Guardian Angel

Development Projects Comments Off on Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel was developed after RETRO was awarded a grant in 2008 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop games for health. Guardian Angel seeks to leverage game-based technologies to develop an effective, motivating practice environment for one treatment that relies heavily on the acquisition and maintenance of a new set of cognitive skills: relapse prevention therapy.

Guardian Angel was designed to help recovering alcoholics stay sober by practicing the tenets of relapse prevention (RP) therapy. This is based on a cognitive-behavioral model that asserts that relapse can be prevented through a set of skills that allow the patient to recognize, and cope with, situations that are likely to initiate a relapse (Larimer, Palmer, & Marlatt, 1999). Basically, we viewed therapy through the lens of a training problem. The game plays as a life management simulation in which the player is a guardian angel guiding a recovering alcoholic through 365 days of sobriety. The player must manage cravings by engaging in positive activities, which will launch minigames. We used the theory of RP to build a these minigames, each targeted to reinforce a skills competency from the theoretical model underlying the treatment. This progresses gameplay and both delivers therapy and provides safe practice spaces for these skills. Each slip resets the clock and the player must start the year over. Our target population includes those individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUD) currently receiving treatment in a Veteran’s Administration Medical Center (VAMC). Clinical studies using Guardian Angel have been conducted and data is currently being complied.

Guardian Angel has been featured in the “Fight Alcohol Addiction” segment that aired on WCIV ABC Local News 4 in Charleston, SC in May 2010. It has also been featured in the Orlando Sentinel.


 

Balance Out

This minigame focuses on cultivating resources and abilities, such as social support networks and communication skills. Players engage in therapy sessions and reenact scenarios to strengthen refusal, urge surfing, and craving control skills.

Play Balance Out!
Note: Launches in a new window.

Clean House

This minigame allows practice for stimulus control. Players must search the house and throw out all items related to alcohol.

Play Clean House!
Note: Launches in a new window.

Going Out

To practice drink refusal skills, players this this minigame. Their ability to refuse a drink depends on their own cravings meter and the equality of the communication skills that they use.

Play Going Out!
Note: Launches in a new window.

Route Planner

After each activity that involves leaving the house, the player must drive home. This minigame has the player practice temptation avoidance. Based on a limited amount of available turns, players must map a route home that avoids tempting locations such as the liquor store or the bowling alley. Driving by these locations increases the cravings meter, which may result in a slip.

Play Route Planner!
Note: Launches in a new window.

 


 

Development Team

Lab Directors Drs. Clint Bowers & Jan Cannon-Bowers
Lead Designer Peter Smith
Subject Matter Experts Dr. Marcy Verduin, Dr. Steve LaRowe
Production Manger Rachel Joyce
Writers and Designers Brian Stabile, Rachel Joyce, Jorge Salazar
Programmers Brian Stabile, Jorge Salazar
2D Artist Brent Hermanski, Lyda Peng
3D Artist Julian Orrego


Guardian Angel

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