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Fractured Minds, an award-winning puzzler that deals with mental illness, is out on PS4 today

Its creator discusses their own personal battles which helped shape the game, which won a BAFTA Young Game Designers award in 2017

My name is Emily Mitchell, and I’m the creator of Fractured Minds, which launches on PlayStation 4 today.

I developed mental health issues from my early teens and if you are reading this, you may have also suffered similar experiences or know someone who has or is still suffering. I don’t think the feelings ever truly go away and we all have to find ways of coping.

Fractured Minds on PS4

In my case, I turned to gaming, where there can be a real community feel and sense of togetherness. I developed a very close-knit group of friends through our love of gaming, and we continue to support each other through the trials of life.

My school years consisted of trying to deal with the extreme anxiety of attending classes, even the IT classes, but luckily, our first term was games programming and that’s where the start of my journey really began.

After working on a small game, my sister came up with the idea of entering the BAFTA Young Games Designers’ competition. At first, I thought the idea was crazy, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought how I would love to create a game that highlighted mental illness. A game where each level depicts a certain aspect of mental health that was personal to me. And that is how ‘Fractured Minds’ was born.

It took me around 9 months to make as I had to create all of the models and textures myself while I worked on it after school and in my free time. I actually submitted it into the competition about 20 minutes before the cut off time – imagine finding a bug 25 minutes before it’s due and thinking okay.. I have 5 minutes to fix this! That was definitely in the top most stressful 5 minutes of my life.

Fractured Minds on PS4Fractured Minds on PS4

On my 17th birthday I found out that I had reached the top ten in the BAFTA Awards and I had to attend an award ceremony. This was getting scary! What have I done?

Audience, cameras, filming, awards, travel to London, people, panic Aggghhhh.

On the morning of the ceremony I had a massive panic attack at the train station. Luckily my sister was there to pull me through and I eventually arrived, barely able to breathe.

Incredibly, I won, and my worst day ever turned into my best.

Amazing, and now this part of the journey was about to come to an end. But no! Incredibly, I was contacted by Wired Productions, who were working within the games industry to start a global charity designed to bring awareness of mental health issues within the gaming community. They wanted to use Fractured Minds to help launch ‘Safe in our World’, and I thought that was a brilliant idea. This has now given me the opportunity to share my experience with so many more people and I couldn’t be more excited!

Fractured Minds on PS4

At the beginning of this blog I mentioned how my gaming friends were so important to me when dealing with my anxiety and I passionately hope that this charity can encourage more empathy, understanding and support of mental health issues within the gaming community.

I hope you’ll consider playing Fractured Minds, to share in my journey. By buying the game you’ll support Safe in our World and hopefully help others know that they are not alone.

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Will definitely be picking this up. It’s great to see a special game like this, bringing attention to mental health issues in such an unique way.

Congrats on the release!

I hope you can feel some peace and assurance now, that what you’ve done will inspire many others.

Carnivius_Prime 19 November, 2019 @ 11:14
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I have mental health issues and prone to panic attacks often though didn’t really relate to the game myself but then everyone is different and my perception of my own issues is possibly very different to yours and if this is helpful to other people then great and it’s very affordable too. Your sister sounds like a good person that helps you. Wish my family were like that but instead I only get to see them maybe once a year if that. Also I’m just impressed you made a game and finished it and got it out there. I’ve been trying to make games for 20 years and still haven’t finished anything cos i keep redoing things over and over. Like wasting a whole day tweaking a few pixels in a sprite that pretty much nobody else would even give a crud abour or notice anyways. I need to be more like you. :)

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