Tetris can have a calming effect

August 19, 2007

I wonder if this hack can translate to World of Warcraft. …
clipped from www.newscientist.com

VIDEO games are notorious for raising adrenalin levels but now there’s one that calms you down.

Julian Spillane of game studio Frozen North Productions in Toronto, Canada, together with a programmer who goes by the name Ne0nRa1n, have created a version of Tetris called BioBlox. Players put one hand on a device that measures their pulse rate. As their pulse rises, so does the speed of the blocks falling from the top of the screen. That makes the game harder, creating an incentive for the player to calm down and so get a higher score. “I’m a big fan of weird input devices,” says Spillane.

In 1999, Nintendo released Tetris 64, which also used pulse rate to control the speed of play, but it ran only on Nintendo’s console. BioBlox runs on Windows-based PCs and will be available online soon.

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