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Review: Inner Vision, a game about suicide prevention

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Depression is a difficult topic to tackle.

There is a lot of stigma surrounding the admission of mental illness. Often people assume that one is “just being lazy.” Many people will ask how you are but it’s difficult to share because of the veil of silence surrounding this disease.

You worry that people may not be able to deal with the weight of your impossibly heavy feelings; how you literally cannot lift your head from the pillow in the morning because it feels like your brain is encased in a dense fog of greyness. This is incredibly frustrating.

You don’t want to be labelled as “insane” or admit to your incredible sadness because it’s like admitting to a weakness – you should be able to shrug this off without anyone’s help. Sometimes you don’t even feel sad, you just feel dead: it's difficult for me to find the right words to encompass all of this fully, but the nearest I can come to is that happiness is something completely non-existent. You might get angry, but it’s sort of like going through the motions. 

How do I know all of this? It’s because I have bi-polar disorder and that is what it felt like to be me before I started meds and therapy. My first admission of the fact that I was seeing a therapist earned a lot of laughter from the person I was talking to because she thought that “only crazy people see psychologists”; so when I saw that someone had designed a game around the themes of suicide and depression, my first  thought was “Oh God, what now?”

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However, I’ve played Inner Vision now and I actually found it to be an empathetic portrayal of what it feels like to be depressed and/or suicidal. It’s a simple Flash game (it took me 15 minutes to complete) made by indie dev, Sunil Rao. You are presented with a character named Yama who challenges you to convince three people as to why they shouldn’t kill themselves because "what's the world minus a few sad people anyway?". These people speak to you about their feelings; you are then presented with 3 options of advice to give them. All of this takes place with a backing of gorgeous cello music from Takenobu.

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Mr Rao said that he was rather overwhelmed by the positive responses he received after making the game:

"The response to Inner Vision is the reason why I make games. If one of my games makes you feel something unique and special, my job here is done…I really put my heart into the game, and it’s based on some personal experiences I’ve had, so when I see people praising it by saying that it helped them think about their own life in a new light, I start to tear up."

Play the it here.

In actual fact, I think it’s courageous for someone to seek help of any sort when they feel depressed. It’s terrifying to bare your black and necrotic soul to a complete stranger. Despite the fact that it’s ok to medicate yourself if you have a cold; taking pills to fix your brain is still something cast in a derogatory light. Depression isn’t something lifelong, but it can be life-threatening.

If anyone reading this can identify completely with these feels and wants to talk about it, you can contact LifeLine on (0861-322-322)

Stephanie's Twitter / MWEB Gamezone Twitter | Facebook

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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