- New study suggests that playing Super Mario Odyssey can potentially help reduce symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
- Study found that participants who played Super Mario Odyssey experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms and increased motivation for treatment.
- Researchers caution that more research is needed, but video games could be a cost-effective tool to complement traditional treatment and therapy for MDD.
Results of a new psychological study show that Super Mario Odyssey could be quite effective when it comes to treating certain depressive symptoms. Video games, in general, are often the subject of psychological studies looking for links between aggression or even intelligence. One Oxford study suggests playing games could be good for mental health, but using a particular game to treat a specific illness can also yield some interesting results, it turns out.
Despite being released late in the console’s launch year, Super Mario Odyssey remains one of the best and best-selling Nintendo Switch games. Its mix of 3D and 2D platforming, along with the acclaimed capture mechanic, helped Super Mario Odyssey become one of the generation’s most memorable titles. In addition to all the accolades and impressive sales feats, one study has found that time spent with Super Mario Odyssey could prove to be beneficial for one’s mental health as well.
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German researchers recently published a study in the Frontiers of Psychology journal that tested to find if 3D video games could help reduce symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). According to the study, MDD is often accompanied by symptoms of depressed mood, decreased motivation, and even issues with memory. While limited in terms of sample size, the study concluded that 3D video games have the potential to “increase subjective well-being,” increase motivation to continue with treatment, and improve visuo-spatial memory functions for those suffering from MDD.
The test divided 46 clinically depressed individuals into three groups: a video game group that trained by playing Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch, a treatment-as-usual group, and an active control group that used a cognitive exercise program. While mostly focusing on the cognitive symptoms of MDD rather than affective ones like depressed mood and decreased pleasure, the study found that the video game group specifically saw a “significant decrease in the proportion of participants who showed clinical levels of depressive symptoms,” as well as an increased motivation to continue with treatment. Still, the researchers warn that the results should be “interpreted with caution,” due to the “unblinded nature of this study.” Even with some mixed findings, the study concludes that video games could be a “cost-effective” means of training to potentially be used “in conjunction with regular treatment and therapy.”
There is still plenty of research left to be done regarding 3D gaming and MDD. The study’s authors state that increased sample sizes will be needed moving forward. Still, it’s encouraging that seemingly outside-the-box research like this is uncovering some helpful results. While not too common, Super Mario Odyssey isn’t the only game being studied by psychology professionals and enthusiasts. One recent study claimed Skyrim is actually the best game for mindfulness.
With Odyssey having been released in 2017, many feel it’s time for a new 3D Mario game. The franchise’s latest 2D adventure launched this year in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but the promise of a Switch successor suggests a new 3D game could be coming soon.
Super Mario Odyssey
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2017 marked the release of Super Mario Odyssey, an ambitious title from Nintendo. This Nintendo Switch-exclusive Mario adventure followed the iconic character through a variety of locales as he attempted to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. Similar to Super Mario 64, this release was a 3D-platofrmer.
- October 27, 2017