while you're fighting them like, "You're a loser!" "Rebecca's only friends with you cuz your Mom has an Escalade," and, "Your arms look fat, you should remove them."
If all video games were like SPARX
You then shoot the GNATS, and put their tiny, dickhead corpses in different barrels depending on what type of "negative thought" they are, in theory teaching teenagers to identify and label unhelpful negative thoughts and patterns. According to the study, which tested over 187 teenagers in New Zealand, around 44% of those who played the game achieved remission, as compared to 26% who did traditional talk therapy. This is impressive, especially compared to results from teenagers playing other video games; such as Farmville, where teenagers who played it experienced an 88% increase in depressive thoughts, or Uncharted 3, which for some unknown reason, gave well over 100% of teenagers who played it mad cow disease.
No one knows why so many teens got mad cow disease playing Uncharted 3, but I suspect stage 5...
Depression and anxiety affect many teenagers and adults all over the post industrial world, and it would be great if high schools had classes on how to deal with these issues freshman year. But in the meantime, a video game that teaches these skills is a great idea. I mean why the hell not? I've already learned all I can possibly learn from video games about how to effectively murder a goomba, and that any problem you could possibly have in your life can be solved by either jumping on, stabbing, or shooting something. I'd be excited to also learn how to stop telling myself I'm too fat to go to the prom.
Do you think using video games to teach important life skills are a good idea? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!