Super Mario Odyssey used to treat depression in a recent study


  • A new study suggests that playing Super Mario Odyssey can potentially help reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD).
  • The study found that participants who played Super Mario Odyssey had reduced depressive symptoms and increased motivation for treatment.
  • The researchers caution that more research is needed, but video games may be a cost-effective tool to supplement traditional MDD treatment and therapy.

The results of a new psychological study show this Super Mario Odyssey can be quite effective in treating certain depressive symptoms. Video games are usually often the subject of psychological research looking for connections between aggression or even intelligence. According to an Oxford study, playing games could be good for mental health, but using a certain game to treat a certain disease can also produce interesting results.

Despite being released late in the console’s launch year, Super Mario Odyssey is still one of the best and best-selling Nintendo Switch games. Its mix of 3D and 2D levels and the acclaimed capture mechanic helped Super Mario Odyssey becomes one of the most memorable titles of the generation. In addition to all the accolades and impressive sales efforts, one study found that time was wasted Super Mario Odyssey may also prove beneficial for mental health.


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German researchers recently published a study Frontiers of Psychology magazine that tested whether 3D video games could help reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). According to research, MDD is often accompanied by symptoms of depressed mood, reduced motivation and even memory problems. Although the sample size is limited, the study concluded that 3D video games can “increase subjective well-being,” increase motivation to continue treatment, and improve visuospatial memory in MDD sufferers.

Mario and Cappy from Super Mario Odyssey

In the test, 46 clinically depressed people were divided into three groups: a video game group that exercised by playing Super Mario Odyssey On the Nintendo Switch, a normal treatment group and an active control group that used a cognitive training program. Although the study focused mostly on cognitive rather than affective symptoms of MDD, such as depressed mood and decreased pleasure, the study found that the video game group also saw a “significant decrease in the proportion of participants with clinical symptoms of depression.” as increased motivation to continue treatment. Still, the researchers caution that the results should be “interpreted with caution” due to the “unblinded nature” of this study. The study concludes that video games can be a “cost-effective” form of exercise that can potentially be used “in conjunction with regular care and therapy.”

There is still much to explore about 3D gaming and MDD. The authors of the study state that sample sizes must be increased in the future. However, it is encouraging that seemingly out-of-the-box research such as this is revealing useful results. Although not too common, Super Mario Odyssey is not the only game studied by psychology professionals and enthusiasts. A recent study claimed Skyrim is actually the best game for mindfulness.

With Odyssey since it was released in 2017, many feel it’s time for another 3D Mario game. The latest 2D adventure in the franchise was released this year Super Mario Bros. Wonderbut the promise of a Switch successor suggests a new 3D game may be on the way soon.


Super Mario Odyssey

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In 2017, Nintendo’s ambitious title Super Mario Odyssey was released. This Nintendo Switch exclusive Mario adventure follows the iconic character through different locations as he tries to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser. Like Super Mario 64, this release was a 3D platformer.

October 27, 2017



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