Behavioral med in video games

So med school has definitely started picking up at this point – we’ve already had several exams, with three more to come in the next two weeks (including our first anatomy exam, which consists of two parts totaling four hours combined). I must say, they’ve certainly begun to lose their novelty. In undergrad, tests are a rare stressor that comes only once or twice a month. Now, it seems like we have at least one a week, though their volume is in no way diminished.

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Having said this, it seems obvious that one wouldn’t go out of their way to over-study for exams when they come with such great frequency. Now, as my vague sense of ease and security has finally set in, I feel myself regressing to my old procrastinator-y ways once again.

Still, even whilst frittering away my time playing video games, I couldn’t help but subconsciously continue studying for my upcoming behavioral medicine exam. Thus, having devoted careful thought and analysis to the peculiar dynamics I observed in my weekend videogaming activities, I’d like to present three case studies which, I feel, deserve the attention of my fellow classmates and future clinicians:

1. Saving the princess in Mario. Twice. In observing the consistent patterns in which the princess of the mushroom kingdom is kidnapped and rescued on what appears to be a semi-weekly basis, the obvious assumption is that her laxity in protecting her own interests reflects a self-deprecating desire for helpless states of existence at best, or virulent malingering in order to attract the attention of her loved ones at worst. I suspect that she developed an anxious-ambivalent attachment style with her parent figures as a child. Think about it – has anyone ever seen the implied “king and queen” of the mushroom kingdom? This absentee parenting style is almost certainly to blame for their daughter’s inappropriate behavior.

2.  Winning six Grand Prix’s in Mario Kart. Most disturbing in this learning experience was the event in which Luigi, about to finish in second place in the race, did shamelessly and without prior reflection launch a projectile to crash into my kart while he overtook me to finish in first place on the last lap. What could be the cause of this flagrantly anti-social and self-centered behavior, I wondered? Perhaps, as the younger child of the likely-favorite Mario, his ego had suffered under the enmeshed family dynamics which reward the successful and denounce the less noteworthy. Clearly, his employment of such dirty tactics in desperate attempts at acquiring meager successes can be perceived as a cry for help.

3. Defeating Bowser on four different systems. The continual relapse into evil and scheming (only to be defeated by Mario) indicates that Bowser’s pattern of self-destructive behavior is consistent in the face of negative consequences, a sure sign of an addict with unresolved emotional ambivalence. Despite having first begun kidnapping the princess over twenty years ago, he shows no signs of escaping the “precontemplative” level described in the transtheoretical stages of change model. Perhaps a directional interview exploring both the pros and cons of his choice to remain a wicked antagonist with his insidious machinations will reveal the discrepancy between his lifestyle choices and his forgotten desire for a peaceful and fulfilling life

Considering the repeated intersections of these three patients’ lives, I suppose group therapy would be an appropriate course of action.

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