SPARX is a self-help computer game for young people with symptoms of depression. The game has been developed by a team of specialists from The University of Auckland, Metia Interactive and funding was provided by the Ministry of Health.
In order to actively engage young people, SPARX uses a 3D fantasy game environment and a custom-made soundtrack. The programme teaches skills to manage symptoms of depression, in a self-directed learning format.
The challenges have been carefully based on cognitive behaviour therapies, a common technique used in face-to-face counseling. Each of the games seven levels teach players about a new behaviour therapy. Players can practise the techniques in the Sparx world using mini-games before trying it out in real life.