What We Do in the Darkness

Exploring the Trauma of Town of Light's Renée

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Content/Trigger Warning: Discussion of trauma and sexual assault.

Darkness is often synonymous with fear; where things go bump in the night, where monsters live. But what could make someone fear the light?

For Renée T., the protagonist of the LKA’s The Town of Light, the light bathed her with hellish attention, turning her inside-out. The game’s title, which initially strikes one as pious and placid, is actually a description of terror. The town is a mental asylum where young Renée is confined, in an Italian village at the height of the Second World War. Women couldn’t vote in Italy; lobotomies were all the rage; ‘hysteria’ was a diagnosis. Continue Reading

A Super Better Gameful Life

Jane McGonigal

Her new book, SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games (Penguin Books, 2015), seeks to explain in detail the SuperBetter method, which aims to teach how to live and overcome every life obstacle with a gameful mindset. McGonigal defined what “being gameful” means to her back in 2009: “having the positive traits of a gamer” (or a game), such as strong motivation and goal orientation, confidence in one’s own capabilities, enjoying the pursuit of new challenges, perseverance in the face of obstacles, and a passion for learning new skills 1. SuperBetter explains how to bring this mindset to everyday life. Continue Reading

The Malkavians’ World

Representations of Mental Health in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines

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Games, we know, do not have the best reputation in terms of representation. Through the decades, games have gained notoriety for excluding people who aren’t seen as their target audience: especially women, people of color, and people of different sexualities. On top of that, certain genres—particularly military shooters and horror games—have developed a reputation for stigmatizing people with mental illnesses. Too often these games equate people who have a mental illness with monsters and/or villains. For example, Silent Hill (Konami, 1999) … Continue Reading