Personal Space is a free-to-play game produced by Pastel Peaks Production in 2020 that aims to show how people suffering from society anxieties feel like in this gamified experience.
*Spoilers for the game ahead*
Throughout the game, you take control of someone at various social events who suffers from social anxiety and avoid becoming too stressed.
The game has three levels. Each level puts the protagonist into a different situation with different tasks to complete. Starting off as a high school student at their high school prom, you walk around the school, looking for your friend and your teacher, while trying to avoid the chatty people around the school who wish to talk to you.
You have to try to manoeuvre yourself around the school without getting trapped or stuck within a group of people. Doing so will result in you becoming overwhelmed and your stress level increase.
As you enter a red zone the people in the level gather around you, limiting your ability to get out of the zone and move about. Remaining in the red zone increases your anxiety and stress. If it gets too high you get overwhelmed, ultimately resulting in the game being over and having to restart the level. As it increases the screen begins to darken and the music changes.
There are ways to reduce your stress, by finding a blue zone – which are seen in the corners of the room away from the large crowds, allowing a chance to reduce your stress level.
From the start of the game, you have the ability to run during the game, useful if you are overstressed. As you progress through the levels you unlock even more abilities to help deal with your anxieties, such as the ability to make your own blue zone to calm down.
While the game is very short, it tells an important lesson about social anxiety in a number of different situations, however, it would be good to have more game levels to increase the game time.
The game brilliantly portrays what it is like to suffer from social anxieties, with the feeling of entrapment from the people you surround you causing you to feel frustrated as you try to escape.
Personal space is available on PC and Mac via the steam store.