Video games often challenge a variety of mental capacities requiring the player to process information and to respond accordingly. With the right focus of application, video games have the potential to be effective therapeutic tools for addressing various cognitive abilities.
We've worked with University of St. Augustine Doctoral Occupational Therapy student, Tyler Brinkman, to compile the following list of games useful for this purpose. Each game on this list was subject to an activity analysis and was found to contain aspects of gameplay that predominantly utilize client factors and performance skills associated with cognition. Some of the identified client factors include attention, memory, thought, consciousness, temperament and personality. Performance skills commonly identified within these games include: paces, attends, heeds, uses, initiates, and sequences among others.
Skills that can potentially be addressed using the following video games include:
- Task Simulation: Games that require the completion of real-world tasks. This can be therapeutically useful for individuals who have various cognitive deficits. Properly executing a simulated task requires the use of several mental processes all at once. Results from the simulation can then be applied to the real-world counterpart.
- Problem-Solving: Games that demand a logical solution to situations with given resources. This can be therapeutically useful for individuals to independently identify and process a given scenario and effectively take actions to produce a desired result.
- Memory and Attention: Games that require recall and observation. This can be therapeutically useful for getting individuals to recall information and direct their attention. The aim is to improve memory and attention for use in everyday life.
The in-depth activity analysis for each game can be read in Tyler Brinkman's Video Game Analysis
. This provides the therapeutic benefits that each game was found to offer.
This list includes 12 games from the last 6 years, with 711 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to use games for cognitive therapy. We break them down into the following areas: