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Useful Games for Social Interaction Therapy

Many video games are a way to develop and sustain meaningful relationships with others. From a therapeutic perspective, this means they also have the potential to help individuals and groups develop their social interactions. This can include individuals with autism, down syndrome, traumatic brain injury or with sensory processing disorder.

We’ve worked with University of St. Augustine Doctoral Occupational Therapy student, Tyler Brinkman, to compile the following list of games useful for this purpose.

Each game on this list was subject to an activity analysis and was found to contain aspects of gameplay that predominantly utilize client factors and performance skills associated with social skills. Some of the identified client factors include higher-level cognitive function, temperament, personality, energy and drive. Commonly identified performance skills associated with social skills include: regulates, expresses emotion, discloses, and takes turns.

Skills that can potentially be addressed using video games include:

  • Cooperation: Game where you work together to achieve a goal. This can be therapeutically useful to get people working with one or many other individuals to achieve a common goal. This can be useful for individuals who have difficulties with this skill and insist on soloing an activity.
  • Impulsivity: Games that require restraint to manage resources and outcomes. This can be therapeutically useful to practice thinking before acting and seeing the unintended consequences. This can be useful to help individuals think about the consequences of actions and offset the tendency to act without thinking.

The in-depth activity analysis for each game can be read in Tyler Brinkman's Video Game Analysis report. This provides the therapeutic benefits that each game was found to offer.

This list includes 10 games from the last 16 years, with 303 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to use games for social skills therapy. We break them down into the following areas:

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 12
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB TEEN
Australian Ratings: G to M
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Platform, Puzzle, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 303
 

 

Cooperation

It Takes Two

It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells a story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly trap the clashing-couple in them. You and a friend...

Cuphead

Cuphead is a running, jumping and shooting game that looks like an old Mickey Mouse cartoon. You play on your own or with someone else and work across the screen, jumping gaps, shooting enemies and avoiding projectiles.

Death Squared

Death Squared is a cooperative puzzle game for 1, 2 or 4 players. Together, you solve puzzles by guiding a robot to a colour-coded goal. Getting there requires co-operation and communication as each player's path has deadly traps and hazards.

Impulsivity

Good Pizza, Great Pizza

Good Pizza, Great Pizza is a simulation game where you run your own Pizza shop, fulfilling orders from customers while making enough money to keep your shop open. You can upgrade your shop with new toppings and equipment to compete against your...

Under Review

Portal (Series)

You are in a science laboratory where you seem to be being tested. Watched by the artificial intelligence GLaDOS, you have a gun that can create a pair of magic portals on any surface: one is an entrance and the other is an exit. Through a series of...

Kingdom (Series)

Kingdome is a retro-look strategy game where you must defend your town from the nightly attack of zombies as you develop your technology and civilisation day-by-day. But unlike other tower-defence games – where you set up defences and fend off waves...

Bonkies

Bonkies is a co-operative building game where you construct buildings from different blocks. With a jetpack and a grab-arm you work with other players to manoeuvre the blocks into place. It starts quite simply but soon gets everyone shouting.

Fly Together

Fly Together is a strategy puzzle game where you need to direct planes to different airports so passengers can get to their destinations. You do this against the clock, by drawing flight paths and avoiding collisions in increasingly challenging action...

Peggle (Series)

In Peggle, you fire a small ball into an array of pins that are triggered and disappear when the ball touches them. It's like a bright, saccharine pachinko game. But being electronic you can earn all sorts of bonus balls and abilities by hitting...

Wargroove

This is a fantasy war game, similar to Advanced Wars from the Gameboy era, where players take turns in a variety of battles. Computer-controlled and human opponents compete to achieve objectives and be the last player remaining.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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