Archive | Gaming RSS for this section

Anatomical Pinball Table Combines 2 Of My Favorite Things



Canadian artist Howie Tsui redesigned a pinball machine to turn it into a crude simulation of a musket-ball rattling around a soldier’s guts for a War of 1812-themed exhibition currently running at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre at Queens University in Kingston. It’s meant to demonstrate the way that repetition and concentration can inure you to the horrors of war.

This would have been Awesome+1 if the flippers were leg bones.

A Brief History of Healthcare in Videogames

“…health-focused video games, including those for mobile platforms, now deserve serious attention.”

Interactive Games to Promote Behavior Change in Prevention and Treatment: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), March 2011

A lot of attention is being paid to gaming at the moment. Rightly so. Game modeling’s place in the toolkit of marketing is still in its infancy, but should and will gain traction in the months to come. I’ll be writing more on the subject in a later post (reprising a presentation on the subject I gave about a year ago) but thought it would be of some interest to trace the history of how health gaming evolved into the state that it’s in today.

In the beginning…

In 1971 Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger developed a game called Oregon Trail. If you’re around my age, no doubt you spent countless hours playing it. For those who are uninitiated, Oregon Trail is an educational simulator that was written to help teach students at Carleton College in Minnesota the details and events of the great westward expansion. To add to the realism, players could contract all manner of illnesses, including measles, snakebite, dysentery, typhoid, cholera and exhaustion. You could also drown or break a limb. It was the first video game where managing the overall health and wellness of your player (and family) was a key element of gameplay.

Oregon Trail

In 1978, Atari released Brain Games, a collection of cognitive challenges designed to help improve various aspects of mental function, like memory and problem solving. While the game was a commercial flop, it set the stage for a whole collection of games designed for mental fitness. Read More…