In seiner Funktionalität auf die Lehre in gestalterischen Studiengängen zugeschnitten... Schnittstelle für die moderne Lehre
In this Elective, we were asked to design a creative communication strategy for a social Project. Based on questions asked in class, our group of 4 was mostly interested in matters related to health issues. We wanted to know “How can we make people aware of the importance of mental health?” We were especially interested in understanding the relationship between sexism in society and mental health.
Based on a mind map that we did (see below), we were able by voting, to identify the most interesting topics for us, that were related to mental health. The final choice landed on the topic of „Gaslighting“.
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which someone tries to control you by convincing you to doubt your experience of reality or even your sanity.
It is so normalized that it happens frequently between couples, in interactions with friends, in social networks, etc. If we think about it, we all probably have been victims of or performed gaslighting over someone else, even in some minor subtle ways.
We were especially interested in women's mental health, and realized that in majority of relationships, men are the ones who perform gaslighting. During further research, we quickly realised that this issue affects everyone. Anyone can be the victim or the perpetrator.
Our target group is young men between the ages of 16 and 35 who like to play video games. They often want to escape from reality or play them to switch off. However, our game is also aimed at female players. We choose a young target group to address this issue and make them aware of it, before it turns into a domestic violence issue later on.
Mental health is a big topic in social media but not so much in the video game scene.
Our main target group is potential victims of gaslightning. Our secondary audience are the predators who don't realise that they are gaslightning.
Our target was to:
In this next phase we were asking ourselves a lot of questions:
We needed to infiltrate their world somehow. We realized that the majority of men likes to play video games. So we tried to know why? What is it that makes a man so addicted to the idea of video games?
After asking a lot of men this question, their answers were the following: (Check images below)
1. To improve your skills, learn new things, and compete with others.
2. The longer you play, the better you become (addiction)
3. Competitive personality > goal being a winner (proof of being a winner)
4. At least be a winner in the game (escape of reality)
5. Speed in which you have to solve problems (problem solving, concentration, perseverance)
We then came to the conclusion that making a video game could help us make a point, without them realizing what the game is about until the end of it.
Curo (to heal) is the name of the main character and the game.
In this game, Curo wakes up in an abandoned cabin, has no memory to what has happened before. He finds himself in the company of his travel journal, which will help him find the way back home, if he discovers how to unlock its secrets.
In the first chapter, Curo finds Jesse, who turns out to be an old friend. Curo realises this through his diary full of fond memories with Jesse. Together they decide to find a way out of the cabin in the forest and get Curo's memories back.
When they come out of the cabin, they find themselves in the middle of the forest and find a lantern. Something glows in the forest, so they decide to go there. There they find glowing mushrooms that brighten up the darkness a little. So they decide to collect more mushrooms, that will help him light up his lantern.
By chance, Curo notices that his diary also lights up when it comes close to the lantern filled with mushrooms. So it comes to flashbacks about memories. He notices that there are secret messages to himself in his journal, indicating that Jesse is not always who he seems to be. It is becoming increasingly difficult to know what is true and what is a lie. So he realises that the lantern is the key, whose light is the only one that can show the missing parts of his journal. But be careful, Jesse is a hungry creature and may want to eat them sometimes.
During the adventure, the two of them are always faced with small tasks in which they have to work together. For example, they have to cross a broken bridge to get out of the forest.
By completing the tasks and finding more and more glowing mushrooms, Curo will be able to unveil the whole journal and reveal memories of a very surprising story. Even though it presents a lot of challenges, the world around him changes and the sun rises as a sign of encouragement to keep facing gaslighting.
The colour scheme should reflect the mood of the main character. It starts in the dark cabin, you feel scared, confused and depressed. A small glimmer of hope appears when Jesse appears and together they look for a way out.
From the cabin we go out into the forest, which appears mystical and dark. On the one hand, the glowing mushrooms provide light and thus brighten up the darkness; on the other hand, the toxic aspect of these mushrooms can already be seen in the glowing green.
The further the game progresses and the more memories come back, the brighter the surroundings become. From the oppressive, pinching, dark forest, to the valley, to the mountains with the colourful crystal cave. Until, in the end, Curo comes out of the cave alone and has broken away from the toxic friendship. Finally, the real shape also opens up to the player and one no longer sees only a shadow.
Finally, we see how Curo looks to the future with hope and the process of healing has begun.
After you have finished the game, an end credits appears in which Gaslightning is briefly explained and refers to our website.
The game will be released on the 4th of May 2022. We have chosen this date because on the 4th of May 1944 the film Gaslight was released, which is a very frightening example of gaslightning.
This is also the reason why all campaign items are mainly in green for the moment. To keep the tension and not to anticipate the end of the game.
We want our game to:
1. Attract players: Using platforms they use such as Twitch, Discord to promote the game and main landing page of the game + social media + flyers and posters
2. Deliver a message: Gaslighting is wrong. Throughout the game
3. Awareness: From the information on the landing page
4. Involvement: Speaking up, sharing their gaslighting stories, buying merchandise on website
5. Commitment: Downloading PDF about gaslighting to know more
6. Change behavior of gaslighters: Emotional support also available on the website
8. Invite others to play and share awareness
We want to make the game more attractive to people by drawing attention to the release with posters in the street and on the underground.
We also want to use social media like Instagram. However, Twitch is very important for us and we want to invite streamers to play the game and talk about it. That way, the theme or the secret message behind the game will become better known.
Another important aspect to draw attention to the game and thus the campaign is the so-called mouth-to-mouth propaganda. Existing communities will talk about the game through incentives such as Instagram and Twitch and thus attract new players. These already existing communities can be on Twitch, YouTube or Discord.
After people hear about the game, the goal is to first get them to our landing page and download the game. Curo is free. It is our first game and is meant to build trust. For this reason it is kept in 2D optics and does not go into open world concepts and remains a single player game.
After the first time the game has been played through, the process of awareness and the healing journey begins.
To ensure that the players understand the message correctly, there is a lot of information on the subject of Gaslighting on the landing page. Firstly, there is a manual on what it is and on the main character, Curo.
Other information includes what is behind the story, what exactly happened to him and typical phrases used by gaslighters. It should help understand the topic, arouse curiosity and create awareness.
It is supposed to protect against possible manipulation or change the player's own behavior by questioning whether they were once the predator themselves. The main goal is to be able to identify with the victim (Curo) in order to create consciousness.
Another way in which players can identify with Curo is through merchandise. On the one hand, a personal journal, like the one Curo had, for notes, which helps you in the healing process. Of course, classic things like hoodies, mugs, cushions and mouse pads are not to be missed.
A special feature are customised case stickers for the xBox or Playstation.
Another intended process is that, through these merchandise products, or by being able to identify with Curo, people invite others to play the game. Afterwards, they can share their experiences or start challenges via TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, such as redrawing the main character.
After going through these processes, a community is created and awareness is raised about this issue. The Discord platform allows the exchange of experiences and also being the first to learn about new games and possibly get an early access.
We are Health Advocates, a non-profit organization developing social projects related to mental health and gender issues. We are a small start-up which has just been founded, as there is no other organization with our goal yet.
Curo is just the beginning of a big concept to raise awareness about mental health problems and gender issues.
We want to expand and broaden our target group with a next game. Possible topics are Depression, Anxiety, …
We want to use a different way to raise awareness about these important subjects.
We are supported by health experts to design new games. These experts will also be part of our whole platform. They support the digital community.
We make sure that the well being of our community benefits from our future work.