The Town of Light publisher, Wired Productions has announced that they will donate a quarter of the game’s sales to a charity called Take This, Inc. Take This, Inc is a charity that supports mental health initiatives. 25% of the sales will go to the charity for purchases made between August 16th and September 6th. Which means, you need to go out and buy it. The promotion is applicable to digital sales across all platforms. In order to help with the sales, several digital retailers are currently offering a 20% discount on the game itself. While I am extremely supportive of this initiative, I wonder how popular the game will actually be?
The Town of Light focuses on the story of a 16 year old girl Renée. Renée is admitted to a mental health facility after showing symptoms of a mental health disorder. In the game, players actually step into her shoes as she explores the hospital. The intent behind the exploration is for Renée to find answers about her past. I think this game is going to be an eye opener for many, but I’m still not convinced that it will be popular. If I’m being honest, who wants to play a game about having a mental health disorder? I would like to state that I think this is extremely beneficial, but don’t people play games to escape from their reality? Or at least to some extent?
Further to that, the game is actually receiving mixed reviews about the way it depicts mental health facilities. Yes it’s shining a light on mental health, but what about the types of therapies that people have to experience when in one of these facilities? That being said, the game is based on a mental health facility in Italy that was actually closed in 1978. We know that the therapies of days gone by aren’t necessarily the most beneficial for the patients. We have come a long way since then. But, it is still showing what happened during that time.
Regardless of what you think about the game manufacturer, you can’t deny the fact that the promotion is going to benefit people with mental health. The entire promotion is to help bring awareness to the importance of mental health. There is a lot of stigma around mental health. I myself have a hard time talking about my bouts of depression even though, I know that there is nothing wrong with experiencing it. I also know many people who are affected by it. So I understand what it can do to people, families and relationships. Which is why it’s so important to be able to open up about your experiences.
To put this into perspective for you, here are some stats:
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences a mental illness in a given year. That is 43.8 million people
- Approximately 1 in 5 youth, aged 13-18 experiences a severe mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime.
- 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia
- 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or another specific phobia.
It doesn’t stop there. Mood disorders, including major depression, and bipolar disorders are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18-44. The third most common! I don’t want to overwhelm you with stats, or the importance of talking about mental health. I want you to go out and buy this game. Or donate to a charity of your choice that supports mental health. I also want you to play the game so you can experience what a mental health illness is like for someone. This might not give you the entire picture, but it will give you A picture. And I think that is really important.