Developer: Alex Maskill
Launcher Quote: “== PARTY PLAN PANIC! ==
It’s my birthday, I’ve got my dearest friends coming over to my flat, and I’m 99% certain that if my furniture isn’t arranged to create a welcoming space they’ll all hate me and my brain will explode.
A semi-autobiographical mini-game by Alex Maskill. Made real quick with a bunch of reused parts. Does it have one big script called “GameController” and a whole bunch of hard-coded nonsense? You better believe it, bucko.
(DISCLAIMER: This game is exaggerated for comedic effect, I’m not actually this bad in real life!)”
Anxiety is something that I’ve felt at times during my life, but it wasn’t until I had to help and deal with others who had it that I began to understand, at least as much as I could not being first-hand experiencing it, how difficult it can get for people. For those who struggle with anxiety and anxiety attacks, it’s much more than just the occasional feeling that you get when you have something that you’re nervous about or if you’ve had a somewhat bad or stressful day. For those for which it is a persistent and difficult issue, it’s a crushing, paralyzing experience that keeps people from being able to enjoy or even deal with the normal everyday events and occurrences in life.
Trying to manage the anxiety level while not trying to indulge it too much in today’s Meditation game entry was definitely a challenge. It wasn’t a matter of a button click to fix things, because the game recognized you having to do this and acted accordingly. It also wasn’t just a matter of letting things get terribly out of hand to the point of having to fix them last minute, either. There was a delicate balance to be achieved between making the re-arrangements and letting them be for a time, to allow for things to not go into the red and stay there. This sort of challenging, seemingly inconsistent balancing act seemed to simulate, for me, what people have told me about when they’ve had to deal with being anxious, not just for one day, but every day.
The key thing that I think should be remembered with all of these games that try to depict what it’s like to deal with mental health issues is that it isn’t an abnormal state to be anxious or have to deal with anxiety. For many, dealing with anxiety attacks or any other challenge when it comes to mental health is remedied in part by understanding the fact that we as humans operate differently and deal with the world’s sometimes overwhelming stimuli and expectations in certain ways. Utilizing therapy, support, medication, and other such resources at our disposal doesn’t make someone less than what they are – just that like when someone is in physical pain and treats it, so too does mental pain require the same care, attention, and normalization rather than stigma. A game can only simulate what it’s like to deal with that in real life, but it’s definitely a reminder of trying to better understand and be there for those that go through it, rather than minimize or dismiss it.