Whilst monitoring the crucial metric of internet connectivity here at work, I meandered across this story
(NY Times online article, free registration required), an interesting bit about a biofeedback-controlled video game intended to teach anxiety-disorder-troubled kids some self-calming skills.
I had the tangential thought that I wouldn't mind sticking my fingers in the lie-detector sensors and taking a dragon out for a race. But the article also reminded me of one of my favorite old games, an obscure title called "Heaven and Earth," that was actually a collection of a puzzles (mostly spatially-reasoning sorts), a trick-building card trump game, and a very nifty thing that was more of a software toy than a game per se. It involved using the mouse to control a pendulum swinging about a bowl, with the goal being to bring the tip of the pendulum to rest on specific spots. The idea was that each movement of the mouse represented a breath on the freely-swinging pendulum, so controlling it took a series of light touches and patience. Very relaxing--and without biofeedback, to boot!
The puzzle-solving aspects of Heaven & Earth were okay in my book; I'm not a huge fan of puzzle games, but have nothing against them, but I loved that pendulum program. Sadly, my copy was lost years ago, and I'm not sure that it would even run on systems nowadays. Anyone know of similarly relaxing games?