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  • Writer's pictureHeather Saigo

Video Game Inspired by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

For an assignment in a doctoral class on using games for education, I had the opportunity to learn a bit about video game creation. "Educational technology" may not bring to mind video games, but there are features of games that could make education more enjoyable and effective. For example, think about the last time you had to read a manual before learning how to play a video game... It's usually not required, right? Games incorporate instruction into the play! Wouldn't it be fantastic to incorporate that type of experience into other teaching and learning environments?

I used GameMaker Studio to create this game. I started with a tutorial for an old-school Asteroids-style shooter. After I learned how GameMaker worked, I did some customizing. My kids gave me some suggestions, and I created a very silly version with a cat shooting pieces of sushi. After that, I decided to create a version that might be considered a science-related game.

I have obsessive-compulsive disorder and one of my symptoms is handwashing. I decided to use this "weakness" as a strength, and turned it into a game. The player is now represented by a water droplet and the enemies are various types of "dirt," including microbes and parasites. There are multiple types and sizes of enemies, explosions, sound effects, and a shield power-up that provides temporary invincibility.

The process of creating the game was extremely enjoyable, but time-consuming. I spent hours customizing the sprites, sounds, and gameplay. I would have loved to add more features and power-ups, but I had to stop messing with the game because I had other work to do. It's not really finished, but here it is. Enjoy Wash Your Hands!

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