October 2, 2008
Daily Tech
Shane McGlaun

Video games are often blamed for some of the problems among society like violence and murders. Some believe that video game violence begets violence in the real world, while others feel there is no merit at all in the link between the two.

Allstate is conducting research on the use of video games for a good cause. The insurance firm believes that certain types of video games could help improve the driving ability of elderly drivers. A program called InSight has been launched by Allstate and will provide specialized video games to 100,000 customers in Pennsylvania between the ages of 50 and 75.

The game used in the program is called Jewel Diver and is designed by Posit Science. Posit will track the total number of hours the participants in the pilot program spend on the game. The game itself is intended to improve age-related cognitive decline and improve visual alertness.

In the game, players must keep track of jewels that pop up on screen and are then hidden under fish swimming around. The player has to click the fish that has the jewel underneath in a Three Card Monte-like experience. The game gets more complex as it is played with more fish being added to the screen.

Allstate is looking for the participants to spend at least ten hours total playing the fame. The goal is to see if the game helps to improve driving for players in the correct age group, if so Allstate may roll the program out to more states and offer discounts to drivers who agree to play the game.

Tom Warden from Allstate says that Posit was chosen for the trial because it has been researching the improvement of brain fitness for older drivers for the past nine years.

The debate on whether video games can affect behavior in the real world is ongoing. It’s no help that studies routinely come out that claim a win for one side or the other. In November 2007, a meta-study proclaimed that there is no link between violent video games and aggressive behavior. The same month a study was released that claimed violent video games are a great risk to public health.