DEEP GAMES: ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH INDEPENDENT VIDEOGAME DEVELOPMENT
Keywords:Independent videogames, mental health, videogame industry, network sociality, deep games
AbstractGame workers and reports on the videogame industry frequently document cases of anxiety, depression, burnout and impostor syndrome. Mental health issues are exacerbated among independent developers and freelancers. The article draws on interviews with four London-based independent videogame developers who have been producing 'deep games' about mental health. The article argues that conceiving, producing and releasing these videogames is understood by their makers as a strategy to establish new and 'deeper' relations with consumers, participants and other developers. Developers seek relations with other game workers and players through the process of making, researching, testing, and showing their videogames. Their responses draw on biographical self-reflexivity and are articulated within a network sociality that conceives the individual developer as the agent of change. The development of videogames about mental health is interpreted by the participants as facilitating exchanges of autobiographical experiences that are otherwise regulated by the norms of professional networking. At the same time, these exchanges aim at the establishment of new forms of sociality and at a fairer and more inclusive videogame industry.
How to Cite
Ruffino, P. (2021). DEEP GAMES: ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH INDEPENDENT VIDEOGAME DEVELOPMENT. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12032