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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Welcome to Gaming the Mind


Gaming the Mind team: Stephen Kaar, Donald Servant, Sachin Shah, Sin Fai Lam


Welcome to Gaming the Mind, a new blog from the Royal College of Psychiatrists website on gaming and mental health. Over the course of this adventure into the realm of games we hope to introduce to you the ground-breaking, boundary-pushing world of limitless creativity that is computer gaming in the 21st Century. The latest artistic revolution is not happening in a gallery, it’s happening digitally, it’s available to all (okay, you need some form of digital device), and we will be your guides to it.

This blog will offer analysis of the latest academic research and opinions from leaders in the burgeoning field of gaming and mental health. We will post regular reviews of unique, award-winning games that explore themes relevant to psychiatry and we will keep you up to date with the growing community of gamers and designers fighting stigma. The aim of this blog is not to pathologise. We are biased: we believe games can be a force for good, especially in the field of psychiatry where the potential to approach a better understanding of mental heath is immense.

Most of all, we hope this will be fun.

Let’s be honest, computer gaming has a history of poorly written characters and senseless violence, but these tropes are becoming rarer and less acceptable to a gaming culture that has matured, broadened, and is now more inclusive than ever. You can still let off steam by blasting aliens or zombies or zombie-aliens in a heroic first person shooter (hey we enjoy that too), but there is more, much more, to 21st Century gaming.

We will introduce you to games that challenge the nature of mental health stereotypes in popular culture, games with unreliable narrators that will make you question the nature of reality, games that test gender stereotypes, games that put you in the shoes of someone with OCD, with depression, and even with psychosis. We will show you games that examine your problem solving, your impulse control, and games that question what constitutes a right or wrong decision. Games with no heroes, games with anti-heroes and games with heroes so complex you might even begin to think they are human. We will even tell you of a game that gradually reveals the game maker’s personality and mental state through the narrative device of game design itself. Meta.

So please spread the word, follow us on Twitter (@gamingthemind) and get in touch with any comments, suggestions or ideas for future articles or projects.


Sin Fai Lam, Stephen Kaar, Donald Servant, and Sachin Shah

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Re: Welcome to Gaming the Mind
Thanks very much for your blog, really looking forward to your updates!
Re: Welcome to Gaming the Mind
Am loving these posts. Keep it coming.
Re: Welcome to Gaming the Mind
BBC Scotland are interested in making a documentary on online gaming. Would you be interested in participating?
Ahmed Khan
Chair of the Addictions Faculty Scotland
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The Gaming the Mind team are all doctors within South London and Maudsley NHS Trust

You can follow Gaming the Mind on Twitter: @gamingthemind


Sin Fai Lam (Higher Trainee in General Adult Psychiatry)

First game ever played?

Double Dragon on the PC

What game made an impact on you?

Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis – for making me wish to become an archaeologist… though I failed miserably in the process...

Where are you now?

On a train getting querying stares as I WhatsApp these answers.


Stephen Kaar (Higher Trainee in General Adult Psychiatry)

First game ever played?

James Pond on the Amiga

What game made an impact on you?

Doom – the first game I played in which a digital 3D world started to feel real

Where are you now?

Sat in a café in Camberwell eating falafel.


Donald Servant (Higher Trainee in Psychiatry)

First game ever played?

Super Mario Bros on the NES

What game made an impact on you?

Undertale - beautiful music and a vivid cast of characters that the game made me care about.

Where are you now?

Sitting in a café in Camberwell eating chicken shawarma with Stephen and Sachin.


Sachin Shah (Core Trainee in Psychiatry)

First game ever played?

Captain Planet and the Planeteers on the Amiga

What game made an impact on you?

Shadow of the Colossus - a game that made me question my murderous actions

Where are you now?

Help, I'm trapped in an infinity machine.

Reference on this blog series to any specific commercial product, service, manufacturer, company, or trademark does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the College.