M. Plechawska-Wójcik, J. Grzesiak

Institute of Computer Science (POLAND)
The paper presents the model of the serious game designed to raise the awareness of the depression disease. The game is dedicated to wider audience of gamers, for people willing to empathize with the role of a patient suffering from the depression disease. The game aims to raise the level of knowledge about this disease and let a user to feel as a depressed person. The aim of the paper is to present the process of the game development including the conceptual model, development and implementation of the game and its deployment. What is more, the paper presents and discuses the results of examination of the game impact of on users emotional states.

Serious games are gaining more and more popularity and they are applied in many areas such as education and training but also in health care, business and finance or engineering. Serious games differ from entertainment games in such aspects as less important richness experience, focusing on learning and introducing therapeutic elements. What is more, it was scientifically validated that playing chosen video and computer games not only de-stress, but also help patients to fight against depression and anxiety. Psychologists consider these games as a new way to reach and support people who need help.

Considering that current therapeutic strategies do not suffice and depression is characterized by high recurrence rates as well as life-long disease course accompanied by disability and social exclusion there is a great need to seek more solutions that can help tackle this global health problem. Continuous stress, professional and personal problems, poor diet, conflicted environment, negative way of thinking are just some of possible causes of depression. The game models these features with the set of choices based on the graphical elements. The model is based on the decision tree considering user’s state, feeling and also choices he/she makes.

The scope of the paper covers discussion of the serious games applications with an emphasis on medical and social issues. The game idea and its conceptual model is discussed and implementation details are presented. The game was used to perform a set of user tests to find the influence of the game on their mood.