I am a huge fan of the research around using video games for health behavior and social change and this week marked the 7th annual Games For Health conference. The conference is part of the Games Beyond Entertainment Week, which included the Serious Games Festival and Virtual Worlds and Health Day.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneering Ideas blog did a wonderful series on posts on the week’s events. In one post with panelist Dan Baden, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Public Health Practice, done for NewPublic Health, one of the questions focused on the ability of games to deliver health messages:
“NPH: What is the critical mass that you need in order for the games to be able to deliver public health messages?
“Baden: I think that they can be used to deliver public health messages at any size. But actually the number of people involved in games is enormous. The organizer of the conference was speaking in the same panel as I was in earlier today and was saying that of all demographic groups, only males over age 55 indicate that they watch more TV than use the computer. All the other demographic groups say they use the computer for multiple purposes and more than they watch TV. And the largest group of people to use what are called “‘casual games” is women between the age-mid 20s to mid 50s. There are lots of people that are doing this right now.”
Do you know anyone currently doing research using the concepts of serious games or games for health or other forms on interactive media? What about any developers in the Caribbean or of Caribbean origin? Share your thoughts on what issues are best addressed and which ones may not be good for games or simulation type interventions.