Inner Vision, a flixel visual novel, from debuting developer Sunil Rao, tackles one of the most important subjects, and one of the most difficult to do justice: suicide. Based on the author's own experiences with depression, Inner Vision presents you with three individuals contemplating killing themselves, and asks you to talk with them. It's a game that's not at all subtle about its message, but it's one many deserve to hear: "You are not alone."Read More
Occasionally I get text like this.
Being depressed is a serious situation, but I'm not sure the solution is to summon Cthulhu...
I don't know where to begin.
Very few games are able to captivate me on such a level as this, perhaps it's because the creator used the dark, but all too real theme of suicide. I'm sure everyone will have varying outcomes and mixed emotions once it's all said and done, but I can't help in feeling like there are lots of emotions to be reflected upon here.
I felt (upon completion) the game provoked some tough questions, like: "What type of person are you? How do you view your world and fellow man? How much compassion do you have and are you willing to give it to someone you don't even know?" It's as if Inner Visions was an underlining personality test on some level.
We need to have more thoughtful art games like this, where it provokes our introspective side to ask questions about ourselves, immersing us in real life conflicts of the human soul.
Big things really do come in small packages. Inner Vision has a beautiful song accompaniment to the very important moral, "Sometimes we can save a life, just by listening."
While it's awesome of you to take time and consideration to make a walkthrough, I feel that it may actually subtract from the message that creator was trying to convey. I feel the need to lobby against the idea of having a walkthrough, not to cause argument, but just because this is a situation where you might not always have the answer, which may in turn cause internal thought provoking reflection.
But that's just me.
No conflict intended.
As someone who has depression, I realise what the designer was doing with Yama.
Yama is depression. He's the embodiment of it. He's the one telling you you're always going to fail, that you're worthless, that you can't do it.
The characters themselves didn't speak to me that much, because I can't relate to the problems they have. But Yama, Yama I know. I know him all too well.
Unfortunately the game could have done a much a better job conveying the subject matter. I have dealt with depression and suicide, and know the true meaning of darkness. Even though I related to some of the characters' problems, I can't relate to their treatment. Every person could be saved with a few simple words. But it's not that easy in the real world. And not everyone can be saved. The game gives an incredibly high chance of saving everyone. One redeeming value were the trigger phrases that could lead to failure. That was the most believable part of the experience. It's much easier to fall deeper into darkness than it is to get out.
I'm inclined to agree with Omega ('s second comment). This is certainly a very engaging game, and I have to admire that; but I find it hard to believe it's a realistic representation of depression. Not that I have any familiarity with depression, but I'm pretty socially inept -- the biggest suspension of disbelief was that anything I said to the characters could be right.
Probably the biggest clue this isn't meant to be a "realistic representation of depression" would be the fact it's a three choice dialogue game, never mind the pixel art and the talking, smoking skeletal jerk who magically puts you into a suicide hotline position.
Which is not to say that realism doesn't play a role -- talk to depressed people and you may very well hear any number of the things the three characters said. And, of course, the "right answers" here won't necessarily be the right answers for everyone in these positions with these feelings. While it's difficult to say precisely what the maker's intentions were or what the point of this game was, I think it's safe to say that "this game is exactly like suicide prevention in real life" is not it.
My best guess it's just to make you think about what you would say, if you were in that position. Maybe it's to think about how many of the responses we reach for when people want to kill themselves are actually platitudes precisely like the choices available. Maybe it's to demonstrate how difficult it can be to know what to say even when we probably all know some basic, generic options, like "please don't, I/your family/people would be really upset" and "don't give up."
But (assuming you played it out well enough, I guess, I don't know what happens if you make them feel worse) each character says something similar at the end: they're glad they got to talk to someone. They're glad someone listened. Too often, that's all you can offer someone who feels like this. And sometimes that's enough.
There was a game that reminded me of this that I played back in 2006 or 2007, that I've been trying to remember the name of for a few months. I think it might have been from Jayisgames even. It was some sort of interactive fiction browser-based game that puts the player into a whole bunch of different situations, giving you dialogue choices just like Inner Vision. In one you're a lawyer that tries to defend an old lady, but I remember if you ask her the wrong question she'll give an answer about insurance or something that destroys your case. In another one you play a cop who tries to stop a terrorist from blowing up a building or something, and in another you try to stop someone from jumping off a building. It was kind of like this, but I remember it being FAR more difficult, with lots of lateral thinking required IIRC, as many of the answers ended up being non-intuitive. Does anyone remember the game I'm talking about? I still can't remember it's name.
Are you thinking of the Zap Dramatics: Ambition series?
The good thing about Zap Dramatics: Ambition was the setup for the characters and how it unfolded, with a little mystery to the situation of the characters. I think Inner Vision would have been better as a text adventure, with just a bit more character detail. A cool idea would have been to relate it to a suicide hotline, not entirely though, but more of a concept of communicating with the characters.
this game felt... i dunno, invalidating and reductive, too shallow for the subject matter. I think it's mostly because in the end this game is not about the persons talking, but about the player's character, and that's hardly a representation of depression at all because it is /always/ about the people trying to 'fix' those of us with depression instead of the actual people with depression.
it just bothered me that every character was saying 'i'm depressed and these are my obvious tangible reasons!' because while that does happen a lot of depression is just hugely inexplicable and debilitating and just /isn't about/ having a boyfriend or a job or whatever.
i guess i'm sort of iffy about this because it's supposed to be from an author who used their own experience but it... doesn't really come across and it's just yet another thing using depressed people for feel-good inspiration porn
Thanks so much for posting this! As someone who's struggled with depression, I have to say that I've had to deal with some of the exact same questions as the ones posed in the game. It's nice to play a game that shows you that you are not broken or the only one going through anything of this sort.
Kind of ironic how a game about talking to people who are contemplating suicide can make my day so much better. Wow, that looks really bad now I've actually typed it out...
No simulation ever does complete justice to its subject, however uncomplicated the subject might be. Depression and suicide are among the most complicated subjects imaginable. This was an ambitious project, and I'd say it succeeds well enough to compare it to the proverbial Little League team that makes it to the World Series: who cares if they don't actually win?
For myself, I found it very satisfying, and more than a little therapeutic. I'd like to give everyone I know one chance to play this game. How well they did would very strongly influence how much of myself I'd be willing to trust them with.
The case of Oscar struck a nerve. You totally can get counseling without insurance or an income. Here is an article with advice on finding services.
I reserve my opinion, because I want to reach out to the creator of this game: Please correct this. There are many things that hold people back from seeking help--one big one is a feeling of shame about mental illness, which this game by its very existence works to combat, and that's laudable. But another is a glut of misinformation about counseling, especially the myth that it's always expensive and simply unavailable to people without a stable income. You can fight this, too, by not perpetuating it in this game.
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A quick guide to non-failure.
First agree to help(option A)
The remainder will be formatted as Question#. Answer Option(s)
1. A or B
2. A or B
3. B or C
4. A, B, or C
1. A or C
2. A or B
4. A or C
Posted by: Omega | February 25, 2013 8:04 PM