May 12, 2007

Second Life, Sim Therapy and CyberPsychology

Filed under: Good Health To You!,Think on These Things — Katryna Starks @ 7:21 pm

There are several games that people call “God games” because the player controls a bunch of little human-like avatars, usually created in his/her own image, or the idealized one. I have played The Sims and it is, quite frankly, addictive. A similar online game called Second Life is popular now. These games blur the line between artificial reality and real reality. In Second Life, people buy virtual real estate with real money, and some companies even set up virtual presences – complete with online staff meetings.

When I played The Sims, I noticed something about my playing style. It was almost like free therapy (well, free minus the $20 I payed for the game). When I started playing, I created a little “me” and gave her my values, my attributes and my lifestyle. Then, I played the game. Soon after starting, I crashed and burned. But, I learned something. The little life meter for my SimSelf was always low in certain areas, like “social” and “rest”. When I backed away from my computer, I realized that my real life meter was low in those areas as well. I soon stopped playing the game and resolved to enhance my real life.

I think that is the real value of “God games.” Not the ability to control and create our own little selves in our ideal worlds, but the ability to learn from our mistakes in a virtual environment, where the consequences aren’t as dire. Instead of using these sorts of games as an escape from reality, we can use them as a learning tool to enhance our real lives and make them even more thrilling than a game.

March 8, 2006

Upscale Your Tastes!

Filed under: Good Health To You! — Katryna Starks @ 1:17 pm

if you can’t stick to a diet because you can’t resist certain cravings, like chocolate, indulge yourself in the hard-to-find, most expensive, best-tasting version of that treat you can find. Eventually, two things will happen. 1 – you’ll develop a taste fot the expensive treat, which means you will be less tempted by lower-end versions you see in the grocery store and 2 – your pocketbook won’t allow you to indulge in the treat very often. Together, this means you’ll eat less of the “bad stuff” but it will be a truly satisfying experience the few times you do.