Author: William M. Lee
This is a guest post and does not represent the views of CheckPoint.
This game represents the effects of depression, anxiety and general phobias very well.
Causing me to step away from the game multiple times due to the emotional impact.
Looking at Selma’s character design, the developers have made it, so you can put anyone as her.
The game starts out as a seemingly normal scene. There is a mother reading her daughter a bedtime story until she falls asleep. After she is asleep her fears begin to come out as a monster under her bed and a scary tree shadow on her window. Then, this little ball of light appears from her lava lamp, and she says, “Look what’s hiding under my bed. Will it hurt me? Make me dead? I just want to cry and moan. Children shouldn’t be alone.”
One of the many puzzles you will face in the game. No warning is given on what will happen. You just foresee something bad is in store.
Puzzles given show just enough information to tell you what to do, but figuring out how to do them, is completely up to you. You are Selma’s guide through dangerous obstacles either as a maze or using timing. Since she does not have of voice to speak. Make a wrong move and you lose. The fail state screen also gives you a short message with phrases as the following:
- “Did she just die?”
- “And that’s it…”
- “Oh death please consider my age”
- “You can’t play when she’s dead…”
- “Leave the body and leave it cold”
With the Wisp representing a support system for Selma, too much time away from her will cause her to collapse from anxiety. All that time, you will hear her heart start to race and the screen just fades. As the Wisp, you must also collect energy for yourself or fizzle out. This representing how, even though you are helping someone, you must take care of yourself as well.
Not only do you have to pass the level maintaining your energy, but you must also sustain yourself, so you can also see the dangers that lie ahead.
A good lesson from this is that, if you know someone struggling with mental illness, you should be there for them. Also, never stray too far for long because to them you may be their only saving grace. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a person suffering from mental illness should never feel like they are alone. Another message would be to not give up just because you can’t find a way. No matter how defeated you may feel.