• The spooky Nevermind measures your heart rate to overcome anxiety
12.16.13

The spooky Nevermind measures your heart rate to overcome anxiety

Most horror games pride themselves on making your heart jump and hands shake, but here’s one that strives to relieve those nervous symptoms. The upcoming Nevermind, headed by Erin Reynolds, is the type of haunted house you’ve come to expect from a survival horror game: you’re isolated in some surreal bizaro land, there’s gloomy “get ready to die” music piping through the speakers, and a substance that may be blood or just Prego is smeared across the slab of concrete. 

The object here, and this is a big difference, is to overcome those feelings of uneasiness. The game requires you to strap on a heart rate monitor, which measures factors that convey how stressed one’s feeling. This biofeedback teaches players to put the clamps on their anxiety, with the hope that the lessons learned in-game will cross over to real-life situations. Where was this game before my 2nd grade dance recital?

This is just the latest example of self-help games that actually looks like a good game. Others include That Dragon, Cancer, which is a lesson in coping with the tragedy of childhood cancer, and Silent Enemy, by Minority, the guys who made Papo y Yo, which addresses the significant topic of bullying. While unexciting mental health games have been used in child psychology for years, it’s good to see games that make a positive impact while still excelling as games.