5 Games With A Good Representation Of Those Struggling With Mental Health Conditions
More often than we like, representation of mental health conditions in games are often villainised or portrayed with inaccurate stereotypes
Mental health representation in games are most often portrayed as something to fear instead of something to understand. Game villains are villains only on the basis that they are 'criminally insane' and symbolism of mental illnesses take the form of scary monsters that jumpscare players around the corner.
After all, gaming's favourite villain is mental illness, as discussed in a Polygon article. However, it's worth noting that this go-to element of video games impedes important discussions on mental health awareness and what really goes on in an affected person's mind.
On that note, let's explore five games that portray exactly what it's like to struggle with a mental illness:
1. GRIS (2018) — a puzzle-platformer game that explores grief and the journey to acceptance
GRIS (2018) revolves around the story of Gris, the protagonist who is struggling with a painful loss and is lost in her own world as she attempts to process her grief. With the ability to use her dress as a way to progress through her broken reality, she navigates through her sorrow and unlocks new paths to healing.
Download GRIS here and watch the trailer below:
2. Grimm's Hollow (2019) — a free-to-play roleplaying (RPG) game dealing with topics of the afterlife and parental conflict
In Grimm's Hollow (2019), you play as Lavender, who wakes up in the afterlife and goes on a journey to find her brother. Reap souls and fight ghosts as you try to find Timmy.
The game has multiple endings, good and bad, and centres around Lavender's acceptance of the afterlife and her past conflict with her parents before her death.
Download Grimm's Hollow here and watch the trailer below:
3. Robin (2018) — a free slice-of-life game about a character who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome
Robin (2018) revolves around the struggles of Robin, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and has trouble managing her time and doing daily tasks.
There is no 'winning' ending, as the player attempts to help Robin organise her life over the weekends. The game is definitely a wonderful insight to what it's like to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Download Robin here and watch the trailer below:
4. Night in the Woods (2017) — play as a college dropout returning to her hometown in this spooky adventure platforming game
Follow Mae Borowski in Night in the Woods (2017) as she returns back to her hometown after dropping out from college. She reconnects with former friends who were previously in her life as she struggles with anger issues, depression, and dissociative episodes.
Download Night in the Woods here and watch the trailer below:
5. Just, Bearly (2018) — a free story game about a bear who has social anxiety and struggles with various awkward moments in his daily life
Just, Bearly (2018) follows a bear that struggles with social anxiety as he tries to navigate his daily life. Overthink and underperform as a bear that attempts to connect with friends, officemates, and random people on the commute.
The gameplay is a series of mini games and vignettes that portray painfully real and awkward situations we all may have been in throughout our lives.
Download Just, Bearly here and watch the trailer below: