Army Video Game Combats Suicides

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Rowdy Rob
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Here's a link to a "PC World" article about "Beyond the Front," an interactive movie created for the U.S. Army to combat suicide.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/155097/army_video_game.html?tk=rss_news

I've tried it (it's an online Flash-based game), and actually it's not really a videogame at all, but merely a series of movie clips dealing with military-based suicide, loosely based around a "choose your own adventure" style system. Still, it might be a portent to games with serious subject matter.

Matt Barton
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That's an interesting point,

That's an interesting point, Rob, about the demographics of suicide. I assume it was mostly poor or desperate people, not successful types. Is it statistical, or just more noticeable since the idea of a successful person offing himself is more "newsworthy" or shocking?

Like the game pointed out, watch out for people who have endured some recent trauma, such as divorce, being fired, flunking out, had a friend killed, etc.

One of my best friend's uncles was driving along one day and had an accident with a train. His wife and his two daughters (teenager and adolescent) were all killed, but he survived and wasn't even that badly injured. Can you imagine that? I can't say that it's ever possible to "understand" a suicide, but this guy seemed to have as good a motive as any. Last I heard, though, he hadn't chose to do so.

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Mark Vergeer
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In my profession I deal with suïcidide almost on a daily basis

It's a difficult subject/matter. I've had encounters with it both on the personal- and on the professional level. As I have to deal with suïcidal patients on a daily basis I know how taboe it can be to talk about or or think about it. But perhaps the subject is a little bit out of the range of this forum. Let's see.

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Bill Loguidice
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If you wish to discuss it

If you wish to discuss it Rob, we're all ears. The only thing I could ever think of us having to moderate is "hate". Otherwise, anything has and does go.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Wow, when I posted this

Wow, when I posted this message, I did it as a contribution to the discussion of gaming and how videogaming can have social implications. It didn't really occur to me that a deeper discussion on the subject of suicide might erupt. But, perhaps on a subconscious basis, I posted that message on a subject I am very familiar with.

Both my parents had strong suicidal tendencies, and I inherited that “gene.” No, I am not currently suicidal, although anytime I “fail,” that thought sometimes enters my head, which I have to chase out of my brain with “positive thinking.” No, I'm not going to kill myself.... I'm too good for that, I have too much going for me, and too many people would be hurt by it. But I understand the thought.

I suppose I could type a long message on my history on the subject, but I don't think you moderators would approve of such a message in a videogaming forum. I am unashamed to do so, however.

Matt Barton wrote:

That's why it seems important to do everything you can for people while they're young to ensure they have a solid foundation; once you get into your 30s with no college degree, skills, etc., it can seem difficult if not impossible to have a future.

I'm not sure it's that easy. Yes, a solid foundation is good, but it doesn't explain why popular high school kids, successful businessmen, or anyone of apparent success commit suicide. In fact, suicide rates amongst socioeconomically disadvantaged groups in America is lower than that of higher groups. I don't pretend to know why that is.

That having been said, I try to encourage youth to make the most of themselves without ridiculing their interests. Who knows what they will acheive if they just believe!

Needless to say, it's an interesting subject for a “videogame” to cover: The vidoegaming equivalent of a “public service announcement.”

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Matt Barton
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Wow, that's poignant stuff.

Wow, that's poignant stuff. I lost a friend to suicide a few years ago, so this hits pretty close to home.

These signs are definitely spot-on, too. I had a good friend commit suicide a few years ago, and he was exhibiting all these symptoms--went from a cheerful, friendly guy to moping around, complaining that "He didn't get what was owed him" (from God), listening constantly to headphones, refusing to talk, etc. He also alienated his friends by intentionally pissing them off to the point where we'd tell him to go away. He ended up moving back in with his parents than shooting himself to death with his dad's rifle. He'd also made a big transition (moving from Louisiana to Florida, new job, etc.) Sad stuff, but I'm still not sure what anyone could have done about it. It was definitely a long, drawn out process that seemed harder to prevent the further it went along. That's why it seems important to do everything you can for people while they're young to ensure they have a solid foundation; once you get into your 30s with no college degree, skills, etc., it can seem difficult if not impossible to have a future.

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