I have played a total of six games, all different from each other. They did not have the same context, yet had one thing related them to each other, and it was accurate decision making. These games made me realize that wherever you are, whatever obstacle you’re facing, whatever experience you’re going through, all of the decision you take are in your hands. Your decisions will affect the outcomes laid out in your future, whether near or far. They decide your reputation and safety.
Sure, during the game you have the choice to always come back and correct the choices you previously took if you did not like the outcomes they give you. But in reality, this doesn’t happen in real life. Not everything is promised. At times, you can’t even trust your own gut because you have to think 100 steps ahead of your decisions. You need to go through rough and traumatic experiences to get what you (that’s if you actually succeed). And if not taking decisions for your own sake, but others, you have to be very careful when choosing what would best suit that person’s current lifestyle, which makes it more stressful to you.
The first game I played was called Spent. The game empathizes with poverty. I had to play it a couple of times because it really made me realize that I dont know how to save up money for myself and more importantly for my child. It takes courage to say no to your child because on one hand your saving up for the best of both of you but on the other you’re not giving him the best childhood experience, which could affect his future mental health. In this game, I learned through experience that when you make choices and life hits you back.
The second game BBC Syrian refugees was about taking on a role of a Syrian refugee and making decisions of where to escape and how to escape. This game made me realize that whatever decision you take will not be the best one for your sake. There will always be consequences to your decision, sometimes you are even forced to take a decision you don’t want to take. Not everything is promised. For some reason, I was hesitant when I had to make a choice between two options because I just knew that whatever I choose there was going to be a bad outcome eventually. And I think it’s because I know how common these stories actually occur.
The third game was called Skills Practice: A Home Visit, and was about playing the role of a nurse doing a social check on someone’s mental health. I really liked this game because it’s different from the others. The game was based on taking decisions after watching videos of the nurse (yourself) engaging with the patient. It really made me feel more interested and sympathetic towards my patient. I had to to be very careful when choosing what would best suit my patient’s mood. Also it me realize something I never thought about. Reassuring someone could be barrier of communication when dealing with a very stressed client, and that’s because they don’t like people feeling sympathetic over them.
The forth game Depression Quest is about putting yourself in the shoes of someone who is very depressed and making decisions on their behalf that might make them more or less depressed. And they didn’t lie, the game was very depressing. I tried to make decisions that would best suit what was best for my character. But there always seemed to be another barrier. Its just barrier after barrier constantly. It’s like you can’t make the right decision. I only experience a small part of their daily life, but I can’t imagine how they would live with depression all the time. It’s exhausting. This game was probably the most time consuming and annoying game of them all. I would suggest that they keep it short and straight to the point, and have less words to read because it started to get boring towards the end and actually made me choose whatever option just to get the game over with.
The fifth game was a game on responsible partying. This game puts you in the atmosphere of a party and make you choose between the good and the bad decisions. It was interactive and had clear instructions, and frankly it was relatable. Personally, I had the same issue of turning down drinks from people when I used to go to parties because I don’t drink. It related to me in some way, and was close to my struggle of declining offers nicely. the game was also informative as it included videos of scientific facts about the topic. So I was basically learning while having fun. It was a win win situation. I would suggest however that they include visual characters and not leave the whole game to imagination. The player would engage more while playing.
The sixth and final game called Sleep-Deprived Mom Game was something completely new to me. It gave me insights on what it’s like being a mom. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies with our kids. Weirdly enough, it gave me that sense of preparation for when I eventually want to become a mom. Also, I am now sure that after playing this game, I’m likely to lose sleep either way. i would suggest adding a little audio of the conversation between parent and child, just to get an idea of the tone they both speak in.
These games only showed me only a glimpse of what these people experience almost every day. But I can’t imagine how they would function in the life they have. It’s exhausting. And so, after playing these digital narratives games, I realized something very important: wanting something for yourself is a luxury you cannot afford sometimes. In order to survive, you need to satisfy your surrounding’s basic needs first before satisfying your own.