We recently received an interesting email from Dr. Benjamin Alterman, a clinical psychologist certified in neurofeedback therapy. With his permission, here’s what he had to say:
Dear Metanet Software,
I’d like to express my thanks for the important contribution your game N has made to many of my patients. I am a clinical psychologist specializing in neurobehavioral therapy for disorders of attention, anxiety, and impulsivity in adolescents. For a portion of their mental training, we run N on a PC with the AV signal channeled through a switch that responds to the patient’s brainwaves or skin-conductance. When the patient’s autonomic nervous system becomes excited or brain becomes agitated beyond a certain threshold, the AV signal is automatically cut-off and the game paused until the patient can again play with perfect composure.
Better than any other game I’ve employed, N is beautifully adapted for this purpose. In practice mode with the timer off, not only does the game-play allow for pausing even at critical junctures whenever the AV signal is interrupted, but the level design also allows me to teach patients with learning disabilities and attention deficits how to gather information from failure, identify new strategies, practice the execution of those strategies, and then, following additional failures, reassess their strategies or need for further skill acquisition. This training teaches them meta-awareness which helps them to develop frustration tolerance in real world academic and social environments in a way that talk therapy alone does not.
So, thanks again for your fine work. It has made a substantial difference in the lives of many young people and their families. (Incidentally, they also really enjoy watching their N-body bounce around after it becomes a corpse.)
Benjamin Alterman, Ph.D.
We were amazed and humbled to hear that; that N could be a part of something so progressive and cool is simply inspiring.
It would have been pretty awesome if we could have shipped N+ with an AV switch peripheral, so that everyone could try this sort of training…that’s a great idea for the sequel, whenever that happens!
Thanks for writing, Dr. Alterman, you rock! We’re happy we could help
In other, less awesome news, the N+ DS/PSP community servers are officially no more. We received word from our stalwart contact at Atari that the valiant efforts to rescue the data servers for N+ DS and PSP (from Silverbirch, the now-defunct developer of the handheld versions) and reinstate them on-site at Atari have failed, and since the project has unfortunately been something of a financial failure, the community servers are not a priority and will now be abandoned. We fully understand the decision on Atari’s part, and cannot fault them at all; it just sucks for everyone awesome enough to buy the DS/PSP versions of N+.
We are saddened by the news, since this marks the end of a (rather short) era of sharing levels and playing multiplayer games on the handheld systems, but we are not surprised; this was an inevitability that we think unfortunately arrived long before it was due. Players will have to be content with single player levels moving forward — hopefully the quality and quantity there will suffice.
Thanks to everyone, for playing N+. We hope you continue to enjoy it! Let’s have a moment of silence for N+ DS and PSP’s online content.
That’s it for today’s trip through the mailbag; coming “soon” (in the next couple weeks): a new video of in-development Robotology stuff. Mark your calendars for some vague date in the future!