reflections and thesis

This game is a part of my thesis project at UC Davis! Below are some excerpts from my final reflection on the (now completed!) project.

"Design is a very personal practice, one in which designers approach each project informed by their own experiences, emotions, and interests. It is also a field that affords interpretation at many levels, holding options for different meanings for many distinct individuals. All of my design work is informed and influenced at some level by my own mental illness."

"Cultural misunderstanding of mental illness has been increased by the lack of accurate and varied representations of it in media. It can be isolating to never see your experiences reflected anywhere in the media you consume. Dangerous misconceptions caused by poor media representation of mental illness increase cultural stigma against individuals living with said illnesses, creating an environment in which openly discussing your experiences and needs may result in poor treatment and discrimination. Because there is no single manifestation of any mental illness, accurate media representation must be varied, presenting a multitude of possible views of mentally ill individuals."

"Games about mental illness could present mentally ill players with a variety of representations to which they might relate. Not every representation will ring true to them, but, with enough variety, they may eventually see themselves in the media they are consuming. This could foster a culture that encourages the sharing of experiences of mental illness, an environment in which people feel safe discussing their illnesses, experiences, and needs."

"Escort Yourself Out uses the trope/genre/mechanic of the escort mission to explore the experience of navigating triggering environments. While escorting both your childhood and adult self through everyday environments populated with triggers, you must take action to care for yourself in order to successfully complete each level. Text-based introductory, intermediate, and epilogue scenes explain the context of the game, while also opening up a discussion about the process of authentically and productively representing one’s own experiences."

Thank you for reading, playing, visiting, etc! I would love to hear your thoughts on the game.

PS, I kept weekly logs throughout the development of this game on my blog, here. And this post is one I wrote early on about how my eating disorder was reacting to the task of illustrating myself.

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