A Young Games Developer Has Turned Her Anxiety into a Game Development Career
Emily Mitchell has lived with severe anxiety for almost her entire life, and has used gaming as the outlet to escape from the starker realities of her world. Instead of simply consuming video game entertainment, it seems Mitchell is also creating a few of her own and sharing her experiences with others.
“Her debut game is Fractured Minds, a first-person puzzle adventure for PC and consoles. She developed the entire game on her own when she was 17 to enter the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition -- and she won. Working with Wired Productions and new mental health charity Safe In Our World, Mitchell has been able to polish and publish the final game, which has already sold tens of thousands of copies.” (GamesIndustry)
Her game is split across six chapters, where players will enjoy a journey that explores the human psyche and aspects of life those suffering from mental health disorders have to endure. Mitchell’s experience with anxiety certainly resonates throughout the game, though the game’s presentation can apply just as strongly to those suffering with depression, paranoia, or similar mental conditions.
“I wanted to allow people to interpret it how they wanted to," Mitchell explains. "So there's quite a lot of symbolism in the game -- like how in the first level you can't find the right key and it gets more and more frustrating. Each level is like a different aspect of mental health, different frames of mind people can experience in all types of conditions.”
While the game is only twenty to thirty minutes long, Mitchell hopes the experience will help players better understand what those with mental health issues have to go through, and help those that do have such issues understand they’re not alone in their struggle.
Art can often be a powerful thing, and with video games’ rise into mainstream popularity over the past few decades, it’s quickly becoming the perfect medium to tell stories and share experiences, as Mitchell has found.
Mitchell plans to continue with her game development career, crafting further titles that resonate with people who share her anxiety issues as well as other similar mental health issues.
The interactivity of such games makes for a powerful experience. Have you played a game that had a profound impact on you? Make sure you share your own experiences and thoughts in the comments below.