Trigger warning: Please be aware that the following article contains written and visual material that may be triggering to people with underlying sensitivities concerned with OCD, anxiety, depression, grief, and suicide. We’d also like to make it known that some of the video games mentioned have age restrictions of 16 and above. Please choose what you play mindfully.
Even though shows like Girls have worked to change this, OCD, and many other mental health issues, are too often misunderstood. Hand up if you’ve ever laughingly told a friend that your OCD was acting up when you neatened the contents of your pencil bag?
We’re not trying to shame you – it’s an understandable mistake. Not enough is known about the much more common side effects of this debilitating mental illness, and it’s easy to drop a line that might be insensitive to those dealing with it on a deeper level.
But what if a video game could change that? Yeah, as in the ones you play on your PC or console. Well, Neverending Nightmares tried to do just that. And riffing off of the discussion created by Mental Health Awareness week earlier this month, we thought we’d give you a proper introduction to the game, as well as two others making massive breakthroughs with this incredible new expressive medium.
Some people living with OCD do experience it as an obsession with certain numbers, patterns, or neatness. These can be extremely invasive, and don’t generally mean you just like to keep a clean desk or bedroom. Then there are other kinds of OCD that involve nightmarish thoughts that repeatedly encroach on the sufferer’s waking and sleeping hours. It’s this type of OCD that the game studio, Infinitap Games, explores with this title.
The game *stunningly* shows how intrusive thoughts can severely impact the day-to-day reality for many people trying to cope under OCD. A great game to break boundaries in the general understanding of what OCD is, but not recommended for everyone. Get it from Steam. Age restriction 18.
Last year The Independent ran an inquiry into depression and anxiety rates among teenagers in the UK, reporting that there has been a 70% increase in these over last twenty-five years. What does this stat look like in real life? Many of you and your friends will have had first-hand experience with side-effects like insomnia, weight changes, and a sense of hopelessness.
Clearly we need to have more open conversations about this. Depression Quest from developer, Zoe Quinn, helps by putting the player in the mind of a person suffering with depression. You are asked a series of questions, and you’re only able to give a very limited range of answers thanks to the disorder’s influence on your wellbeing. It’s an especially good game to play if you have someone in your life with depression; There are 150 unique encounters up for experiencing, and there are five possible endings – a chance to really immerse yourself into someone else’s world. Pay what you want for it here, or play it online for free.
Life is Strange is one of the very best-ever games to directly deal with mental health issues in young adults. Players see a typical college through the eyes of Max Caulfield, a freshman who witnesses a terrible incident that leaves her with the power to reverse time. Max must use it to navigate a tricky world of in-groups and cliques, best friend hang-ups, sexual experiences, and even solve a local missing case.
It’s a bit like the game took all our secret wishes to do-over our interactions with people we think are cooler than us, and turned it into a mechanic that shows you just how hard this life stage can be. Get it on Steam (first episode is free!), but look out for the mature content warning.
If you’d like to know more about mental health you can search that term in our search bar above. You might also want to read this post on taking a mental health day, or take this quiz on which mental health read you should grab next. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve played any of these and what you thought of them.