The video game industry is vast, covering many genres and gameplay styles. But were you aware there are video games that take an in-depth look at mental health conditions. *Spoilers for the game ahead.*
One such game is Fractured minds, created by Emily Mitchell for Wired Productions in 2017. The game looks at mental health and how it affects you on a daily basis. It is available on Xbox One, PS4, PC, iOS, Windows, Android, and Nintendo Switch. The game earned Mitchell a British Academy Film (BAFTA) award for best Young Game Designer in 2017.
Using her own experience with depression and anxiety as a baseline, the game takes you through the life of living with a mental illness, with each chapter looking at a particular element, including; the feeling of being trapped, sinking and emptiness.
The bright and ‘calm’ game design brilliantly counteracts the theme of mental health problems. Creating an almost unnerving vibe though the game. The innocence of pinning the tail on a donkey in one moment and in the next moment the feeling of emptiness and feeling alone in a busy room.
While it is a short game (30 minutes – 1 hour at the most), that doesn’t stop the message of the game from getting through to the reader. It shows how hard basic tasks can be such as in chapter one trying to find the right key out, but as you continuously find the wrong key the words fill the screen making the situation more overwhelming for the player.
Available for less than £2 on many devices, it is definitely worth the spend to try something so different and take a look at different elements of mental illness. With 80% of profits from the game being split between a private fund for Mitchell’s future and the rest to mental health charity Safe In Our World.