Heart-Monitoring Video Game Rewards Players For Managing Stress

Control your fears in the game, and you can control them in real life as well

The winner of a video game is normally determined by the fastest fingers or best hand-eye coordination, but what if you could win a game with the power of your mind instead? Erin Reynolds has created just such a game. It’s an immersive adventure-horror game called Nevermind that uses heart monitors to teach players to control their fear, and ultimately, win the game.

Players take on the role of  a “neuroprober,” a sci-fi psychologist who helps trauma patients uncover their most disturbing memories. The trick is to climb deeper into your subject’s mind and uncover as many memories as you can, without letting them consume you in the the process. If you’re afraid, the screen becomes hazy and shaky, which makes it hard to navigate. If this continues, terrifying events start to happen in an attempt to push you over the edge.

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“The more scared you are, the harder the game becomes,” said Reynolds, when talking with FastCoExist. “To complete the game, you have to get pretty good at learning how to manage your anxiety on the fly.”

Reynolds is interested in how video games can help people improve their lives in the real world, and started the project as a USC grad student in interactive media – which was heavily inspired by the movie The Cell. The game has so far helped her to learn about deep breathing, and how to remain calm when things get stressful in real life.

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Nevermind

Source, images: FastCoExist

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