Super Mario Odyssey Used to Treat Depression in Recent Study


  • A new study suggests that playing Super Mario Odyssey may help reduce symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
  • The study found that participants who played Super Mario Odyssey experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in motivation for treatment.
  • The researchers caution that more research is needed, but video games may be a cost-effective tool to complement traditional treatment and therapy for MDD.

The results of a new psychological study show that Super Mario Odyssey can be effective when it comes to treating certain symptoms of depression. Video games, in general, are often the subject of psychological studies looking for links between aggression or even intelligence. An Oxford study suggests that playing games can be good for mental health, but using a particular game to treat a particular disease can also yield some interesting results. result, it appears.

Despite coming out late in the console’s launch year, Super Mario Odyssey remains one of the best and best-selling Nintendo Switch games. Its mixture of 3D and 2D platforming, along with the acclaimed capture mechanic, helped Super Mario Odyssey become one of the most memorable titles of the generation. In addition to all the awards and impressive sales achievements, a study found that the time spent on Super Mario Odyssey may also prove beneficial for one’s mental health.


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German researchers recently published a study on Frontiers of Psychology journal that tested to see if 3D video games can help reduce the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). According to the study, MDD is often accompanied by symptoms of depressed mood, decreased motivation, and even memory issues. Although 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 treatment, and improve cognitive functions. visuo-spatial memory for MDD sufferers.

Mario and Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey

The test divided 46 clinically depressed individuals into three groups: a video game group that practiced 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. Although focusing more on cognitive symptoms of MDD rather than affective ones such as depressed mood and decreased pleasure, the study found that the video game group specifically saw a “significant decrease in the proportion of participants who exhibited clinical levels of depressive symptoms,” as well. as an increased motivation to continue treatment. However, the researchers cautioned that the results should be “interpreted with caution,” due to the “non-blinded nature of this study.” Although there were some mixed findings, the study concluded that video games may be a “cost-effective” form of training to potentially be used “in conjunction with regular treatment and therapy.”

There is still much research to be done regarding 3D gaming and MDD. The study authors note that increasing sample sizes will be needed going forward. However, it’s encouraging that seemingly out-of-the-box research like this is revealing some useful results. Although not very common, Super Mario Odyssey is not the only game studied by psychology professionals and enthusiasts. A recent study said Skyrim is really the best game for thinking.

In Odyssey which was released in 2017, many feel it’s time for a new 3D Mario game. The latest 2D adventure of the franchise launched this year in Super Mario Bros. Wonderbut the promise of a Switch successor suggests a new 3D game may be on the way.


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 follows the iconic character through various locales as he attempts to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. Just like Super Mario 64, this release is a 3D-platformer.

October 27, 2017



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