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Video Game Superstars Examined in Brainwave Study at Ottumwa Hospital

Video Game Superstars Examined in Brainwave Study at Ottumwa Hospital

OTTUMWA, IA- July 12th, 1983 - Ottumwa Hospital has taken a keen interest in the hordes of young video game players who visit Ottumwa, Iowa. In July, two video game players visiting the well-known Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard for a magazine interview were invited to participate in the first of a series of pioneering studies on brain waves and video games.

The unique circumstances behind the players' visit intrigued the hospital technicians who set up the study. Paul Stokstad, a free-lance writer from Fairfield, IA was instrumental in bringing the two players to Ottumwa for the scientific study.

Chris O'Brien, a 13-year-old whiz kid from San Diego, was brought by a Bakersfield, California, businessman to demonstrate his ability to play Ms. Pac-Man by utilizing the intuitive subconscious mind. To challenge O'Brien's claims were three college students from Bozeman, Montana -- all present or former Ms. Pac-Man world Champions. Tom Asaki, Don Williams, and Spencer Oueren, all 20 years years of age, had mastered the game by intelligently analyzing the patterns of play.

Dr. Hines, the director of Ottumwa Hospital's EEG Laboratory, studied the players' brainwaves while play was in progress. A Ms. Pac-Man machine was brought into the laboratory for the study as each player was watched for any unusual brainwave characteristics which could be attributed to their widely different mental approaches to the game.

A report issued by Dr. Hines evaluated both patients as being normal with no unusual brainwave activity appearing during playtime or rest time.

The Ottumwa Hospital tentatively plans to study more visiting video game players during 1984.

Dr. Hines issued the following reports:

TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Tom Aaski; an 18-year-old right handed male. This record exhibits a relatively confused and well regulated 10-1/2 hertz alpha rhythm seen while the patient is at rest. The patient also has recordings during game playing both competitively and noncompetitively and following game playing. Same alpha activity is exhibited prior to game playing and following game playing during periods of rest. There are brief episodes of drowsiness. During game playing there is diffuse desynchronized activity mixed with muscle artifact."

IMPRESSION: This patient's resting and active electroencephalogram both prior, during and folliwng both competitive and noncompetitive game playing is entirely within the range of norla variation for age."

TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Chris O'Brien; Patient is a 13-year-old right handed male. The patient was studied both prior to and during and following participation in competitive video games. Prior to the video game playing the patient had an alpha rhythm of 2-1/2 to 11 cycles per second. This was well regulated and relatively continuous during periods of rest. The patient was also noted to have some scattered posterior slow activity in the 5 to 7 hertz range. During the video game playing there was relatively continuous desynchronized pattern and following game playing activity there was a return to the baseline alpha activity of 10-1/2 to 11 cycles per second alpha relatively continuous and well regulated and again some scattered slow theta activity as previously described.

IMPRESSION: This patient's EEG record both prior to, and during and after game playing activity is entirely within the range of normal variation. It exhibits a well regulated alpha activity as frequently seen in normal patients at rest as well as some mild posterior slowing often seen in patients in this age group. There was no unusual activity seen during or following game playing.

For further information, contact Ottumwa Hospital or The Twin Galaxies International Scoreboard (515)684-9434.


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