Games that distract players from physical pain or the symptoms of chronic conditions.
The best games for this category have easy-to-learn game mechanics and rewarding, short game sessions. The quick pace of gameplay in Platformers, Arcade Racers and fast-action Puzzle games can engage a player’s mind and body in a way that is especially effective for pain management. Dynamic visuals and high-energy sound design can also be helpful to distract from discomfort.
Games that improve mood and discourage negative thought patterns.
These games in the Racing, Matching Puzzle, and Action genres have been selected for both their rewarding gameplay and pleasant overall atmosphere. They feature relatable, charming characters and forgiving difficulty options to keep players from becoming discouraged. Immediacy of gameplay is also a key factor; for players in emotional distress, being engaged by a task can help to alleviate feelings of dread or regret.
Boredom (Short-Term Stay)
Games that entertain players in waiting rooms or short-stay situations.
Games for short-term boredom are focused experiences that are smaller in scope and can be played quickly, in genres such as Racing, Fighting, and Arcade-style games. They are often designed to be replayed many times over, with rules that are easy to understand but difficult to master. Ideal titles for this symptom allow a player to start and stop frequently, with little to no persistence between play sessions.
Boredom (Long-Term Stay)
Games that provide more substantial entertainment for long stays or recurring patient recreation.
Titles recommended for this category are designed to hold a player’s attention over many play sessions. They emphasize story more than many other titles, and have more nuanced mechanics that may take a while for players to fully understand. Games for Long-Term Boredom are more immersive and (as the category name implies) require longer sessions than most of the other recommendations in this guide. More complex story-driven Action and Puzzle games fit in well here, as well as RPGs and Strategy titles.
Anxiety / Hyperactivity
Games that relieve discomfort and stress by calming the player and promoting a peaceful mood.
For players prone to anxiety, many games can unfortunately cause more discomfort than relief. The games curated for this category avoid the high-intensity play that define Arcade and Action games and instead focus on gentler experiences that engage a player’s critical thinking skills and creativity. Many of them feature soothing music and pleasant visuals to help relax the player. Casual Simulation titles and Puzzle games without time constraints are great choices here.
Games that offer low-impact entertainment for medicated or cognitively inhibited patients.
Recommendations for this category offer simplified mechanics and require less of the player than other titles while still remaining interactive and rewarding. These games place an emphasis on play and experimentation as opposed to winning or losing. With intuitive controls and little to no time constraints, players can learn and enjoy the games below regardless of their skill level. Non-linear games without mandatory goals and those that encourage the player to explore are recommended.