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Gaming for good: Video games designed to heal

Do video games have the power to help users overcome illness or reach a health goal? Jane McGonigal, PhD, thinks so. She is a game designer and the creative director of Social Chocolate, a company whose mission is to create “world-changing games powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection.” Over on today, writer Rahim Kanani has an in-depth interview with McGonigal, who talks about the company’s first game, SuperBetter, and how she has been working with medical researchers at Stanford and elsewhere to enhance it. She also tells Kanani how she believes video games can increase resilience in the face of life’s setbacks:

I think we are all powered by a desire to conquer obstacles, to learn and get better, to feel capable, to wake up every day with purpose. And we’re never more aware of these desires than when we’re facing something difficult in our own lives. That’s when we discover that we have a natural ability to be heroic. We become the best versions of ourselves by facing extreme challenge head on. We discover that we’re resilient. And we make the most meaning we can out of the struggles we inevitably face. I think that games are an excellent training ground for these skills. The real power of games is when we take these skills and bring to them to our real lives.

Previously Collaborative project creates a virtual world for cancer patients and Can video games boost brain power?
Photo by RebeccaPollard

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