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Elude by Doris C. Rusch - Games for Health Europe 2011
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Elude by Doris C. Rusch - Games for Health Europe 2011


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Elude - Playing the Opposite of Play …

Elude - Playing the Opposite of Play

The purpose of this presentation is twofold: First, to share with attendants the process and results of an exciting collaboration between video game design research and child psychiatry that fruited in Elude, the video game on depression. Second, to explore opportunities for use of specifically designed video games in mental health care.
For many, a video game on depression may seem impossible or at least intangible. After all, the opposite of play is not “work”; it is “depression”. Yet, application of video game design research with input from psychiatry culminated in Elude, a polished yet controversial video game prototype about depression that intends to make the feelings of this dangerous, mental illness experientially tangible. Such a game may make it possible for friends and relatives of people living with depression understand what their loved ones are going through.
The game approaches depression from a subjective point of view. It models the inner experiences during depression that seldom find a voice. Elude’s overall structure and mechanics were designed over the course of 2010 at Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab’s summer program by Doris C. Rusch with Atilla Ceranoglu as medical advisor who ensured clinical accuracy of the modeled system.
During the presentation, you will get a chance to see a demonstration of the finished game and learn about the development process, which included many hard decisions that balanced the developers’ desire for creative freedom with the necessity to keep the core vision in place and the game’s metaphors consistent. We will also explore further opportunities for Elude and other video games in the service of mental health counseling.

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  • 1. Elude - playing the opposite of play Doris C. Rusch; G4H Europe, 2011Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 2. game design researcher meets therapist at: Doris C. Rusch, Dr. T. Atilla Ceranoglu, M.D. MIT GAMBIT Game Lab Mass. General Hospital aceranoglu@partners.orgThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 3. research: games tackling the human condition + purposeful game designThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 4. our concept of choice:Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 5. Facts on Depression • 2.2 million depressed adolescents in 2004 • More than twice likely to use drugs • 7% may commit suicide • Less than half (40%) received treatment ...Under-response!Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 6. Step 1: defining the purpose of the gameThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 7. NOT to cure depression but: • informing friends and relatives of depressed • increase understanding of how depression manifests • generally, raise awareness for this dangerous mental health issueThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 8. step 2: defining the design approach to inform and raise awarenessThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 9. embracingThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 10. modeling “what it feels like”Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 11. not preachy!Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 12. depression is about loss: loss of meaning loss of goals loss of control loss of agency loss of playfulness loss of sense of self loss of focus loss of energy loss of voiceThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 13. games are about playThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 14. play is a state of mind expansiveness, freedom, joy!Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 15. depression is the opposite of playThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 16. In order to make “loss” tangible, the game will also model that which is lost. It aims to show the contrast between playfulness / agency and depression / loss of agency and the transition between the two in an experiential way.Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 17. Step 3: translating high level ideas into concrete game structureThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 18. game world = emotional landscapeThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 19. objective: tap happiness potentialThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 20. conflict: mood struggle you want to get “up”, but antagonistic force tries to bring you “down”Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 21. normal = n happy = h structure: transition = t depression = d h h n n n n t t t d d dThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 22. the importance of passionThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 23. step 4: putting the flesh on the skeleton: creative freedom, metaphors and nuances of meaningThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 24. struggling against “down” force, take I:Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 25. struggling against a “down” force, take IIThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 26. struggling against “down” force, take IIIThursday, November 3, 2011
  • 27. Thursday, November 3, 2011
  • 28. thanks! questions? drusch1@cdm.depaul.eduThursday, November 3, 2011