Developer: Laura de Castro
Launcher Quote: “Anxiety. Here comes a thought. And another one. And more and more. You try to relax, to remove slowly all those feelings from your head, but no matter how hard you try it doesn’t stop, it gets even worse. And suddenly your head is full of thoughts, not all of them are bad, but the amount of them is so overwhelming. You feel like your brain is at its limit, a single piece of information more and it’ll explode. You freeze, while your brain has an overflow of information and feelings.
But eventually it’ll get better, sooner or later you’ll get better, because you’re not alone. We’re not alone.”
While I’m not someone who experiences anxiety, I’ve had it explained to me a ton by those who do experience it and struggle to deal with it every day. One of the consistent explanations I’ve heard is that it’s a feeling of being overwhelmed, of too much input being taken in to the brain and threatening to break it, of a sort of overexposure to stimuli and feelings and ideas that paralyzes people into inaction. This game, however, takes a more visual approach to it, in all the right ways, and with a modern take.
Emoji faces are probably one of the latest evolutions of communication, replacing the text-based smileys of the 2000’s with more detailed and varying faces and iconography. This is pretty much why they’re entirely appropriate to depict the developer’s explanation of anxiety as a bunch of thoughts that overwhelm you. Each emoji represents an idea or thought, and written in multiple groups, tends to be a little bit too much in my estimation. When that gets transferred into the brain as a bunch of loosely associated, yet still overwhelming items, it turns into a mob that threatents to break down your mental stability, and seeing that happen here in the form of emoji overload really helps us understand that.
We didn’t see anything here in terms of coping with this kind of mob attack on the mind, but from a certain point of view, it doesn’t make any sense that there would be one shown. Anxiety is an ongoing thing that many people deal with, and there’s no real cure-all that works for everyone. A combination of medication, therapy, and coping mechanisms construct the solution to many folks who experience anxiety, and even then, it can sometimes be a struggle. The point of showing us how anxiety looks here, is partly for those of us who know it exists, and to better understand it in an effort to being better friends, partners, and the like to those that do. As in many things, the visualization helps.