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Portables (Games)

Game Boy Effective Kid Tranq 37

yali writes "A new study shows that Game Boys are better than tranquilizers for calming children before surgery. Kids allowed to bring Game Boys into the OR showed no change in anxiety (compared to a small increase with tranquilizers, and a big increase in a control condition.) Kind of puts a different spin on analogies between games and drugs."
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Game Boy Effective Kid Tranq

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  • by cdoty ( 94782 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @11:50AM (#11051728) Homepage
    And to think, we're buying them for our kids this Christmas to be an effective tranquilizer on road trips.
    • Yeah until they get car sick from playing it :).
    • The glare on the screen from the sun tends to make the display quite difficult to see. Unless you have some clever way to block out natural lighting in your car, they're often quite useless.

      Then again, the newer units should be backlit. So I suppose throwing a blanket over the kids in the back would be quite effective. Plus it acts as a sound buffer. Instant winner.
      • Re:No... Maybe? (Score:3, Informative)

        by calibanDNS ( 32250 )
        Buy a copy of Boktai [] or Boktai 2 [] and the sun is your ally.

        Also, the GBA SP is backlit, and you can mod the original GBA to add backlighting, so this is not really a big deal.
      • The glare on the screen from the sun tends to make the display quite difficult to see.

        I dunno about you, but I have never had a problem with my GBA SP in the passenger seat on long car rides. It actually works beautifully in sunlight, you can turn off the backlight and save battery power.
        • Nit pick I know, but the SP is actually front lit. The DS is back lit. Really, to me they seem almost the same in terms of visibility. The SP just has a habbit of throwing light out the top part of the screen from the internal light.

          Makes a good makeshift reading lamp if you've got nothing else :)

  • by FriedTurkey ( 761642 ) * on Friday December 10, 2004 @11:52AM (#11051754)
    As a frequent traveler, I still get a little scared during really rough flights. I whip out the gameboy and I don't really pay attention to what is going on anymore. Fear is all mental. The more you let your mind think, the more you are scared. Gameboys divert all thinking to trying to defeat the other army in Advance Wars.
  • and this study puts some validity to the feeling of being "in the zone" when playing a favorite game. I think it's a zen-like state where outside influences can easily be ignored. As for the link between gaming and drugs, I'd like to see a study where kids are given a game boy AND a bong... wouldn't even need the anesthetic!
  • Orthodontist (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @11:58AM (#11051827) Homepage Journal
    When I was a kid the orthodontist had gameboys for kids to play. But he wasn't very good about keeping batteries and games fresh. He did have Metroid II and Zelda: Link's Awakening. I think its rather obvious that the reason the gameboy works is because it distracts the mind from thinking about it. Anxiety forms when you keep thinking about what they're going to do to you and how much it will be unpleasant. If you don't think about it, you stop worrying.

    Kind of like how the government and the megacorps use television to distract people so they don't worry about what's really going on in the world.
  • Child's Play (Score:5, Informative)

    by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:01PM (#11051873) Homepage Journal
    Considering the ramifications of this article, I urge any of you with spare cash/games to check out Child's Play []. It's a huge charity that collects video games and systems for children in hospitals, run by the folks at Penny Arcade []

    I normally don't plug things, but this is too relevant to the article to ignore, and it can help out a lot of kids.
  • and put 5 fingers to your kids face and be like "stop worrying or I'll give you something to worry about."
  • Kids allowed to bring Game Boys into the OR showed no change in anxiety (compared to a small increase with tranquilizers, and a big increase in a control condition.)

    This is probably because whatever part of the brain that tells us that there is 'danger' is distracted by the game. If you are busy thinking about the enemies inside the game, your brain has less of an ability to process the real danger of the upcoming operation.

    • I recently had Lasik surgery, which at the clinic I went to includes a 10-minute massage from a professional masseur prior to the operation. While this was very relaxing, I was still pretty freaked out during the procedure. If only I'd had my GBA...
  • by Mostly Monkey ( 454505 ) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:33PM (#11052200)
    I brought my DS with me before getting surgery last Tuesday for a pilonidal cyst and honestly it didn't do anything to calm my nerves. Even while playing I couldn't get the painful future recovery out of my mind. In my case I could look more into the future then kids despite distractions.
    • Yeah, I was going to comment on the same thing. When I get into that high anxiety state I can't focus on anything. Playing a game just makes me feel worse because I can't concentrate.

      It probably has a lot to do with personality though. I have yet to find a game that can divert my attention for more than 15 minutes even when I'm feeling great.

      With the exception of a couple of the original FPS games, there haven't been any really fun and interesting games since the 80's. Everything nowadays looks better
  • Now if they only allowed this before and maybe even during a job interview I wouldn't be a newrvous wreck.
  • Ironically... (Score:2, Interesting)

    ...I remember having surgery when I was a kid and having the doctor tell my mother to take my GB out of the hospital room, because Playing Video Games Is Bad For You(TM). Glad to see that the medical profession has changed its mind. And indeed, I find the argument that "video games destroy childrens' minds and will turn them into psychopathic lunatics" to have already been disproven, given that my siblings and I all grew up playing Nintendo/GB/etc. like there was no tomorrow, and now we're all scientists.

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