Engagements with mental health issues are the most challenging; invisible, varied and weighed down with stereotypes and the baggage of humanity’s inability to comprehend the mysteries of the mind. The stigma that often accompanies people suffering from neurological and mental disorders has led to complex challenges as mental health professionals attempt to find ways to care for them. However, the challenge of fighting an invisible foe (mental health issues) is a tall order and the need to create a visual, experiential form that allows others to experience and find ways to empathize.
Extend the invisible to the experiential
Sea of Solitude is one such game, a game that allows you to face loneliness; depression and dimensions of personal insecurities and bullying. A game that focuses on showing hope, despair and the gamut of negative emotions that one experiences in times of mental distress; Sea of Solitude offers the perspective of a young girl and her internal struggles. By using light and brightness and shades of darkness and gloom to display shifts in mood and self-doubts this game helps one experience the complex psyche of a teenager. The marvelous display of color is accompanied by the right haptic vibrations on the controller
to make the overall experience a lot more immersive as your palms experience pain, relief and delight along with the mind.
As a game Sea of Solitude is a simple narrative and an easy set of challenges to overcome. The controls can be a bit laggy and the game doesn’t feel as responsive but the message that it delivers is top-notch. The Venice like sub-conscious in which the game is set, serves as a great canvas to show the problems that dwell within. The submerged city and its channels darken and threaten with ease and hope and optimism shine bright to tear through it all.
By no means a simple game, this is one that needs you to reflect and look within. We are all flawed and plagued with mental scars, this game possibly lets us revisit them. Worth a try if you aren’t scared to ask yourself the tough questions. Not therapy but definitely therapeutic.
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