Sheryl Bishop, who studies human performance in extreme environments at UTMB, thinks games will have an important role to play in keeping astronauts sharp and alert on long missions. Playing a game with a computer (or with the same small group of people you're trapped on a spaceship with) can remove some of the surprise and unpredictability that makes gaming a powerful boredom cure. So Bishop, an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) player herself, started thinking about the benefits of playing against a changing and unfamiliar cadre of real people.