“As the computing power of cell phones increases, more and more sophisticated mobile apps are being developed for the mental health field. They’re seen as a way to bridge periodic therapy sessions — a sort of 24-7 mobile therapist that can help with everything from quitting smoking to treating anxiety to detecting relapses in psychotic disorders.” – NPR
Here are a few we anticipate:
Little World, Big Mouth (Eating Disorders)
HappyScale Media Version 2.0
This simple but addictive game lets you choose from a variety of avatars with different eating disorders and “acute food issues.” Guide your avatar down a scorched, post-apocalyptic food-related terrain. On level one, earn points for darting heavily caloric foods slung by demon-like versions of authoritative figures such as school teachers, doctors, and parents. What is the most challenging aspect of this game? Your avatar has a gaping, whale-sized mouth that captures almost anything that falls in its path. Level two takes you into a more realistic, modern day world where objectives range from avoiding eye contact with restaurant billboards as your avatar drives along busy international highways, to high-quality HD shoot-outs with street gangs made up of Kellogs Brand cereal icons, including but not limited to, the Cookie Crisp Crook, Count Chocula, and a heavily armed Lucky Charms Leprachaun.
Players will appreciate a selection of avatars. Most popular is Muffie, the raw-vegan who hides the fact that she hates food with extremist political views that her family and friends find oppressive. The second most popular according to user polls is Porky, the blue dinosaur whose scattered past has forced him to replace one addiction for another.
The final level of Big Mouth, Small World is strategy-based! Plan and navigate your avatar’s escape from a futuristic in-patient treatment center teamed with zombie-like roaming nurses. Lose “thin points” if your avatar is coaxed into group therapy sessions and scheduled weigh-ins by the evil hospital staff. Available Online.
Guess That Rare Illness (Severe Hypochondria)
SafeWorld Technology Version 126.96.36.199.1.0
Did you know that your obsessive hypochondria is a thinly veiled manifestation of severe aggression? Guess That Rare Illness is a thorough, fact-based trivia game allowing you to match symptoms to one of four possible diseases. Guess correctly and move on towards more challenging third-world parasites that live in obscure parts of the digestive system. Try to figure out which one-in-a-million genetic condition is yours. Think that you have them all! After every correct answer, players are rewarded with a punching sound and a digital image of a fist punching a familiar-looking face. Incorrect answers are followed by a long, despairing sigh. Volume levels can be adjusted at the bottom of the screen. Available for iPad2.
I Didn’t Say That (Substance Abuse)
lolFace Inc. Version 3.1
Ever wish you could remember some of the truly unforgivable things you said during one of your two-day booze benders? I Didn’t Say That is an innovative, state-of-the-art application-game for iPhone that will change the way we think about being severely intoxicated.
With the help of a small chip that detects high levels of alcohol in the air around one’s mouth and pants pockets, the iPhone activates this application to turn on and begin recording your voice. A major advantage of this application is that it’s almost effortless: Simply download the application for an affordable price while you are sober or during a lucid time before you reach the point of “this-is-a-cry-for-help” belligerence towards which you are headed. I Didn’t Say That does all the rest!! Days later you can replay the things you can’t believe you said, all of which are already organized into four categories: Anger, Euphoric Romantic Confession, Mocking, and Mumbling, all based on a voice-intonation recognition system built into the application.
Now it’s time to play! Enjoy setting your own drunken utterances to music and/or auto-tune. Try editing them and sending them via text message, or create personalized voice-cards for family members, friends, and ex-lovers on special occasions. Compatible with iTunes and Garageband. Must be 17 years or older to download.
Thor The Ravager (Sexual Perversion, OCD, Non-Specified Psychotic Disorder)
Let’s face it, we all love the idea of sex and violence, but we’re also terrified of germs. From the makers of “The Harry Potter App,” Thor The Ravager puts the terrifying conflict between our primal drives and our socially-constructed fear of contamination to rest. Imaginations run free as we leave our 21st century woes behind and enter the Medieval world of Thor, a giant, anarchic Viking. Thor The Ravager has just returned to land from a long plundering expedition at sea. Now that he’s back, his sexual tendencies and voracious appetite for destruction will lead to some very interesting scenarios with the townspeople of Strathclyde!
Those who have long dreamt of touching another person intimately but are simultaneously disgusted by other human bodies and the concept of sex in general can finally enter a no-holds-barred imaginary lifestyle where filth and sexual misconduct are a full-time job. As Thor, destroy mercantile shops and chase after the town councilmens’ daughters. Attempt to see up the gowns and chemises of noblewomen, every so often setting fire to the highly flammable homes of peasants. (All the while, worry not about the things that would usually start your obsessive hand-washing cycle, like feeling guilty for wanting to lick someone’s sweaty arm. You are safe now, in a far-away imaginary world of Medieval violence.)
Finally, Thor’s energetic pillaging rampage leads him toward the Castle of Shropshire, where the Queen’s midwife Hildred lives. Issues relating to fear of childbirth, primal scenes, and death are confronted as Thor must make it to the birth of the first-born son of the Throne in order to ravage the midwife and escape the scene without being executed. This app is strongly recommended by the Princeton Review for high school students preparing for the SAT II European History exam.
Jaji and Tako (Social Anxiety, Fear of Adulthood)
Nooby Software Version 5.1
This pathetic, multi-player online game from Japan explores new ways of coping with paralyzing social anxiety. Jaji and Tako’s world is composed of vaguely people-like round colored balls that talk to each other, shop for clothes, eat at restaurants, and play online games. The balls can interact with other balls by saying some of these customized phrases: “Hello. Sunshine is my happy time”; “Talk to me more”; “I am on the computer”; and “I am a shy kitty.” In an effort to make players feel comfortable about themselves, all issues related to bad thoughts, sexuality, sex, violence, cold, heat, gender, existentialism, physical discomfort, and the reality of being over the age of nine is left out of the gentle hills, valleys, and westernized malls of Jaji and Tako. Those who love Jaji and Tako 1, might enjoy these games as well: Hamburger Walk, Yip Yip Puppydogs, and Oshirenju Pond. Available on any social networking site for free.
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