Is there too much happiness in your life? Do you feel like you are missing out when you experience joy instead of ennui? Now, you can get a taste of social anxiety, with The Sad Game. Experience an endless loop of awkward conversations! Fear that no one understands you, while at the same time feeling that they know too much. Doubt yourself! Much like life, the game will come to an end, but not a happy one.
See more of my work at BenjaminAlbertRobichaudRoy.tumblr.com
I wrote this to get out all my thoughts on the creation of The Sad Game. I'm posting it here so that people who don't go to my Tumblr have an equal chance of reading it.
The initial version of The Sad Game was much simpler, requiring you to hit clearly labeled buttons to give specific emotional responses to the accusations of the other person. For it’s final state, I removed that simple 1:1 relationship from button press to reaction. There are many ways that you can respond to the statement you are confronted with in game, each one tied to some interaction the player or the avatar has with the environment of the game. None of these are spelled out, there are not instructions, although several characters do make specific references to the actions. Each action elicited a unique response from the other, based on a less-then-clear interpretation of the player’s behavior. This can easily be taken as a lack of complexity in the game, should the player only realize one workable response. But, players who discover one possibility will have a completely different experience then someone who discovers different ones. The goal was to have a unique, though related, experience every time the game is played.
The Sad Game focuses thematically on social interaction, both real and imagined. I wanted it to represent both the actual things people say to each other, and more often, what one imagines they might say. I had a serious social anxiety problem throughout grade school that lead me to distance myself from all but a few close friends. People would say nasty things, or more often pity-laden fake niceties. Worse then anything anyone could say though, is what I could imagine them saying. The Sad Game was made to embody the feeling of alienation and discomfort that comes from the inability to communicate. It’s not trying to say that everyone is worthless, or that life is devoid of meaning. It’s referencing the act of feeling like everyone is against you, even yourself.