by Chuck Black
Video games have traditionally been used for entertainment, but at Algoma Games for Health, people like interim CEO Jason Naccarato and others are working towards building video games useful for health care, industrial training and generally improving the overall quality of life.
“We’re using video game technologies and methodologies as part of our training aids to help improve people’s lives, education and productivity,” he explained during a recent interview. The use of game mechanics and thinking for non-game contexts in order to engage users, solve problems, teach and measure interest/ capabilities is one of the growth areas of modern software development and Algoma Games for Health is at the forefront in this area.
The firm also boasts several successful projects focused on lottery and gaming, industrial training (the Learning 2 Mine game developed to teach aboriginal students about the mining industry), speech therapy (eVoxative), language and grammar (InTense) and other areas for the iPad and other platforms.
Current clients include Goldcorp Inc., the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids Hospital), the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, the Canadian Bank Note Company, Sunshine Cottage and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG).
The firm also benefits from its location Soult Ste. Marie location on the heart of the Algoma district of northern Ontario. “We have a unique, low cost location fed by the talented graduates of Algoma University,” according to Naccarato.
The four year old start-up is part of the larger Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC), where Naccarato also acts as VP of development. The SSMIC was established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and knowledge-based sectors.