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Games that do mental health right

Warning: this video contains spoilers for Life is Strange episode 2 and Borderlands 2.

Hellblade, Ninja Theory’s next game, is apparently an exploration of mental health, but it’s far from the first. Johnny looks at some of the games that explore mental health issues such as depression and trauma.

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  1. I love how people use mental health as a euphemism for mental illness.

  2. First game appears…
    OK, bye

  3. A game that really hit the nail on the head for me is Yume Nikki, although you can interpret it in any way you want

  4. Great video and thank you for helping stop the societal problem of tabooing mental health problems. I have had depression and anxiety problems for years and I’m still having trouble with life. I want to live! I am tired of sleeping away my life and not eating for days at a time. Anyways, I appreciate your video and I wish that I had a good friend like you.

  5. a pooping unicorn.. I think I have been healed from laughing so hard, best medicine ever. Why it's a miracle. lol

  6. Although anxiety and depression are bad, Everyone has anxiety and everyone gets depressed at times. I have paranoid schizophrenia and would like a video of games that portray severe mental illness

  7. I know it wasn’t out when this video was made, but Celeste handled panic attacks really well

  8. Why is there footage of Hellblade: Senua's sacrifice in the intro but no blurb on it later on? It deserves it, and there is a video by by Leonardo di Sidci on Physchosis and Video Games that does it this justice. Amazing game, and one of my personal faves to date.

  9. The first time I really experienced a game that resonated with me about my own depression and sense of the world was when I played "The Cat Lady." The soulful, longing, poetic spirit of the protagonist really touched me- and the fact that she had lived through the life and knew that things were already the way they were going to be- she was too old for something new. In each chapter she would have to face a new evil, manipulative person- and often a person she thought she could trust, one who gained her confidence and she had to deal with the death that person brought on her and piece together her own realizations with her continual rebirth- and The Queen of Maggots who gave her her abilities and set her on the path as some kind of vigilante was Depression itself

  10. The best game showing immersive and entertaining mental health issues are the Joker scenes in Batman Arkham Knight 😀 oh wait…. that Unicorn is not only pooping weapons it is also vomiting rainbows with weapons in it? Lovely! I guess that game – what is it some Borderlands 2 DLC? – offers other sick jokes and quality entertainment too.

    Hah I always love it when people living in hell and getting trapped in endless debts and poverty, getting loved ones lost or PTSD or horrible deceases or whatnot just get diagnosed with "mental issues and insanity" and "it`s not the horrible unbearable living and working poor and mobbing conditions and poverty and sicknesses and whatnot, NOOO, IT`S ALL IN THEIR BRAINS these psychos just need to THINK the right way – and take these 20 drugs and pills every day from now on against their pure mental problems and mental issues…"
    Way better would be solving life`s problems and becoming happy by fullfilling dreams and desires and changing living conditions, instead of passively staying in hellish conditions, living in unbearable old and dirty houses, getting mobbed and hated every day (but never change the job or keep clinging on stupid false friends) and always keep telling oneself "well, that`s life, and life is shit, there is nothing one can do or change about that – let`s take some drugs and pills because it`s all in the brain and a matter of right thinking…."
    If I would be a therapist; I would ask "What`s your biggest problem and what can we do about it to change it to a better?" and not "Look you must know that your brain is very sick and just works and thinks in a wrong way, here are five different drugs to help you, see you next week."

  11. Hmm, I didn't know that easter egg from Life is Strange, I wonder if there's others that stands out. 😕

    After Before the Storm, Chloe's character is kind of… more depressing. 🙁

  12. You forgot night in the woods you buthole

  13. Silent hill represent very well many mental problems

  14. Celeste is a new great representation

  15. Are we sure the Fluoxetine was Chloe’s? David and Joyce also went through traumatic experiences and likely have depression.

  16. silent hill 2 is like one of the best representation of depression i've ever seen, not just on videogame but in any medium

  17. Cry of fear shows depression and anxiety so well.

  18. This video helped me earn my masters in English literature (I was comparing Child of Light to Journey as narrative-driven games). I just realized I never got the chance until now to express how important that is to me. I made sure to properly cite this video in my major research project!

    I'm also appreciative of you exploring the topic of mental health in games.

    Thank you for this piece.

  19. Wow, as an American I feel deep envy at your healthcare.
    Cognitive therapy is 150$ an hour here. It's 160$ to visit the general practitioner. Once. Every bottle of medicine costs from $40-100 to over a thousand, if the doc puts you on some fancy new thing.
    Considering most people make about $2500 a month if they're lucky…yeah you're pretty damn lucky to live where you do.

  20. another great video guys-i couldnt play episode 2 of life is strange-kates suicide attempt was too triggering for me but man the game was good

  21. I remember when I was really depressed and played Depression Quest. That game really wrecked me, but in the end helped me understand myself better.

