At DePaul, creating video games for social good

Posted on January 9, 2018  in Video Games

To a DePaul University professor and her students, video games are more than just a fun way to pass the time.

At the Deep Games Laboratory in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media, associate professor Doris Rusch and her students develop video games that raise awareness for mental illness and other afflictions, and could even contribute to treatment. Projects include a game that helps those with anxiety work on overcoming their fears, one that teaches sickle cell anemia patients ways to stay healthy and another that addresses bullying.

All projects at the Deep Games Lab deal with “the human experience and insight into ourselves,” Rusch said. Video games, she said, can serve as a platform to teach and help others. “We might as well embrace that.”

The work at DePaul is part of a growing movement to use video games for social good. Although clinical trials and studies have not yet shown video games to be an effective treatment on their own, they are emerging as a new way to reach patients with mental health afflictions, said psychiatrist Dr. Nina Vasan.

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