Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Does Designing a Game Help with Drug Withdrawal?

I don't know, but I got a chance to help a friend try it out today.
[Results are still pending.]

My friend bink was upset today---she was weeping and weeping and couldn't figure out why.
bink did not look like this, no not at all:

The only thing that had changed in her life, up close and personal–like, was that she'd just tapered off 20 days of the steroid prednisone. 
Could that be it?

She looked it up, and yes: 
her depression and anxiety are classic withdrawal symptoms.
bink looked more like this:

[Hutch (above, left) going through withdrawal in that episode when bad guys force him to get addicted to heroin, and Starsky has to spend half the episode holding him in bed while he goes through withdrawal, because… why, again?

I guess because this is what the 1970s viewing audience wanted to see cops doing--cuddling in bed? And so one of them had to get addicted to heroin first? 
Thankgod for fanfiction: we can just skip the heroin.]

Anyway, yes, the symptoms are so classic that I don't know why the doctor didn't warn her, so she wouldn't wonder if she was losing her mind.

She asked if we could hang out since she was feeling so wiped.
I invited her to join me at the coffee shop where I was "working". (Reading about bronies, actually. [Naturally I feel a kinship with any fandom in which wearing stuffed ponies on your head is encouraged.] Research, yes, but I don't need to do more research at this time, I need to write an outline.)

"Let's make a Twine," I said. Because when your cortisol is out of whack, you want to stress yourself further, right? by trying to learn a new computer skill.

I mentioned Twine here a while ago---it's a free online tool you use to make stories--the stories branch off, depending on which link the player clicks on.

I'd heard they are easy to make---require no programming---and indeed, it turns out they are easy, if you've had enough sleep and your chemistry isn't going ka-blooey. 

1. Just go here: Twine
2. Choose "Use it online"
3. Click on the green "story", and start writing a story in the box grid that pops up. 
4. To make any bit of the text into a live link (that will take the reader to the next page), just put [[double brackets around it]].

And that's it! 
Oh-you have to save it somewhere that hosts HTML (not Blogger), so I made a free neocities website.

The hard part is writing the story itself, 
and hormone imbalances from drug withdrawal does add a level of challenge to clear thinking. 

BUT. We made one! It's called Beebo Bops.
We took turns writing each "passage" [block of text] as we went along:
bink wrote one and I wrote the next. 

 You can see it here [thanks, Art Sparker, for checking the link!]: 

It's lumpy and nonsensical, but it was a lot of fun to make. Much more fun to make than to read, I expect. I want to make more.

This is what it looks like in editing:


ArtSparker said...

Yep, works. Hope she feels better soon!

Frex said...

Hooray! Thanks for checking and letting me know Sparker!
[The Twine game is stored on my browser, so I just wasn't sure I wasn't opening that somehow...]

I hope bink is better soon too. Turns out prednisone is notorious for this sort of thing (icky withdrawal symptoms).

Michael Leddy said...

Steroids can be scary stuff: see the James Mason movie Bigger Than Life.

This post reminded me of something I heard on To the Best of Our Knowledge, about games as a way of helping with trauma: http://www.ttbook.org/book/want-be-happier-turn-everyday-tasks-game

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: Wow---I'd never heard of that movie---it sounds scarily modern.
From Wikipedia:
" a straightforward exposé on medical malpractice and the overuse of prescription drugs in modern American society,[10] it has also been seen as a critique of consumerism, the male-dominated traditional family structure, and the claustrophobic conformism of suburban life.[3][11][12] Truffaut saw Ed's drug-influenced speech to the parents of the parent-teacher association as having fascist overtones.[13] The film has also been interpreted as an examination of masculinity and a leftist critique of the low salaries of public school teachers in the United States"

Games helping with trauma, yes!
I am liking Jane McGonigal's SuperBetter on designing one's own personal game to survive disaster (medical, in her case, but could be anything).

Fresca said...

P.S. Oopps--I just followed your link and that's who you meant too, Michael [Jane McGonigal]!
I'd blogged about her last week: "QUEST: Write a Book without Turning to Sludge"

Michael Leddy said...

As Cathy (of the comic strip) would say, ACK! I didn't even realize it was the same person. I just remembered the topic from the podcast. (Continuous partial attention: it’s real!)

ArtSparker said...

By the way, I am finding the British series "An Idiot Abroad" weirdly comforting, although not as funny as I think Ricky Gervais thinks it is. Karl Pilkington is, in his way, as easy to identify with as Larry David in "Curb your Enthusiasm", so one has the option of rooting for him to get over his discomfort as opposed to rooting for him to be shown as less sophisticated than the average international traveller. And he definitely has a point about the wal between Israel and Palestine.

ArtSparker said...

I mean, perhaps Bink would enjoy it (and you too).

bink said...

I think our Twine is better than I thought, reading it today.

I am feeling more normal today... only one small breakdown. ;-) I believe I'm over the hump. And the most useful thing was, once I realized I was in withdrawal, I didn't feel crazy anymore--and that helped me feel a lot better (saner) almost immediately (even if I could still cry at the drop of a hat).

Fresca said...

MICHAEL: No worries, I practice "continuous partial attention" all the time myself!

ART SPARKER: I think this is a job for... The Detercorists! Which you'd recommended. I can't wait to see series 2, which I see has aired in the UK. Come on, Netflix!!!

BINK: I am soooo glad you're feeling better!
Do you think designing a Twine helped????