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Mental Illness in videogames

This is one of those times where you jump into something thinking that you’ll have much more to work with than is actually available. I pored through my games library looking for ones with ties to mental illness, but ended up with a list of only about twenty. It still feels like there might be some obvious ones absent, feel free to let me know if that’s the case.

Mental illness is something that touches most people at some point in their life. With an increasing awareness of it’s prevalence and the impact it has on those affected, the role it plays in our day to day lives finds representation in every form of art. There was, and is, a stigma surrounding mental illness that led to sufferers of a broad variety of illnesses being ostracised as crazy, subjected to inhumane treatment in asylums and denied basic human rights. While this trend has seen a great deal of change in recent years, these depictions of those afflicted still work their way into the narrative of books, films and video games. Games like Fallout, Hotline Miami and Grant Theft Auto V employ representations of mentally ill people as anti-social and psychopathic killers in order to justify the violent behaviour therein.

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Illness and Injury in Videogames

Video games have a tense relationship with human biology. One that revolves around mostly ignoring how they work when knives or arrows or lead are introduced to them. This is necessary to keep gameplay fluid, as the months or years necessary to rehabilitate from a single bullet wound generally don’t fit the narrative of going on to diligently murder every living soul between the player and revenge/treasure/freedom. It’s a relationship that only becomes more strained if you extend it to include the many, many illnesses that can befall our fragile anatomy.

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Love is Love, ½ a Review

Released December 28th 2016, Love is Love is a collaborative project by IDW and DC Comics that brings together world-renowned writers and artists from inside and outside of the comic community in memorial of the tragic shooting in Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12th of the same year. Available in print and digital format, all proceeds from the book are going to the victims, survivors, and their families through Equality Florida.

I haven’t read the comic in it’s entirety yet. The truth is, it’s hard to read. Comics are usually a medium that rely on the reader to remain emotionally invested while suspending disbelief, but not in this case. In Love is Love, you’re invested because it’s all real and relatable and human. It’s underscored by the fact that each vignette – whether proud and defiant or sorrowful and lamenting – has a tragedy as it’s foundation.

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Owlboy – Better Late

This is just a piece I wrote when applying for a news reporter role on a geek culture website, archived here for posterity.

Indie Platformer Owlboy (due 01/11/16) has been a long time coming. Nine years coming, in fact. Developer D-Pad Studio began work on the game in 2007 [1] and the end result seems the definition of a labour of love. You play as Otus, a young member of a dwindling race called the Owls. Half owl, half person, the Owls are touted as having produced many of the world’s great wonders. This sets the bar pretty high for Otus, who is described as “struggling to live up to the expectations of owl-hood”. Continue reading

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The Dice is Right (?); Adventures of a First Time DM

Please, please forgive that title. I was thinking of going with ‘Of Dice and Men’, but that was taken. ‘Nice to be dice’ just doesn’t make much sense. ‘Dice, dice, baby’? Actually, that last one might be better. Feel free to chime in with feedback re: the title.

This is going to be an account of my own personal experience delving into Dungeons and Dragons and not necessarily a guide for aspiring DM’s, but here are a couple of links with the most essential resources I’ve found while learning to play.

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