Video games battle back: How technology fights trauma – Professor Albert “Skip” Rizzo


“The ground shakes as an explosion drowns out the musical call to morning prayer in an Afghan village. The streets empty and hurried voices argue in Arabic.

“OK,” professor Albert “Skip” Rizzo’s voice cuts in. “I’m going to make all hell break loose.”

Helicopters soar through smoke billowing from the remains of a car-turned-IED. Bodies lie in the road in torn, mangled heaps. But Rizzo isn’t in Afghanistan — he’s sitting in the demonstration room of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies in Los Angeles. A black, open room segmented into different program demo areas, it more closely resembles a stage than a lab.

As the director of ICT, it’s been Rizzo’s job for the past nine years to re-create scenes from the battlefields of the Middle East in a virtual landscape. It’s one example of how some innovators are taking video game technology and using it in new ways — in this case, to help veterans make sense of traumatic experiences.”

By Chandra Johnson at National Deseret News

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