GDC 2011 organizers are focusing on health and healthcare in games for a one-day Serious Games Summit segment at the end of this month, including talks on WoW's 'blood plague' and nightmare protection through games.
Day one of the Serious Games Summit, taking place on February 28 during the Game Developers Conference 2011 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, will specifically address how games can change player behavior to improve physical and mental well-being.
In the Summit description, the advisors note that the day "will focus on health and healthcare, covering research and the many commercialized games in the health and wellness space that have launched the past few years."
Among the day's sessions is a talk on 'Video Game Play as Nightmare Protection,' in which Jayne Gackenbach from Grant MacEwan University will discuss studies that examine whether games can help ward off frightening dreams.
Gackenbach and colleagues "...have been studying the hypothesis that video game play might act as a protective mechanism against nightmares [using] a waking rehearsal [to respond] to threatening situations in games."
Also featured is a talk entitled 'Hakkar's Corrupted Blood Plague: How an Outbreak in WoW is Helping Epidemiologists Create Better Disease Models,' in which Rutgers University's Nina H. Fefferman examines how an accidental in-game plague in World of Warcraft could improve our understanding and our ability to react to such events in the future.