I have written about using video games to rehab physical injuries before but three professors at University of Central Florida have made a game to help rehab the habits of alcoholics through the act of role playing.
‘Guardian Angel’ sets players in a virtual day resisting the traps that usually snag a recovering alcoholic like finding ways through a city without passing liquor stores or a mini game that challenges the player to rid the house of alcohol. Another aspect to control is sadness or stress of the character which can lead to relapse.
One may ask why make a game to learn these skills, but like most rehabilitation it could become boring and may be refused by the patient. The game has had positive reaction by some to the point of one patient saying she could play it all day.
The real value is to have patients fail in the game instead of the real world where failure can have a much harsher impact than in a video game. In fact testing the water in a game is encouraged by the professors. Professor Dr. Marcia Verduin said:
“People will intentionally mess up to see what happens [in a regular video game]. It’s the same thing here.”
In June the research will be analyzed and hopefully video games can gain another level in the public service sector so we can be proud of the varied role games play in society. The next time someone says games don’t do any good maybe you can point this study out in the future.
Video Game Helps Alcoholics Prevent Relapse [Orlando Sentential]