Sunday, 8 January 2017

Exploring pain.

I'm gaming again - I bought a Sony PSP years ago and then stopped using it when my charger failed about 5 years ago - which kind of tells you I wasn't that enthusiastic about it.

Anyway, at Christmas Robyn bought me a new charger and at odd moments I'm playing games again.

I should say that I don't like 'shoot 'em up' games at all - I can't understand why anyone would want a game based on how quickly or how brutally it's possible to kill someone or something.

I do like puzzles and especially racing fast cars, which is very odd.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that I drive a very elderly and very slow car and I drive it rather slowly. It even has a nickname; 'The Pimple', which gives you an idea how aerodynamic it is.

But as a gamer? I drive HUGE cars and I drive them very fast. I drive my rivals off the road. I skid them round corners - I DRIFT!

What's interesting about this is the effect it has on pain, which I get quite a lot of these days. While I'm playing I don't feel the pain at all and the effect lasts for about 3 to 5 minutes after I've stopped.

The most effective games are ones like 'Lumines', which is a repetitive game involving knocking out falling coloured blocks - a bit like 'Tetris' but more colourful and musical. 

                                     Image result for lumines

When you are playing well you fall into a rhythmic trance where your actions contribute to the music and the lightshow.

So I looked it up on the internet and there's a lot of work been done on this - it's called 'Pain Distraction' and it's a very real phenomenon.

Studies have shown that games (especially 3D) do reduce pain; both amongst adults and children. It has worked with both chronic pain and post-operative pain too.

Of course there is a high psychological element to pain anyway and the experiments were all influenced depending on what the participants were told was likely to happen.

So if you are in hospital and the nurses tell you they are trying to get you the really, really strong painkillers, when they arrive they are more likely to work because you believe they will.

Anyway, that's my excuse for gaming again.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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