Content warning: video includes discussion abuse and sexual assault. It also includes spoilers for several games, including Town of Light.
For the past six months, Eurogamer’s Johnny Chiodini has been looking at mental health and games for his outstanding video series, Low Batteries.
Last week, Low Batteries took on the topic of asylums in games. Prompted by the release of The Town of Light, a game we looked at a few weeks ago, the video shares both a historical context for mental health institutions and an exploration of modern depictions. Those modern depictions are rarely positive, unfortunately, or even thoughtfully handled.
Worst of all? As Chiodini points out, games often paint patients as villains. Even The Town of Light slips in its attempts to focus firmly on the institutional horror of a real hospital. The stigma surrounding mental health issues is built in part on the idea that the people dealing with them are dangerous, and could snap at any time. This video shows us how that idea has been reinforced by too many recent games.