Erin Reynolds, designer and creative director behind the biofeedback horror adventure Nevermind, is hoping to bring a whole new level of interaction between game and player to the table, but her Kickstarter campaign is going to need some serious support in its final days.
Claiming to be a game as well as a “stress and anxiety management tool”, Nevermind literally changes in response to players’ fear responses as they traverse a nightmare world of frightening imagery. The first-person horror game is described as being similar in gameplay to the likes of Myst, filled with alien worlds and complex puzzles to solve that will ultimately unlock a terrifying mystery. As a Neuroprober, your job is to literally delve into the minds and psyches of trauma victims, exploring their unnerving and twisted memories in order to help resolve them.
Responding to a heart rate monitor worn around the torso, which measures the player’s heart rate variability and can sense when stress and anxiety get the upper hand, the game has been designed from the ground up to respond to these changes in emotional state by altering variables found within the levels. For example, an increased fear response may result in light within the game dimming, the screen becoming grainy, or even the current room to start flooding.
In addition to providing a creepy and unique gaming experience, Reynolds hopes to see Nevermind used as a tool that will teach players how to respond to stressful stimuli with a minimum of anxiety, and how to deal with nervousness and fear more effectively. However, the game’s Kickstarter page does warn that “if you are a player who suffers from serious issues relating to PTSD or anxiety, it’s likely that you should only play Nevermind under the supervision of a medical professional or – perhaps – refrain from playing it all.”
To make the game more accessible for those whose budget won’t allow the purchase of a heart rate monitor, Nevermind can be played monitor-free as well. Secondary responsive cues, like the manner in which the player is moving, will then take its place and provide the game its cues and triggering reactions within the game.
Nevermind is expected to ship June 2015, provided that the Kickstarter campaign reaches its goal of $250,000 by March 7th. A digital copy of the game is available starting at $25, while a special Kickstarter-only bundle including a heart rate sensor and the game runs $250.
Nevermind will be available on PC and Mac, and has been slated to appear on Steam, with an Xbox One version currently in negotiation (pending a $275,000 stretch goal being reached).