What We’re All About

Virtual Medicine is a page dedicated to changing perceptions around video gaming. We got fed up with people seeing games simply wasting time, or associating them with laziness and violence.

Virtual Medicine aims to show people that video games can provide so many benefits, from improving cognitive ability, to helping with lateral thinking and even helping those with mental and physical illness.

Not only that, but we want to promote the use of gaming in education and the workforce. Gamification can provide great benefits in terms of motivating employees and students, giving them a great way to engage in ways that no other medium can.

Feel free to ask us any questions, and please share our stuff around!

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It’s Entirely Up To You

If you’re a person who plays video games a little bit or a lot, yet regardless you truly enjoy them as a hobby, or as part of your lifestyle, then it is entirely up to you to change people’s perceptions about what video gaming is and who video gamers are.

This blog is loaded with ammo that you can use to prove the usefulness of video games, and remind people that it isn’t simply a “waste of time”, and it certainly isn’t just a phase. Video games are social, they can help the ill, they can make you smarter, faster, they promote cognitive thinking, they help you think laterally and teach you how to solve problems. Last time I checked, the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory didn’t do that, and plenty of people spend hours on end watching that show (god knows why).

If you’ve played games for a while, I can say without a doubt that you have found memories playing video games with others til the early hours of the morning, or locking yourself in a room to play Bioshock Infinite back to front because the story line is just that good.

Playing games is something that you should be proud of, as it puts you within a community of great people (contrary to would some might have you believe), and the product itself is unlike no other.

So next time someone calls you out for playing video games, tells you to get a life or snarls that it’s bad for your health, tell them otherwise.

A Balanced View of Gaming.

I wanted to level the playing field a bit, and allow my readers to understand that I do in fact realise that video gaming can pose negatives, if it is overused, just the same as anything can. I mean, if you eat too many bananas, it’s bad for you. Seriously bad.

Video games can be addictive, and many of the benefits of gaming that I’ve spoken about require that the user plays in moderation, or under the right circumstances. Playing Portal for a few hours a week will help boost your reaction time and cognitive behaviour, but constantly playing it non-stop may not have that effect – it may diminish your concentration or personal life.

Think of video games as fruit and veg in your diet. Sure, vegetables and fruit are great for you, but if you exclusively eat fruit and vegetables every single day without any proteins or iron, then your body will start to diminish and you won’t feel all that healthy. It’s about striking the right balance between playing games, getting physically fit and stimulating your mind in other ways.

There’s a great article about this that I shared on our Facebook page on this topic. The article was based around a study of children who played games from 1-3+ hours per day. The children who played around an hour per day were better adjusted, yet those who played over 3 hours a day were worse off. If you want to read more about this, you can check out the article here

Games are art: Morality vs Choice

Painting with Pixels

The biggest difference between film and video games is the agency of the player. Though it’s not always the case and it doesn’t always have to be, players are able to make decisions that can change the course of the story. It’s this agency that can be the best advantage for video games moving forward as a medium. But in order to take full advantage of this potential, game developers need to understand the difference between morality and choice.

Certain games like the Mass Effect series and the Infamous series pioneered the idea of morality based decisions where the player could choose at certain points in the game between the “good option” and the “bad option”. These choices could change everything from the story itself to how the characters looked and played. Often, the “bad choices” would result in the character looking more and more evil, with Infamous’ Cole McGrath…

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Video Games May Be Good for Your Kids!

Family Gamer Mom

According to a study from Oxford University published in the journal Pediatrics, up to an hour of video games each day can actually be good for kids.  The kids in the study were ages 10-15 and showed signs that they were less hyperactive, more social, and happier than those who did not.  The key, it seems, has to do with the amount of game play.  Less than an hour seems to be best.  An hour to three hours shows no positive or negative effects.  And, over three hours a day resulted in kids who are “less well-adjusted.”  (But they also made sure to mention that video gaming did not play as big of a difference in behavior as family and personal relationships).

A TON of articles have been written about this study.  Check a few of them out below:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/video-games-can-be-good-for-kids-study-finds/

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/08/04/study-finds-that-children-benefit-from-playing-video-games

http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20140804/could-a-little-video-game-play-be-good-for-kids

http://www.today.com/health/video-games-are-good-you-little-bit-1D80005579

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Customer Service made Fun by Gamification

Info Systems in Practice

Description: This traditional customer service experience is process-oriented, tedious, and it leaves customers frustrated and dissatisfied, says Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO, FreshDesk.

Source: cio.com

Date: March 3, 2014

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FreshDesk uses gamification to incent employees to provide fast, effective and fun customer service for helpdesk ticketing, automation and customer forums, says Mathrubootham. The model for the solution was Apple’s Genius bar, he says.

“Our first thought was, ‘How do we make this more fun and more engaging for the people providing the support?'” Mathrubootham says. “Obviously we wanted happy customers, but what we realized from talking about models like Apple’s is that happiness is contagious.”

If the customer service agents are happy, engaged and invested in delivering quality support, then they will pass that onto customers. And gamification can be a great way to increase this engagement and satisfaction both from an agent and a customer standpoint,” Mathrubootham says.   READ…

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The Reason We Game

With so much debate about the positive and negative effects of games, the current state of the industry and the over analysis of every aspect of a new game, from graphics to dialogue, we often forget the real reason that we play games, and why we’re so passionate about games.

It’s simply because they’re undeniably fun, and they connect people.

Video games have done this since Pong was designed for an arcade system. The explosive growth of online video games is for this exact reason. People love being social, and exploring a fictional, interactive world with a friend? You’re kidding me, how could that not be fun?

Whether it’s playing an online game with a group of friends, or all sitting in the same room with a few controllers, games seem to always have a way of bringing people together. Single player games even bring people together – people love to chat about their own experiences with a game, or even how frustrated they are when they’re stuck a difficult point stage.

If you’re a follower of the idea that video games are a bad hobby to have (which I disagree with), then there that is the one thing you cannot deny. No one has ever sat down with a group of friends and a few pizzas and play games and finished the night saying, “damn that was an extremely boring night, I really wish we hadn’t done that.”

And spending $60 on a game that a group of people can play for hours on end? That’s cheaper than seeing a movie (per person, anyway)

Hmm… I might go play some games right now.

World of Warcraft And Your Personality

I read an research piece in the journal of Computers & Education, and I wanted to write an article about it, because it struck me as interesting. Throughout my time playing online games, I’ve always thought that strangers I meet online would act different over the internet than they would in real life, and I doubt I’m the only one that holds this sentiment.

That’s why this article by Michele Dickey struck me as especially interesting. The article detailed the findings of an experiment that involve getting an entire university class to play World of Warcraft (a popular, online role-playing game) in their free time after class. Dickey then noted how their online interaction effected the dynamic of relationships within the classroom as they played the game together more and more.

Funnily enough, Dickey notes that some of the shy, introverted characters in the class room had completely switched their role. Because they were somewhat mentoring other players on how to play the game in the online world, this attitude crossed over into the class room. Shy kids were becoming the mentors, they were much more expressive and many of the students were collaborating on the scale that they had not been before the video games was implemented into the classroom.

Speaking from experience, I think that this observation is more than just a one off. There are a fair few close friends of mine that I started to play online games with and the dynamic of our relationship has changed entirely, and always for the better.

Do you have any experience with the way in which online games has impacted real world relationships? Comment below and let me know!