Digital Gaming and Health


   Today, information and communication technologies are increasingly taking place in daily life. Communication technologies, which have become an integral part of our lives, provide many conveniences thanks to the different areas in which they are used. Digital games also attract attention in this field with the increasing number of players. With the popularity of games that fulfill much more than entertainment purposes, game-based learning has also started to attract attention.

   When we think of games, we think of many different scenarios. So what is a game in short?

   A game is a physical and mental struggle within the framework of predetermined rules that a player should and should not do for a goal or purpose. Digital games are games played on any digital device, ranging from personal computers to game consoles, tablets or mobile phones.

   Contrary to popular belief, games are played by both children and adults. The history of games is older than the history of writing. Video games first appeared in the 1970s. Starting with Japanese and Korean arcade games and gradually evolving, they evolved into the digital games of today.

   In new learning techniques, the virtual world and the real world are intertwined by creating fiction with digital devices. In this way, we have the opportunity to experience what we experience in the real world or the possibilities that may occur in the real world in a virtual environment. In this article, I will talk about the increasingly popular digital health games.

   Games for learning in health are used to develop health knowledge, skills and behaviors. Digital health games are a very good example of the use of digital technology in health promotion; the number of games and the use of games is increasing. Different types of visual, audio, written communication in the digital world allow for different and more creative learning techniques than traditional learning processes. For example, it is important to use digital games that support and motivate behavior change to promote good health and nutrition habits.

   Digital health games, which are accepted as a creative and effective strategy in raising health literacy awareness, appear in different fields. On the one hand, these games provide users with tips for healthy living in a fun way; on the other hand, they teach basic information about the functioning of the body. In this context, health games can be used as a complementary method in many areas such as improving quality of life, rehabilitation, learning about various diseases and learning ways to combat them.

   Digital health games can be categorized under three main headings: Treatment, education and high technology.


  1. Treatment: Psychological therapy, physical therapy, physical enhancement uses.

As an example of therapeutic games, Re-Mission is one of the first examples that emerged to help children with cancer better adapt to their treatment.

Re-Mission: The character in the game fights for health deep inside the human body. An entertaining example of education, the project is designed to give morale to patients and teach them how to control and treat their illnesses.



   Jordi-Stick, Touch Surgery: surgical videos, Fitness RPG – Gamify Your Pedometer, Fabulous: Self Care are other examples of therapeutic games in digital health.


  1. Education: Permanent and fun education, realistic education with simulations, education to unlock potential.

   Dr. House: An example of games used especially by medical doctors is Dr. House, which offers the opportunity to examine the patient for any disease findings by playing games with Dr. House and his talented team. Even though it is an old game, for House lovers, it offers the opportunity to experience the events that take place in the series and keep the excitement about diagnosis at its peak.

  1. High Technology: Contributing to production, being a user.

As in every situation, there are disadvantages as well as advantages. Time and cost are the most important problems in digital games. The development of games is a time-consuming process. Some games take more than three years to develop. At the same time, the cost is high, millions of dollars can be spent. Graphics, animations, interactivity created to attract the attention of the audience increase most of the costs.

  There are also limited studies on how the expected behavioral change in digital health games is influenced by the age, culture, clinical status, level of digital and health literacy, as well as other personal characteristics of the users. Evidence-based information on the psychological aspects of behavior change is therefore needed.

   I believe that we have the competence to do much more in this age where we are trying to keep up with the developing technology. The important thing is to direct our efforts to the right field. I wanted to show what opportunities even the gaming industry, which we take for granted, offers. I hope we can now look at games with a more receptive eye.

   Hope to learn by having fun!


[1] Avcı, K., Avşar Z., (2016) Dijital Sağlık Oyunları, TRT AKADEMİ, 01(2).



Hazal Şahin


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