It's already well established that Tetris has a range of benefits for the mind and soul, from helping you pack the car boot better to reducing cravings to addictive substances. And a new study has added to the iconic game's list of real world benefits.
While the patients - who were paid, by the way - waited for additional care, they were given one of two activities. The control group was given an activity log to fill out, listing the activities they had been asked to do since rocking up to the emergency ward, their lives flashing before their eyes not included. The second group was given a "Nintendo DS XL" (DSi or 3DS isn't listed) with the direction being they had to play for "at least one uninterrupted period of [10 minutes] and for around 20 minutes all up.
One woman in her 60s, who hadn't played Tetris before, unsurprisingly found the game more entertaining than filling out paperwork. "It certainly took my mind off of it at a time when I probably would have sat brooding and feeling very sorry for myself," they were quoted as saying.
Another participant put things a little more bluntly:
One woman in her 20s described having repeated intrusive memories of her motor vehicle accident trauma: 'the picture of falling on the street with my head kept popping up in my head' and 'seeing blood dripping'. She engaged well with playing Tetris in the emergency department and found it fun. 'I think it helped a lot to distract my mind after [the] accident by playing Tetris'.
The Tetris intervention worked well enough to justify a follow-up. "There were fewer intrusive memories overall, and time-series analyses showed that intrusion incidence declined more quickly," the study's authors wrote. The amount of "intrusive memories", or instances of victims remembering the trauma from the accident, had dropped by 62% compared with the control group.
So, good job scientists. Although you have to say, there's a degree of obvious to it all: playing anything is probably better than a) thinking about the afterlife and b) sitting around in a hospital doing bugger all.