Remember all those times Mother told you to put away the games to do your homework? Well it seems there is reason now to keep playing. HopeLab, a not-for-profit organization, combines research with innovative solutions to better the health and quality of life of young people with chronic illness. Their first product, Re-Mission, is a video game that allows a player to enter a virtual world where they can create an avatar and destroy cancer cells.
Conceptualized by Pam Omidyar, a tech enthusiast with a background in immunology and wife of eBay founder Pierre, Re-Mission is now recognized by Pediatrics, a prestigious medical journal that published patients who played for at least an hour a week were more likely to follow their drug regimen. Why? It seems that the specially designed video game improved treatment adherence and added much educational value while maintaining the focus of these young-quick-to-be-bored teens. As stated by Jennifer Acker, a Stanford School of Business Professor, “It doesn’t matter how many brochures you show a kid, he’s not going to want to [go to chemo]. But when you build an avatar called Roxy, have her shooting the cancer cells, and then when she feels weak you go get her a chemo tap … It’s incredibly powerful.”
With this newly popularized usage for video games, the possibility of how game mechanics can be applied to improve the lives of people are optimistic and endless. Even now, according to HopeLab president and CEO Pat Christen, the company is working on a technology to help defeat childhood obesity and autism. Now there’s a game we’d all like to win.
To learn more about the work of HopeLab or if you would like to show your support, visit their website.
Images from HopeLab on Facebook.