Video Games as Effective as Morphine

“Nurse, time for 20 cc’s of Halo 3.”

This isn’t strictly speaking journalism-related, but I thought it was cool all the same . . .

Kotaku reports that some video games are more effective than drugs at controlling pain. And the research comes from Canada, no less. Aren’t we canucks clever?

Video Games Treat Pain Better Than Meds?

[…] in a recent study, researcher Simon Fraser found that subjects playing fully-immersive games (they tested a 3D skiing title) reported less pain than the subjects taking drugs.

While this is an interesting idea to pass the time, I wonder how the patients felt when they were done playing. And I wonder which meds were being tested…(is Mario better than morphine?)

Next time I get injured/ill/narrowly escape ninja assassination, I’m demanding that the hospital supply me with an Xbox 360.

It’s medicinal!

UPDATE: An amendment in the interests of accuracy – we’re journalists, here, after all. The researcher in question is not ‘Simon Fraser’ but Diane Gromala, Associate Prof at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology. . . at Simon Fraser University. It’s a big uni in British Columbia. Kotaku’s original post references a canada.com article where this is clearly mentioned, but after 90 seconds with a search engine I’ve found the original press release from SFU. Sloppy work, Kotaku, sloppy work.

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4 thoughts on “Video Games as Effective as Morphine

  1. Damn it I disagree. Just ask my kid brother who has scars on his face from when we used to play Streetfighter 2 on the Sega Megadrive. If he won too many matchs in a row, I’d hit him with the controller. I’ve also broken a glass table (playing Tony Hawks pro skater 2) and bitten my hand in anger playing EA’s SKATE most recently.

    So. I’d argue that gaming causes pain, especially on younger siblings… my hand… and glass tables.

  2. Ah now I know why I play games so much!

    Would/does any fully immersive activity prove to be more effective in pain relief than meds? Or is this specific to gaming?

    Happy Xmas Philip.

  3. Dunno . . . I suppose that anything that gets your mind off the pain is good. But I guess there are few things as mentally involving as a 3D gaming title, and not many you could do while immobilized in a hospital bed . . .

    . . . and if you’re so injured you can’t even hold a controller, that won’t be a problem for long. See this video from the Tomita and Ushida laboratory at Keio University in Japan.

    Imagine the impliacation for prostheses!

    Merry Christmas!

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