Games are full of power fantasies, stories about personal glory and success in the face of every challenge. When you’re dealing with serious mental health issues, chronic illness or disabilities, those can ring hollow. When daily life feels almost insurmountable, saving the world is a pretty big ask.
Owlboy is one of the rare games that recognizes that fact.
Over at Gamechurch, M. Joshua Cauller lays out the impact of starting a game not as a would-be hero, but as a failure.
Why are you such a failure?
Owlboy asks you this question within the first ten minutes of the game—in the tutorial that you can’t fully complete.
I’ve always felt incapable and short on talent—even when I’ve come out on top, I’m always seeing where I went wrong. So this question cuts to my core. I just accept it as a reality:
I’m not good enough.
As Otus, the Owlboy, I feel comfortable in this “not good enough” role. Otus can’t do much on his own. While he has wings, he can barely fly at first. He’s mute. In danger, he’s almost defenseless…Otus can’t even pass his training. His teacher gives up on him, and leaves him alone with his feelings of disappointment.
But as Cauller goes on to explain, Owlboy’s story isn’t about powering through those challenges and becoming a flawless hero. It’s about leaning on the people around us when we need to and accepting their strength when we’re feeling weak, and about how we all have our own strengths to contribute.
Read on at Gamechurch for more.