Developer: Mike Judge
Launcher Quote: “Welcome to October 11th.
I hope you like this.
It looks weird!
It’s actually about my anxiety and flying on planes.
If you suffer from a frequent feeling of impending doom,
get help. Therapy, exercise, medication, research. It gets better.
Anxiety over flying is not an unusual thing to hear about when it comes to fear. The fact is that for some people, being at an immense altitude off the ground with the prospect of the worst case scenario crashing and burning from that height is a harrowing experience. It doesn’t matter how rare that crashes happen, that technology on planes has made that even less likely, or anything else that is meant to calm concerns about the safety of flying – anxiety knows no bounds at times, and that’s completely understandable when confronted with the circumstances that trigger than anxiety.
This entry is a bit simple in presentation – a few colors, and a night flight that seemed to go over a mountainous landscape. But the presentation of what I assumed to be heatmap coloring does a lot for being able to present how it feels to look out the window as someone who has anxiety over flying and see, from what I can understand, the places where you might most likely or least likely end up having an unceremonious landing. The darkness all around doesn’t help this – it leaves the landscape to the imagination, and as a lot of people will tell you, it’s sometimes what fear is imagined as that is worse than actually seeing the object of that fear itself. The result is an experience that leaves you panning around, being somewhat assaulted with the colors and darkness, and wondering what might come next – an accurate representation of the anxiety that the developer and others probably go through.
The game doesn’t show how that experience is coped with, how that anxiety is overcome – but that is, perhaps, part of the point. It’s always there and waiting, and you can only use what the developer suggests – therapy, exercise, meditation and research – to try to deal with it when it does inevitably rear its ugly head. It’s a microcosm of the mental health struggle that people go through every day, not just with flying, but with many other triggers of anxiety, and it’s important for everyone to understand how it manifests – a message that definitely got sent with this entry in the series.