Meet Tara Diana Cushing
Bejeweled Provides Rewards and Relaxation for Busy Psychotherapist
Tara Diana Cushing may be in her sixties, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate a good game! As a psychotherapist from Olympia, Washington, Diana spends her days helping others in personal counseling. While the work is rewarding, it can take a toll.
“My work involves extremely complex problems which rarely give me much feedback, except over a long term,” Diana says. “I like, maybe even need, to have some place in my life where the problems are less complex, more solvable, give immediate feedback, and are absorbing enough to erase other thoughts from my mind.” She has long been using computer games—particularly PopCap games—to help her relax and mentally “check out.” Before Bejeweled 2, Diana considered herself a Bookworm fan. But once she stumbled across the gem-swapping masterpiece, she says, it was love at first sight. “I played for as long as the free trial lasted, and purchased B2 promptly when it ran out. Bejeweled 2 has most of what I'd want in a game, and then some.” It even provides the immediate feedback she wants in her everyday life: “I'm a praise junkie,” she admits, “and just love the verbal feedback that says ‘Good,’ ‘Excellent!’ and ‘Incredible!!!’ in that wonderfully authoritative voice. I think this game is an amazing piece of work, and the more I play it, the more I think so.”
But Diana plays for more than just virtual praise and relaxation. Playing Bejeweled keeps her thinking sharp without ratcheting up her stress—which, given her family history, is very important to her. “I use computer games as ‘mental exercise’ to postpone the onset of Alzheimer's as long as possible,” she says. “My mother died of it. I prefer the puzzle games as exercising many aspects of cognition which are otherwise missing in my life.”
So what’s next for this Bejeweled addict? “I recently was granted permission to play Twilight mode, which adds another whole dimension to the experience,” she says. “I especially like the way the reinforcing voice becomes positively lugubrious at this level—at least it does on our computer,” Diana laughs. “B2 is truly a brilliant game, and I look forward to future versions of Bejeweled!”