[games_access] Research questions about games helping veterans

hinn at uiuc.edu hinn at uiuc.edu
Mon Nov 19 17:19:34 EST 2007

Well, by telling injured war veterans that they can only play katamari is akin to telling any one disabled in any way that they can only play katamari. The core issue remains -- shouldn't more games be accessible? Period. If we start getting into issues of who gets to play what depending on how they were injured...we start down a slippery slope. Should someone who was disabled due to a mistake they made in any other situation be treated in that same way? We are not the morality police -- we are about game accessibility. That being said, why should we take any money from any government-related unit, including the NSF and NASA?

The sad reality is that many of our veterans are on the 3rd and 4th tours of duty and our military keeps sending them back, even those with documented PTSD (which is actually one area of my expertise being a psychologist). We have a situation where it's our most impoverished who are over there -- see how many members of the senate, etc who actually have sons or daughters that serve. Basically there's a major, major class division that has occurred and not every soldier is over there because they really, really want to be. The fact is...we have a veterans administration that is around to help the soldiers who are hurt that is NOT the same as the department of defense. The VA calls me all the time and why should I not tell them about controllers that they can use because of my position on the war (against). And the VA gets answers all the time -- why not seek funding from a group that needs us? We are not talking about funding from the same group that creates the violent games!
or military training.

But I agree with Ben, that our natural area of expertise should be focused on disabilities that require different design and controllers and not psychological issues unless we are pointing toward how games can serve as a way to improve quality of life for those who are disabled. That's a whole other area of research -- and showing rape victims rape scenario IS used in several forms of therapy to help break through and get the person talking about it so that they can come to a point of resolution in their lives about the rape so that they can begin to heal. But again, trauma is not what we are concerned with -- accessible games and controllers are.

I will say this on the list because by now you all know me to be a pretty open person -- as a rape victim from long ago, I can tell you that there are kinds of things that bug me with all different kinds of media. But I can turn off the TV, the game, etc. But if I so choose -- whether or not it's good for me or not psychologically -- I have the choice of participating in that media. The same should be true for gamers with disabilities.


---- Original message ----

>Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 16:06:31 -0500

>From: Ben Sawyer <bsawyer at dmill.com>

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

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


>There are differences from rehabilitation of physical injuries vs.

>those that are mental. I think the SIG's more natural tendencies lie

>in those with physiological disabilities acquired or inherited. We

>have an entire other group of people looking at mental issues with

>games including PTSD so my feeling is let those experts deal with that.


>As for the ethics of military funding I don't have the same issues

>with the military - my moral issues are with political leadership vs.

>the soldiers but I think it's important to consider that the SIG may

>want to confine it's acceptance of funds to veteran's affairs vs. the

>core active DoD. Or at any case it may decide not to take those

>funds but direct those agencies to entities within its community who

>don't have objections.


>As for dealing with Trauma through exposure therapy I think there is

>a decent body of research that supports this being an at times

>effective approach - especially with PTSD issues be they military,

>auto accident or other forms of trauma. As to whether they translate

>to criminal attacks that's beyond my scope as well.


>- Ben


>On Nov 19, 2007, at 3:07 PM, Eelke Folmer wrote:


>> Related to this I saw this on joystick this week:


>> http://www.joystiq.com/2007/11/10/president-bush-plays-video-games-

>> with-injured-soldiers/


>> I have moral issues with getting military funding; a simple solution

>> would just be to stop making more people with disabilities.


>> Aside from my personal opinion. I think this SIG should focus on

>> making games accessible. Researching how games can help deal with

>> trauma is a different research question which -at least for me- lies

>> outside of my field of expertise. If veterans have to play games they

>> should play katamari rather than violent FPS's in my opinion. Do you

>> help a rape victim deal with trauma by showing her a rape scene from a

>> violent movie? I'm very sceptic about this approach.


>> Cheers Eelke




>> On Nov 17, 2007 12:58 PM, Reid Kimball <reid at rbkdesign.com> 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

>>> _______________________________________________

>>> games_access mailing list

>>> games_access at igda.org

>>> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access





>> --

>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

>> ------

>> Eelke Folmer Assistant Professor

>> Department of CS&E/171

>> University of Nevada Reno, Nevada 89557

>> Game interaction design www.helpyouplay.com

>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

>> ------

>> _______________________________________________

>> games_access mailing list

>> games_access at igda.org

>> http://seven.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access



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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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