Computer games heal the world

It has been suggested that online gaming can be more effective at treating clinical depression than pharmaceuticals? When game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion, she used her three-month recovery period as the basis for a new game.

SuperBetter is a game designed to boost physical, mental, emotional and social resilience through a series of challenges. After the game went public the thank-you’s flooded in, and people with chronic pain, cancer and clinical depression were among Jane’s new fans.

The game is available at the SuperBetter website, or you can download it onto your iPhone or iPod touch via the iTunes store.

There are a number of other games on the market which have also been developed with a specific social purpose in mind.

World without oil, also one of Jane’s games, drops the player into a world where oil has become scarce. It teaches you how to use less oil in your day to day life, and players have reported carrying these habits over into the real world.

FoldIt is an online game with a real-life application. Players stabilise strings of amino acids, and the solutions they come up with help real scientists to solve problems which have frustrated scientific communities for years.

Budget Hero lets you attempt to balance the national budget of the United States of America. Can you stay out of debt?

Plot.Form aims to make giving to charity interactive and fun. The current project is to build homes for children living on the streets in Tanzania. Users who donate get to help pick out building materials, colour schemes and more for parts of the homes. 

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