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April 8, 2013 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Inner Vision by Sunil Rao (SLFlash) This struck me as a rather powerful analysis of suicide and why not to, even if it is a rather simplistic Flash game.

In fact, the author stated he never intended for it to become popular in any way, but wrote it as a way to deal with some issues and suicidal thoughts he had been having.
posted by Samizdata (22 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
And I have a little experience with this so maybe it struck me a little harder than some people.
posted by Samizdata at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2013


I'm surprised I won the first time through, but unlike similar games, I don't want to go back and try to lose.

Simple, but interesting.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:44 AM on April 8, 2013


Saved all three of them...and had to really consider my responses carefully. I can see how difficult it could be, because you really have to pay attention to what they are telling you in order to choose the correct response. Also interesting is how much concern I was feeling for these little cartoon characters. I suppose I could have not taken this seriously and simply chosen the obviously wrong answers so that they would go kill themselves, but I just couldn't...does that make me an old softy?
posted by Quasimike at 9:51 AM on April 8, 2013


And, on rereading, it strikes me I need to stop using the word struck so much.
posted by Samizdata at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2013


What a compelling little widget this was.

As reductive simulations go, I thought it was surprisingly apt: In talking to people who are suffering, there definitely are right answers and wrong answers - or at least answers that are righter than others.

What struck me, though, is that the game gives positive feedback where reality so often gives none: When facing a wall of sadness, there's seldom a "thanks, I feel better," and oftentimes no way of knowing if you've been helpful or not until well after the fact. Going without that certainty that you've been at all useful is the hardest part.
posted by bicyclefish at 10:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hmmm.. I'm finding my response to this very interesting.

I made it successfully through all three, the "correct" answers were, in most cases, pretty obvious to me and I was sort of compelled to try the first one and then continue through the third person. But that's probably due to a combination of my OCD "take care of" trait and WAY too many years of training in the mental health field.

Given the game developer's statement regarding his own struggles, I have some reservations about this being discussed by strangers on the internet. I hope he finds the responses he gets regarding the game (and, I guess, about himself) helpful.
posted by HuronBob at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2013


It's a good exercise in listening and empathy, even if it's a little simplistic. I like the message, at the very least.
posted by xingcat at 10:06 AM on April 8, 2013


Super simplistic, which I'm not sure really helps with the awareness. "Sweet, I can talk someone out of killing themselves with some really easily chosen answers!" Has nothing of the terror of accidentally getting something wrong or things being misread.

Also, the 'You should see a therapist" being a wrong answer, though, I find problematic. Yes, dude is broke, but there are low-cost mental health clinics.
posted by corb at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently "see a therapist" isn't always the best advice...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometimes "see a therapist" is heard as "I don't want to listen to this any more, the only way you'll find someone to care about you is to pay them."
posted by Jilder at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I wonder if it is possible to develop empathic skills through games. Have researchers attempted to create a simulator that trains people on these things?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:25 AM on April 8, 2013


Oh I can't help thinking about the meta-message about things like this - watching my own reactions, I was amused to see I had not so much reaction to getting the right answers, but I had a real emotional feeling to getting about three/four lines of "thanks for listening" responses.

Makes me wonder if that's the real point of the thing.
posted by spinn at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess that I'm the only one who found this trite and overly simplistic? Maybe having a long period of blinding depression and a suicide attempt in my past was the problem. I actually found it insulting.
posted by Splunge at 11:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm lucky not to have the experiences needed to find this insulting, but I did find it overly simplistic. Not all that powerful really.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:25 PM on April 8, 2013


These things (Alter Ego was another) just make me cringe at the thought that troubled people will play them and feel judged by their prejudices.
posted by beschizza at 4:13 PM on April 8, 2013


Also, the 'You should see a therapist" being a wrong answer, though, I find problematic. Yes, dude is broke, but there are low-cost mental health clinics.

Try over in the AskMe video game....

That aside, this may have been one of the most nerve-wracking things I have played. Yikes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Splunge: "I guess that I'm the only one who found this trite and overly simplistic? Maybe having a long period of blinding depression and a suicide attempt in my past was the problem. I actually found it insulting."

Dunno. Depression and a suicide attempt in my relatively recent past also. I didn't find it insulting at all. Rather I found it an interesting attempt to deal with an difficult topic. And, as I stated above, the author wrote it to attempt to deal with personal issues, so it's particular topicality to your life doesn't exactly apply. All I know is that some of the topics addressed rang true to me.

It's a one man unpaid flash game. My expectations are different than if it was from some giant top drawer gaming company who is trying to reach all markets.
posted by Samizdata at 6:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I got one of the answers "wrong" (still talked her out of suicide though) and had to go back and choose something else. It was frustrating not to be able to say what I wanted to say - there were times I didn't like any of the options - but the game was obviously working in that I wanted to save them and kept trying! I always find it helpful to know that others suffer too, that whatever it is that's happening to you and no matter how miserable you feel, somewhere there is someone else feeling the same way. Wakes up my compassion, both for others and for myself.

It was simple, yes, but I think the basic idea - that most people just want someone to really listen to them and try to understand where they're coming from - was really quite movingly done.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:09 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saved them all first time out...it was surprisingly emotionally involving.
posted by jaduncan at 4:53 AM on April 9, 2013


Tried to save but failed with 2 out of 3 before redo. I don't know whether this quantification of my emotional skills is a comforting explanation or just depresses me more.
posted by Authorized User at 5:48 AM on April 9, 2013


Tried to save but failed with 2 out of 3 before redo. I don't know whether this quantification of my emotional skills is a comforting explanation or just depresses me more.

Don't worry Authorized User, everyone is special in their own way. You just need to focus on what makes you feel happy and open.
posted by jaduncan at 6:28 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damnit... where did all this dust in the air come from. Must be the pollen count or something. *sniff*
posted by talitha_kumi at 6:59 AM on April 9, 2013


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