A group of scientists from Finland is now developing a “therapeutic action game” to treat depression. It won’t replace therapy or drugs but will help ease the symptoms.


Screenshot from the upcoming game

A research group from Aalto University is responsible for an unnamed project. Professor Matias Palva leads the team, and they came up with the idea when they were studying amblyopia, or lazy eye.

Scientists noticed that patients improved their vision after playing a special training video game, while drugs didn’t affect their visual activity at all. “We noticed that the targeted video games make it possible to alleviate the symptoms of a brain disease that was thought to be permanent,” Palva says.

According to the researchers, their project looks like any other modern video game but has a complicated network of features, which can produce a therapeutic effect. Patients, who actively played the first version of the game for eight weeks, saw their cognitive function improved.

Despite the scientists’ plans and desire to help people, the game isn’t suitable for older people and for patients who have severe psychotic depression.

Now the researchers of Aalto University are looking for a game designer, programmer, and artist, and say that the development will continue through the summer of 2022. The project has a budget of under €1 million, but the developers also attracted additional funding of €500,000.