Remembrance Game – A Possible Mental Health Tool?

Video games are not usually thought of as thought-provoking and deep. Now whilst the stories in the games may be deep and thought-provoking it is not often that the actions of the players’ character make them sit up and think about what just happened. Call of Duty did it in a controversial way with their ‘terrorists-shoot-everybody-on-site’ level and Halo made us feel that poignant moment when you realised that no matter how many enemies you slay, your character was not going to get out of this alive. Lets even go deeper than that. There have been very few games that I have played that have triggered a response that I did not feel comfortable with. After my accident, I couldn’t play a game where I drove through traffic and huge trucks would come up behind me, they gave me a few flashbacks but this was not, of course, the designers intent. I usually avoid any sort of game that would trigger any sort of emotional or mental response in me, after all, I play games for fun, not to think.

Then I came across this game called Remembrance available on itch.io.

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The game is made by RemembranceStudios a small and brand new studio consisting of ex-students who started the game as their final project whilst studying together at uni. It is not a game in the traditional sense but more a journey or a 3D interactive story that the player, plays out. I do not want to go into too much detail but the first thing that struck me about this game was the feelings it invoked inside me as I played it. I did not like the feelings and the emotions that were stirred deep inside so I consequently struggled to play through it in one sitting. It was a game that had me thinking deeply, a little too deeply at times and yes to use a modern catchphrase, I can honestly say that I was triggered. It is not a very long game but the residual feelings it leaves behind is longer lasting.

In-game footage

The themes in the game are quite dark and will affect different players in different ways. When you explore the wonderfully created environment and interact with different objects It may cause old painful memories to resurface or feelings of empathy and sadness to come to the fore. All feelings and emotions that we as players usually do not like to experience, especially when playing a game.

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Game Screenshot

This made me think that this game would be excellent as some sort of tool for people to heal. A tool for people to open up and start getting the help they need.

Depression can be thrust upon a person for many different reasons and from many different causes. It is also unfortunately now occurring in epidemic proportions.

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Beyond Blue states:

3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.

and…

Only 35 per cent of Australians with anxiety and depression access treatment.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.

What is even more alarming…

Men are less likely to seek help than women, with only 1 in 4 men who experience anxiety or depression accessing treatment.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.

The general information I have gleaned is that there is probably even more out there suffering from depression but are not even aware that they are suffering from it. Games like Remembrance could change all that. The game is selling at $5, which is pretty steep for such a relatively short experience but is well worth it. I feel that this game should be studied by psychologists and the like to see how they can utilise it. Some sort of questionnaire following the game could give the medical personnel a deeper insight into the persons’ mind and how they are feeling emotionally and mentally.

The developers are also making another version that will be available on Steam in the next few months. I feel that this is not the way to go for this game. Instead, the developers need to approach some psychology and psychiatry type people and work together with them to see how the game can be used for early diagnosis of various mental and emotional problems. I believe strongly that there is great potential for this sort of game and experience in the medical field. A set of different scenarios could be developed and utilised to great advantage for many different sufferers.

But up until the world sits up and takes notice of how much video games can help people we need to support young up and coming developers of games like this.

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Check out Remembrance on Itch.io and soon Steam.
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Game Screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

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