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This Video Game Will Show You What It’s Like to Suffer From Mental Illness

After her last stay in a psychiatric ward, Alana Zablocki decided to try something new.

The 28-year-old transgender, queer woman had been in and out of psychiatric wards for the last three years and she wanted to help those close to her understand what those experiences had been like.

But rather than more traditional forms of therapy and communication like painting a series of pictures or writing feelings in a journal, she chose another craft: creating a video game.

The outcome of her project is the online game, “Inpatient: A Psychiatric Story.”

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Zablocki has struggled with mental health issues since she was 15. Creating the video game was a way for Zablocki, who is a former computer programmer, to express herself.

The video game is described as an interactive novel that takes the players through a 72-hour hospital stay. You play the game as Jessica Meredith Gonzales, a 32-year-old woman who experiences a crisis after the loss of a pet.

From the start, the player begins to experience suicidal feelings and heads to the emergency room. You then play out the hospital stay, making choices that lead to different outcomes as you go.

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While the game’s characters are fictional, the events are inspired by real-life experiences, according to the game website. Zablocki said the game was hard to write as she had to continuously relive past experiences.

“Over time it got easier, I was able to write longer sessions. But I think by the end my original purpose kind of turned to a macro scale — I wanted not just people in my life to see this, but I thought it would be helpful for the public in general to have this experience too,” Zablocki told CBC.

“Inpatient: A Psychiatric Story,” which costs anywhere from $2 to $50 for those who can afford to pay (and is free to those who can’t), was inspired by another game about mental illness called Depression Quest.