Author Topic: Adventure game about apophenia/schizophrenia?  (Read 744 times)


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Adventure game about apophenia/schizophrenia?
« on: 08 Feb 2019, 05:04 »
I've recently been reading some stuff on the so-called apophenia, i. e. the tendency to see patterns in unrelated data, and about people who become absorbed in it and gradually lose touch with reality. In particular, I've read "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco and "A Beautiful Mind", the 1998 biography of the schizophrenic mathematician John Nash. In the former, the protagonist gradually becomes convinced that everything around him is part of a mystical conspiracy, and the latter says that Nash had "a growing sense of revelation regarding a secret world that others around him were not privy to", found some hidden messages from aliens on the covers of magazines, and felt boredom instead of relief during his remissions.

It occurred to me that this is very similar to a lot of adventure game premises, with an everyman protagonist uncovering some sort of underworld, doing some investigations, solving puzzles, etc. (for instance, it's the case in Broken Sword, with the Templar conspiracy, and Dark Seed, where the main character finds clues telling him about a parallel dark universe) So I thought that apophenia/paranoia/schizophrenia could make a perfect plot for an "anti-adventure game", where the point is not to indulge in puzzle-solving and hidden meanings, and instead cling to "normal" life (with one ending where the character regains his sanity, and another where he starts seeing hallucinations, etc., and eventually goes completely off his rocker). In a sense, this could be similar to the 2008 game "Akrasia", which is a metaphor for drug addiction, where in order to win, you have to not collect the pills.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 09 Feb 2019, 11:26 by BunnyShoggoth »

Re: Adventure game about apophenia/schizophrenia?
« Reply #1 on: 08 Feb 2019, 17:36 »

It make me think of the japan visual novel Song of Saya (Saya no Uta), but maybe I'm off the topic.


Re: Adventure game about apophenia/schizophrenia?
« Reply #2 on: 09 Feb 2019, 10:34 »
Charles Cecil often cites Focault's Pendulum as a massive inspiration for Broken Sword. I keep meaning to give it a go.


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Re: Adventure game about apophenia/schizophrenia?
« Reply #3 on: 26 Mar 2019, 22:20 »
A number of games have a similar theme: split mental and physical world, or secluded/paranoid/psychotic protagonist.
In fact way too many indie adventure games are basically about a person who did something terrible, repressed it and has to realize the past. To a point where it becomes predictable :)

Not that i am critical of the idea itself; i use it in my own (non-game) writing more often than i should, probably... But you cannot surprise people twice with the same trick.
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Re: Adventure game about apophenia/schizophrenia?
« Reply #4 on: 26 Mar 2019, 22:35 »
I'd strongly recommend looking up a game called Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. It's not a point and click adventure game (more of a hack and slash game with some platforming and puzzles on the side), but the developers have openly stated that the entire game was developed around creating an immersive and accurate depiction of schizophrenia, using methods like having the player hear disembodied voices commenting on their actions, puzzles centered around seeing patterns in nature and even having in-game text tutorials actively lie to the player to reflect the feeling of fear and paranoia many schizophrenics feel.