    Excellent video.

  22. My favorite game is Alice: Madness Returns. But I have seen powerful games like; The Beginners Guide, The Static Speaks My Name, Fran Bow, Neverending Nightmares, That Dragon Cancer, Anxiety Attacks, One Chance, Presentable Liberty. I watch those types of games because I find them fascinating! Yes they have the creepy and gore that I love but it's the journey you take. What that person went through, how their mind works, what their body goes through, I find fascinating! What makes a person do what they do? That's why I love reading about serial killers. I'm fascinated with how their mind works.

  23. Oh come on, I LOOOOVE Child of Light, but that doesn't make sense at all, it seems more like a head-cannon than anything…Pffft.

  24. I absolutely love this series you guys have conjured up. I myself suffer from extreme depression and anxiety. Recently, I have taken the plunge into seeing a therapist after many years of telling myself I am fine. She suggested that I create videos like this since I had used this youtube project (Truth and requiem) as a way to battle my illnesses.  However, I did not realize that I was just using it as a distraction. So in the long run, I am officially going to merge my mental health issues with my passion of gaming. Depression quest is truly heart felt, I can completely relate to just about everything in that text based game. I would love to see move videos of this kind of stuff as This is the kind of thing that I plan on doing. <3

  25. You know, That's reminding me I asked for help, for a treatment from my dad 2 years ago, and he didn't took me seriously, and now I'm sitting at home, can't work, taking pills, and can't do nothing but cry and sleep, and be on my computer, and the thing is..I DID asked for help…I did. no one's care

  26. Love this! Mental illness is something that should be talked about more, and I love how these games normalize it.
    Something else I'd love to see…a game centered on someone with a chronic illness. (Which often goes hand-in-hand with depression.) I have a chronic illness, and one of my favorite metaphors is the "spoon metaphor", which you should definitely google. Something like that could totally be worked into a game. I think it would be interesting to have a game where the choices you make affect what you can or can't do in the future. Running out of "spoons", or energy as you make choices. And then figuring out how to work around those consequences. I think it could be really enlightening, as well as challenging and entertaining in the right hands.

  27. Thank you for this. Very useful.

  28. "depression quest" are you fucking kidding me

  29. So this is where Johnny went to. Nice to see you're doing well mate, I was pretty sad when you left Gamespot and thought you had fallen off the videogame world entirely. As per usual, excellent stuff here. Will be catching more from you and this channel in the future.

  30. What is the game shown at the beginning? at 0.11?

  31. The Cat Lady is so relevant to the topic of this video I'm really surprised it wasn't mentioned.

  32. Good video, well done for being so honest at the outset.

  33. I have been here since 15,000 and this is probably one of my favourite videos I don't know why but it struck me

  34. Really good piece by Johnny…very introspective…thanks for sharing and adding a personal touch to the video, I'm sure alot of people will relate.

  35. Some great points in this video, and I hadn't heard that interpretation of Child of Light yet (but then I haven't beaten the game). Some other great examples are Neverending Nightmares which is inspired by the developer's experiences of obsessive compulsive disorder and Silent Hill 2 which addresses guilt, trauma and sexual disorders. Silent Hill 4 could also technically count since you are entering the mind of a killer with psychotic delusions. Certain characters' backstories in I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream also deal with trauma (including sexual assault) and narcissism in very thoughtful ways.

  36. I think you're looking a little too deep into Child of Light's themes. I personally like to believe what happened in the game happened, mostly because throughout the game you find evidence that other people had been to the land you're fighting for. While I suppose these would be stories made up by the girl, I prefer to think the place she visits are real. Guess it comes down to how the player interprets the story, and by the sounds of it you got a completely different impression to the one I got.

  37. I've been very recently diagnosed with general anxiety and depression, like in the past couple of weeks, and I've been struggling to come to terms with it all. It makes a lot of sense however based on how I've acted in the past few years. I'm definitely going to give all of these games a go as if it helps me to move through my issues and understand them better then it's definitely worthwhile taking a look. Thank you for this video Johnny

  38. Final Fantasy 7 is a good example too. That game might be too old to make it on a list like this though.

  39. In Star Ocean if you have zero MP you die (acts pretty much as second HP bar) but the same rules apply to bosses as well. Really helps against killing tanky bosses.

    Don't know if this is relevant to doing mental health right though lol

  40. It'd be nice if you put an annotation about the Life is Strange spoilers or even just moved the spoiler warning up one line – I didn't see it until it was too late cause you had to click read more to see it (my own fault, I know – it'd be nice to help stop others succumbing to the same fate though!)

  41. No yandere simulator? I've heard actually unstable girls giving positive feedback to how it portrays sanity.

  42. Eurogamer is doing some genuinely excellent stuff the moment, keep it up 🙂

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