[games_access] Research questions about games helping veterans

hinn at uiuc.edu hinn at uiuc.edu
Sun Nov 18 13:09:19 EST 2007

I know I get all the acronyms mixed up -- and I was born in raised in DC! -- so thanks for the advise, Mark! Mark and I had an email discussion the other night about this so I really feel like we're at a place of convergence with thinking about disabled veterans. I think Ben may know of some other opportunities that do include the DOD but I believe that the VA is a definite opportunity.

All of my calls from the military have been from the VA -- I think that the DOD seems to be more interested in games that get people recruited for and trained for military service but I could be entirely wrong -- as Mark mentioned, the DOD is concerned with stabilization of injured veterans but they are not about long term care. This is just the reality of how different branches of government are broken down.

The VA definitely gets us -- and it doesn't matter if you are pro or con the current world military situation...at least in my opinion. The issue is that we have people that have been hurt and not being helped (no matter what the reason) and that is not OK. The VA does a tremendous job but they need our help and they are a friendly audience.


---- Original message ----

>Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2007 11:00:43 -0500

>From: Ioo <ioo at ablegamers.com>

>Subject: Re: [games_access] Research questions about games helping veterans

>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org>




> If you are really looking for a grant in this area, I would not go to

>the DOD for it, I would go to the VA. For the most part the DOD

>stabilizes vets, determins there ability to contune there service and if

>that results in discharge the VA takes it from there. I know this

>because I am a Disabled Vet, disabled on the job (non-combat), and I

>work here in Washington DC (and that is all I am going to say about that).


>The VA has money to give out, they are the ones that take care of Vets

>long term and they are the ones that would love to get a hold of things

>like we are speaking of. The DOD would use would benefit from these

>items, but they almost aways come out of the VA.


>For all of those that care. The VA and the DOD are not the same. They

>are 2 completely different agencies with different missions and

>different budgets. Best way to think about this is DOD Medical

>stabilization, VA is maintenance.


>Just a thought

>Mark Barlet



>Ben Sawyer wrote:

>> The likely approach for DoD is an SBIR grant - those must involve

>> commercialization but such a path for one switch is easily done. The

>> issue for DoD SBIRs is they are US based so we'd need a u.s. based

>> organization to submit for one (provided there is a call for one to

>> begin with which is another story).


>> In the UK such a similar grant would come from the MoD.


>> There will be many different types of schemes for

>> grants/support/commercialization of course. The conference should

>> explore things like this.


>> - Ben


>> On Nov 18, 2007, at 6:11 AM, Barrie Ellis wrote:


>>> I am very anti-war - and really don't like a lot of the

>>> hyper-realistic FPS a lot of these soldiers seem to like playing

>>> reading reports. These are pretty nasty games in my eyes. Give me Uo

>>> Poko any day of the week. This said, I'd happily see Department of

>>> Defence money taken for building accessible controllers for giving

>>> people some fun who can't otherwise. Do you think this is likely to

>>> happen? What might be the best approach?


>>> I have had a few people approach me stating that they are supporting

>>> soliers that have lost limbs, mostly looking towards one handed

>>> controllers as a solution to gaming. If we could get the DragonPlus

>>> RPG DuoCon2 one-handed controller back into production, this would

>>> aid a lot of one armed gamers. Unfortunately, we'd need to have to

>>> guarantee a lot of sales

>>> (http://www.ncsxshop.com/cgi-bin/shop/SAM-PS2RDC2.html - National

>>> Console Support suggest 20,000 sales) to see this likely to happen.


>>> Although Ben Heck seems to be having some success in getting a

>>> one-handed controller manufactured:

>>> http://gameaccessibility.blogspot.com/2007/10/access-controller-finds-manufacturer.html

>>> - It does not look to be the ideal solution for all.


>>> Barrie

>>> www.OneSwitch.org.uk



>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ben Sawyer" <bsawyer at dmill.com>

>>> To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>

>>> Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 10:48 AM

>>> Subject: Re: [games_access] Research questions about games helping

>>> veterans



>>>> There is some emerging evidence that virtual environments help

>>>> veterans with PTSD as long as it's part of a very scaffold and

>>>> supported therapy.


>>>> The more specific question might be are some of these cases (the

>>>> non- PTSD induced ones) a result of veterans who suffer pain and

>>>> suffering due to disabilities, reduced social atmosphere, etc.


>>>> PTSD is a very debilitating problem but it's well worked on by

>>>> others like Skip Rizzo, Russ Shilling, and others in the

>>>> cyberpsychology realm.


>>>> In terms of drugs and alcohol while there are ideas for games that

>>>> help here they are more suited to teens, etc. then well worn

>>>> veterans. There was some work by the Marines to use a game for

>>>> anti- drug efforts in the Marines - I need to find out more about

>>>> that project and if it produced results.


>>>> The issue of whether games work or not or especially vs. other

>>>> media/ processes or within them is a big part of some of the major

>>>> funding RWJF is providing to the games for health community through

>>>> Health Games Research. However, it's hard to do comparative media

>>>> studies and it's likely we might not know for sometime these

>>>> differences. It's also more likely that we parse using games vs.

>>>> not based on the goals we have and how they map well to things

>>>> games are accepted as doing quite well such as motivation and

>>>> distance socialization.


>>>> Where the SIG and its members might do well in looking at veteran

>>>> issues/defense needs is in adaptation of controllers and creation of

>>>> games for people who have suffered various ambulatory injuries and

>>>> for people with rehabilitation needs from head injuries, etc.

>>>> These would obviously have crossover use to civilians suffering

>>>> from the same issues be they by birth or accidents not involving

>>>> warfare. Unfortunately it is likely the DoD has more $$ more

>>>> easily available to tackle these issues then do private civilian

>>>> side sources.


>>>> - Ben




>>>> On Nov 17, 2007, at 3:58 PM, Reid Kimball wrote:


>>>>> Michelle's recent post about veterans seeking relief through games

>>>>> reminded me I saw this the other day. Truly staggering and mind

>>>>> boggling the numbers of veterans that aren't getting the help they

>>>>> need.


>>>>> http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/11/15/cbs-news-investigates-

>>>>> shocking-rate-of-veteran-suicides/


>>>>> "In 2005 alone, 125 veterans committed suicide each week and of the

>>>>> more than 88,000 vets returning from Iraq, more than 28% of them have

>>>>> experienced mental health problems."


>>>>> This is definitely an area we need to research, how much can games

>>>>> really help depressed veterans? Will it help them? Will it be abused

>>>>> like drugs and alcohol? Is it THE solution or is it best to include

>>>>> gaming as part of a larger therapy?


>>>>> -Reid

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these are mediocre times and people are
losing hope. it's hard for many people
to believe that there are extraordinary
things inside themselves, as well as
others. i hope you can keep an open
-- "unbreakable"

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