I did tons of research for all of the theory behind Paper Cranes. If you were interested in all of that, check out some further reading, and also some general video game inspiration for this game.
Resources are organized by research section.
Video Games as ArtGame Studies
A fantastic online journal of computer game research. The articles cover a huge variety of topics, so I recommend searching on your own to find concepts that you're really interested. I found Self-Portrayal in a Simulated Life: Projecting Personality and Values in The Sims 2 by Thaddeus Griebel a great resource while writing about Video Games as Therapy, and The Algorithmic Experience: Portal as Art by Michael Burden and Sean Gouglas provided some interesting concepts that I build upon in both the Video Games as Therapy and Video Games as Art sections.The Art of Video Games
This is the companion book to the Art of Video Games Smithsonian exhibition. Definitely worth checking out if you're into the aesthetic study of video games: it does a great job of looking at the development of games and graphics chronologically, and the layout of the book is very well done.
Video Games as TherapyJane McGonigal: The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life
This talk spured much of the thought snythesis through the Video Games as Therapy section. While it's not directly related to my research, I also suggest you check out her other TED Talk, Gaming Can Make a Better World, and I'll let her ideas speak for themselves.Depression Quest
From the site: "Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment. This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people."
Games like Depression Quest are what really got me into this whole idea, and I really recommend you take a look at this game. It's by no means going to be the most fun game you've ever played, but it's very meaningful and important, and integral to the idea of making video games being a form of therapy.Video Games Could Help Soldiers Deal with Post-traumatic Stress
This article is directly mentioned in my research (unfortunately the actual research doesn't seem to be widely available online), and is a rather interesting application of video games as therapy, and is a good jumping point for thinking about the actual clinical application of this theory.Twine
Twine is a simple, easy-to-learn engine for telling interactive stories, and one of the reasons making video games is becoming much more accessible as a medium, in my opinion! Basically, if you know how to use a word processor and are willing to learn a little bit of code, you can use Twine. They also have a really great archive of games made with Twine, so if you're looking for other non-traditional games, take a look!
Art as TherapyArt as Therapy: Alain de Botton on the 7 Psychological Functions of Art
A great summary of the content of Alain de Botton's Art as Therapy, and a good introduction into the mentality with which I approached many of the aspects of art functioning as therapy throughout this research. Definitely works as a primer into the theory of art as therapy.The American Art Therapy Association
The American Art Therapy Association is a US national association of practicing art therapy professionals, and provides a great amount of resources on the clinical side of art therapy, as well as professional tools.