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  Subliminal messages in video games.... for good?
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04/06/2015
 


[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

We know subliminal messages are effective because they have typically been used by unscrupulous advertisers to make people buy the large soda or that popcorn, but what if they could be used for good? What if we could use similar techniques to display self-affirmations in a video game for players to lose weight, quit smoking, find a healthy relationship, etc.

The result is Honey Heroes. During gameplay, users can select which self-affirmations they want subliminally to be displayed and those messages will appear in the game every time the player makes a correct match.  They are invisible to the naked eye, because they appear very briefly, but your brain catches them subconsciously. 

Trailer:  http://bit.ly/1NC5cQC

iTunes App Store: http://apple.co/1bPLghx

Google Play: http://bit.ly/1BRvp8k

Facebook: http://bit.ly/1Cad3Oz

The idea came to Game Gurus CEO, Scott Kirk, when he read a game review posting that said, “Whenever I wanted to commit suicide, I would play a level and then I didn’t want to commit suicide anymore”. It’s clear that playing a casual game had a profound positive effect on this player’s mood.  Honey Heroes grew upon this idea by including similar endorphin releasing game mechanics while adding subliminal self-affirmations to target and improve specific issues that contribute to a players overall mental state.

We all have a thing called a Reticular Activating System (RAS) in our brains, which is like a filter that lets in information that we need, and filters out information that we don't. If we didn't have this system, we would be bombarded with so much information that our senses would overload and we would quickly be overwhelmed. Instead, our brain registers what matters to us based on our goals, needs, interests, and desires.

When your brain sees an in-game self-affirmation repeatedly, a couple of things happen. One is that it sends a very clear message to your RAS that this is important to you. When you do that, it gets busy noticing ways to help you achieve your goals. If ideal weight is your emphasis, you may suddenly begin to see every gym and noticing healthy foods. If money is your goal, investment and earning opportunities could move to the forefront of your thoughts. In essence, the affirmation kicks your awareness into high gear.

All self-affirmations are turned off in the game by default. By the simple action of turning an affirmation on you are showing you are receptive to the idea.  But be careful, affirmations can be very powerful tools and have been shown to be ineffective or having adverse effects if the messages are not something you already believe in.   If you view yourself as unlovable, for example, you may find reading that you are “loved by all” only strengthens your own negative view rather than reversing it.  That’s why it’s so important to take your time and carefully select individual self-affirmations you feel positive about.  Doing so increases the effectiveness as it helps reaffirm and reinforce existing beliefs.   If you believe you can quit smoking or lose weight, subliminal self-affirmations could really help by reinforcing that idea in your subconscious.   The effectiveness of self-affirmations increases when included as part of a comprehensive program of self-growth.

The best part is, Honey Heroes is a super fun game.  The characters are compelling and the artwork superb.  It is tile based like popular match-3 games but once someone plays Honey Heroes they realize it’s not at all like a match 3 game because Honey Heroes requires thinking to win.   Players use one-to-one correspondence to pollinate and fill the honey bear by matching the correct combination of flowers.  The player works with the honey bees, dragonflies, ladybugs, butterflies, and grasshoppers to clear the tiles.  Honey Heroes is available on iTunes, Google Play, and Facebook.  Translations are built in to the game which will auto-detect Spanish, German, French, Italian, and both Brazilian and Portugal Portuguese players.

As an added bonus, you can help keep the bee’s buzzing.  To combat the disappearance of honey bees, a live bee is donated every time a golden bee is found in the game. You are literally helping to save the bees by playing Honey Heroes.

Game Gurus is an educational game development studio best known for creating math games played by millions of students in the United States and has received funding from the National Science Foundation to study how players can learn in video games.  Their release of Honey Heroes combines their ability to make engaging educational games with a social issue that affects us all. 

Honey Heroes website: www.HoneyHeroes.com

Game Gurus website:  www.GameGurus.com

Questions?  Write to [email protected] or call 415-800-3599.