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Useful Games for
Therapy Addressing
Motor Skills
 

Playing any video game requires a degree of movement from the player. However, motion-controlled games require a greater degree of movement and are therefore more useful from a therapeutic perspective.

These motion games can be applied in many different ways to positively affect neuromuscular control or an individual’s ability to control their own body. 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.

Tyler performed an activity analysis on each game and found them to contain aspects of gameplay that predominantly utilized client factors and performance skills associated with movement. These included vestibular function, proprioception, joint mobility and stability, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular function. Performance skills commonly identified within these games included: stabilizes, reaches, bends, grips, and coordinates.

Skills that can potentially be addressed using the following video games include:

  • Gross Motor Control: Games that require large movements. These can be therapeutically useful for getting individuals to perform large bodily movements, usually involving the whole of the arms, legs, and trunk. This can improve the range of motion and strength for their traversal of everyday spaces.
  • Balance: Games that require full body motion and control while standing. These can be therapeutically useful for getting an individual to keep their body upright and resist falling while performing various actions. This can improve the ability to navigate through an environment safely and can reduce the risk of falls.

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 15 years, with 140 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to use games for movement therapy. We break them down into the following areas:

Balance

Ring Fit Adventure

Ring Fit Adventure is a running and jumping adventure game with a difference. You control your character with the circular plastic Ring-Con in your hands and Leg-Strap on your leg. The game can then tell how much you are moving and relate that to...

Gross Motor

Switch Sports

Switch Sports is the latest version of Wii Sports. It brings the classic motion sports game up to date with new sports and ways to play. You can compete in six sports, including Tennis, Volleyball, Golf, Football and Bowling. The novelty, as ever, is...

Active Arcade

Active Arcade is a motion controlled set of puzzle and action games. You control the action in the game by standing in front of your smartphone camera and moving your body, arms and hands.

Arms

Arms is a fighting game where you brawl other players with your abnormally long arms. The play is simple with motion and button controls to move around and attack the enemy player in a boxing-style arena. It's like Wii-Sports Boxing but with many more...

Under Review

Just Dance 2022 (Series)

Just Dance 2022 is part of a physically active rhythm game series. Dancing in front of each other isn’t something we often do in families. Just Dance is released with new songs and features each year. It gets parents, carers, children and even...

1-2-Switch

1-2-Switch is a series of party games that use the Switch Joy-Con controllers in imaginative and unusual ways. Although it looks like a novelty, the focus on physical motion and activity rather than just what's on the screen makes this surprisingly...

I Am Bread

I Am Bread takes the malleable, real-world physics gameplay and applies it to a slice of bread. By controlling each corner with a different stick or button you make your way around the kitchen and other rooms of the house. Playing a slice of bread is...

You Suck at Parking

You Suck At Parking is a tactical racing game where the ultimate goal is to stop in a parking spot. The game features cartoon-style parkour racing tracks with loops, sharp bents, bombs and other hazards, on the route to a parking spot.

Bounden

Bounden is a smartphone dance game that gets players to use their bodies. Two people hold opposite ends of one smartphone and then move together to keep a cursor over the ball.

Fingle

Fingle is a Twister-style physical puzzle game played on a smartphone or tablet screen with your fingers rather than limbs. Like the popular tangley board game, it plays to this physical interaction with other players. "Explore the intimate touch of...

Bam Fu

Bam Fu is a competitive puzzle game where you must change coloured icons to match your colour by tapping them. The novelty is that you play with up to four other people on one device. Each person competes to turn the tiles to their colour. It's an...

Jump Rope Challenge

Jump Rope Challenge is a virtual skipping game where you hold the Switch controllers like rope handles and skip. The game displays an on-screen counter and you can play with another person at the same time as you compete for a high score.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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