Do you often feel distracted? Agitated? Unable to cope in a world where your insatiable curiosity to break open pots for gold coins is frowned upon? Luckily, a revolutionary treatment has found a new way to game your system without any invasive procedures. If that sounds like the solution for you, go to your doctor and ask if they will write you a prescription for a video game.
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to EndeavorRx, which, despite sounding like a drug that helps with chronic diarrhea, is the first-ever medicinal grade video game. With the slogan "it's time to play your medicine," the iPhone puzzle-racer aims to alleviate ADHD in eight to twelve-year-olds and requires a prescription to download, creating the first generation of kids who can show their moms a doctor's note recommending playing five more minutes before it's time for bed.
To prove its medicinal efficacy, EndeavorRx undertook several medical trials, testing the game on more than 600 subjects over the span of seven years -- which explains why its graphics look more like an antacid commercial than a current-gen game. According to one of these studies, a child who takes 25 minutes of EndeavorRx every school day for four weeks "no longer had a measurable attention deficit on at least one measure of objective attention," and these buffs could last up to a month.
But the studies, which were paid for by the game's developer Akili Interactive, also agree that medicinal gaming shouldn't be used as a full "alternative" to traditional treatments, only as a supplement. The FDA's approval should be seen more as an encouragement to seek ADHD treatment options other than just pumping elementary schoolers full of Ritalin and calling it a day. Nonetheless, this ruling is a major victory for those who've been advocating that the health benefits of playing video games aren't just snake oil (and that includes playing Snake). It could open the floodgates for medical professionals considering the use of games in the treatment of such neurological disorders as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
So thanks, EndeavorRx, for showing the world that games can help take life off Hard Mode.
Warning: Video games are highly addictive. Consult your doctor before taking anything stronger than a flash game. Side effects may include: frustration, headache, dizziness, nausea, starting a Twitch channel, the urge to steal a cop car in real life, and compulsively peeing into empty Mountain Dew bottles, among many others.
Cedric is not a doctor, but he plays one in Pathologic. You can follow him on Twitter.
Top Image: Akili Interactive