Welcome to our roundup of the best gaming and mental health articles you may have missed. This week, we have a look at video games and violence, analysis of one of Black Panther’s best characters, and more.
Road to GDC: I’m Not A Doctor, but I Simulate One in VR
“It turns out that doctors in training, like most people these days, are often avid game players. That has presented a great opportunity for using them as part of their medical education. Although games have yet to replace classes, they’ve been shown to help laparoscopic surgeons reduce errors by 37 percent while increasing their speed by 27 percent when used as warm-up exercises. When you consider that athletes, musicians, dancers, and others who need to do precision work with their muscles all limber up before their tasks, it makes sense that the right kind of practice helps surgeons, too.”
Game designer Noah Falstein shares some enthusiastic thoughts about healthcare, games, and virtual reality in a Road to GDC feature for Glixel.
Let’s Talk About… Violent Video Game Research
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“By now you’ve heard it again: that familiar sound of a politician coming out against violent video games after a horrific mass shooting. This time it started with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, and was followed by President Trump. A Rhode Island State Representative, Robert Nardolillo, announced plans to raise taxes on violent video games to pay for mental health and counseling in schools.”
Gamasutra breaks down what we already know about video games and violence — which is, as it turns out, quite a lot, with little of it supporting the moral panic currently surrounding the issue.
Do Videogames Turn Us Into Bad People?
“This does not mean that a game will turn you into a bad person. Rather, games can reinforce a tendency towards negative social behavior by being permissive of it. In one survey-based study it was concluded that, generally, people do not play games to experiment with their morality. Their actions are informed by their personal beliefs, but also guided by the game’s narrative or mechanics. They can easily be swayed in a different direction. That direction, I would argue, can be dictated by reward incentives for self-centric, over selfish, player behavior.”
The violence issue aside, there are reasons to be concerned about the messages we’re picking up from the games we play. Paste gets into detail on that subject.
Brains of the Family: A Psychologist Examines Black Panther’s Shuri
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“To be sure, T’Challa is a really smart individual. But his younger sister’s intellect is next level. A techie extraordinaire, she is Q to his Bond, Alfred to his Batman. Not only does she equip and outfit her brother (including with a kinetic energy-absorbing, nanite-controlled suit), she designed the advanced infrastructure for Wakanda’s vibranium mining operation.”
Shrink Tank rates fan favorite (or at least, my favorite) Black Panther character Shuri on a scale of heroism that takes psychological factors into account.
“I found Max’s battle to defeat her anxieties and to push through the self doubt she’d hammered into herself particularly enlightening. “Look at this crap, how can I show to this to Mr Jefferson?”, Max thinks about a photo she’s taken. It is a theme which dominates and holds her back for the majority of the game. The anxiety rife throughout much of the Life is Strange cast, especially Max’s, was incredibly reflective of my own.”
Writing for IGN, Seamus Mullins shares the ways Max’s coming of age story feel particularly familiar.
And with that, we’re off. If you’re at ECCC this weekend, we can’t wait to see you! Otherwise, we’ll be back Monday with more great stories. Until then, take care of yourselves — and each other.