Does gameplay have the power to heal?
After studying Personal Metrics for a while, I’ve realized that creating products or services that are rooted in Personal Metrics is very similar to designing games. I should note that I am not a game designer, however, I am fascinated with the psychology and neuropsychology of how game mechanics affect us as emotionally responsive beings.
I recently stumbled upon a new start up called SuperBetter that has created a tangible game aimed at helping people recover from physical injuries or illness or achieve a specific health goal. The results are fascinating and currently the founder of the company is working with the CDC and the US Army to apply the concept to their organizations.
The idea for SuperBetter came from Jane McGonial. After suffering a mild brain injury and not seeing results from standard treatment, Jane grew frustrated and ultimately decided that she had to take matters into her own hands – hoping that she’d have a chance at returning to ‘normal’. So, turned to what she knows best and decided to turn her quest for recovery into a game. As a game designer herself, she’s always believed that we are better versions of ourselves when we engage in gameplay than we are when we are in reality. Her theory was that “when we play a game anything is possible, games make us resilient” and if she could turn the recovery process into a role playing recovery game, the emotions that are associated with gameplay would help her body physically heal itself.
Turns out, it worked and after posting the rules to the game, she’s had reports from people all over the world who have used her method and are experiencing the benefits for themselves.
I’ve signed up for access to the beta so I can’t report too much on the game itself. However, I do plan on using it to help myself achieve a few health goals such as improving my sleep and training for a half marathon. Look for an update soon.
In the meantime, sign up for beta access for SuperBetter.