Since the creation of video games, mental health, and the reflection of in-game choices have been widely debated. Parents and teachers alike have quoted the playing of games as a source of violence and addiction. I don’t see video games that way and I grew up playing them. For me, gaming is a hobby like watching movies, playing sports, or playing instruments. Others even find solace in games and it helps with the stress of daily life. The topic of mental health is huge in today’s world. From movies like Joker to games like Moons of Madness, mental health needs to have a brighter spotlight and that’s exactly what Ninja Theory plans to do.
Critical acclaim and awards Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Ninja Theory unveiled Hellblade, a game with an emphasis on our character’s psyche. While the game was originally met with mixed criticism and reception, it has since turned into a huge game. Without spoiling too much, the story is about our main character Senua who’s trying desperately to save her dead lover, Dillion, from the goddess Hela in Helheim. If you’re familiar with Nordic mythology, you’ll know Helheim is the Nordic version of Hell. Throughout the game, you battle “the darkness”, which has followed you like a shadow all over Helheim. While scouring Helheim, Senua is constantly berated by “furies”, mythological creatures she hears in her head.
However, it’s eventually apparent that not all of the darkness and furies are what they seem. Hellblade did a great job of introducing depression, psychosis, and other mental illnesses plaguing our heroine. It even went on to win multiple awards including three The Game Awards, five BAFTAs, and a Royal College of Psychiatrists award. This game alone opened a rabbit hole of discussions among Reddit and Youtube users. Having a discussion is important, but keeping the topic active is a necessity.
The Insight Project: What we know so far
Tameem Antoniades, a co-founder and the creative director at Ninja Theory, heads the project. Paul Fletcher, a psychiatrist and Professor of Health Neuroscience at Cambridge is lending his expertise on the project. Together, they aim to deliver a mainstream solution to the Mental Health Crisis, using gaming and technology. The project aims to use gaming experiences to understand and control anxiety, fear, or other negative experiences. Although it’s a huge undertaking— with enough time—it should show promise.
Ninja Theory wants to tailer an approach that can be utilized by everyone, but flexible enough to meet individual needs. This project’s lofty goal is to inspire gamers and influencers alike to make Mental Health Treatment mainstream and create a dialogue. I for one welcome it.
High Ping Gaming wants to hear your stories about how gaming has helped improve your mental health for the better. Leave a comment below and let’s have a discussion.