Oregon Trail was not the most scientific based educational game and the Power Pad (trainer pad for the NES) was not the most advanced exercise trainer, but both helped start a revolution for what an educational game and how to promote an active lifestyle should be.
For instance, nonprofit HopeLab has revolutionized educational based games by developing a cancer-fighting PC videogame called 'Re-Mission', which is targeted at teenagers and young adults with cancer. Patients with cancer must take chemotherapy pills for at least one year to keep the cancer from recurring. The object of Re-Mission is to navigate a nanobot through the human body and shot at cancer cells. Therefore, this encourages enthusiasm about kids' own cancer remission. Furthermore, HopeLab conducted a study that showed that patients who played Re-Mission took their medication more consistently and absorbed cancer information faster compared to people who did not play the game. "Digital games are interactive and experiential, and so they can engage people in powerful ways to enhance learning and health behavior change," said Debra Lieberman, director of the Health Games Research program at the University of California.
Moreover, console manufacturers such as Nintendo are getting children or even the elderly moving by playing Wii Fitness, EA Sports Active and Jillian Michaels Fitness. Not to mention, the great success of Dance Dance Revolution. "Wii is now being used by medical researchers to treat children who suffer from hemiplegic cerebral palsy, a condition that can paralyze one side of the body. The Wii is also helping others bounce back from illness," said Wii spokeswoman Perrin Kaplan.
One could argue, in a speech to the American Medical Association, President Obama stated, "Videogames as a factor in unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles and is linked to academic underachievement." This could be very true however, in a study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Reed, claims certain videogames increase reading and math scores. The study under took two control groups of children aged four to six: one group was given games to play for 20 minutes twice a week for 13 weeks. Meanwhile, the other group was not given any games to play. The results showed that the computer game group had higher average scores for both math and reading after the 13 week period compared to the non-game group. Thus, it is far, too easy to play the blame game and make videogames the scapegoat for an unhealthy lifestyle.
Educational games have come a long way since Oregon Trail and they will continue to evolve. Today, videogames such as Re-Mission show the importance of videogame based learning. At the present there are many games for education and for scientific evaluation. Therefore, by incorporating the latest scientific knowledge videogames will continue to make a revolution in education and rehabilitation.