Thursday, 8 January 2015

Autumn: Simulating PTSD

I am reluctant to refer to Autumn as a "game" (although the developers use that term themselves); rather it is an attempt to metaphorically simulate the experience of PTSD following sexual assault. The result is as haunting as it is unsettling.



Given the number of rape threats thrown around in gaming forums recently, Autumn is a sobering and necessary intervention that takes sexual assault seriously, focuses on aftermath rather than the attack itself, and seeks to foster empathy: the essential facets that are missing from or are negated by the idle rape threats and jokes that are too often proliferated on social media.

This is a story about the struggles and conflicts with fear; the guilt and the shame; but also about perseverance and healing. Autumn is about the aftermath of an attack and sexual assault.
Autumn has been designed to take people through the looking glass, using Oculus Rift to step into someone else’s reality. We ask of our players to experience something terrible, but also to be part of the healing process and empathize with the vulnerability of a rape survivor.
We believe that an interactive experience, where you literally walk in someone else’s shoes, is the best medium to explain what words alone cannot. We also believe that games can be about meaningful and important topics, capable of exploring uncomfortable and thought provoking subjects, just like film, literature and other media are capable of doing too
Tusmørke is a two people team, a designer and a developer. We have created Autumn because we believe that an interactive experience, where you literally walk in someone else’s shoes, is the best medium to explain what words alone cannot. We have created a game that asks of players to experience something very difficult, to have some distressful emotions first-hand. It is very challenging to try to project your own personality into the personality of another in order to understand that person better and relate to their emotions, and that is why we wanted to create an experience about empathy and identification, to take you on an emotional journey, and to engage with these emotions deliberately.


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