Video games are often escapist fantasy, but there's no escaping mental illness and more and more games are beginning to explore how the two can positively intersect to raise awareness. One such effort is the newly-released Fractured Minds, a 2017 BAFTA award-winning "interactive short" by teenaged indie developer Emily Mitchell.
Rather than telling a cohesive story, Fractured Minds sends players on a "journey through the human psyche" across six different "atmospheric and thought-provoking chapters, each symbolizing a different aspect or challenge associated with mental health." Through a series of "everyday situations becoming distorted beyond recognition," these levels provide a disturbing yet hope-filled exploration of deep and often crippling emotions like "emptiness, anxiety, depression and paranoia."
Presented in free-roaming, first-person 3D, this "immersive artistic short game" promises a variety of challenges to overcome and puzzles to solve across its discrete levels, each inspired by the developer's own life experiences in dealing with anxiety. Designed to be "provocative and at times uncomfortable," the goal of the game is not merely to entertain but also to "help bring attention to and shed light on anxiety and mental illness in order to create a greater understanding and stand in solidarity with mental health sufferers around the world."
The budget-priced Fractured Minds, winner of the 2017 BAFTA Young Games Designers award, is now available for Windows and Mac on Steam, as well as digitally on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Switch. With every sale of the game, significant proceeds will go to support Safe In Our World, a "new games industry charity dedicated to raising and supporting mental health awareness."