IFComp 2015: Seeking Ataraxia

By Glass Rat Media (play here)

Google tells me that ‘ataraxia’ is a ‘lucid state of profound tranquility’. The blurb tells me this is about anxiety and overcoming it. 

You are basically an anxious PC, living with a laidback housemate; many of the situations are mundane ones, yet the way in which the author plays up commonplace things and creates disaster scenarios makes them feel (rightly? I am in no position to say) like a minefield. The pacing of the game (i.e. you can only perform a certain number of actions within a ‘day’) also emphasises that the PC has limited energy for things.

This game uses graphics and other effects rather well. While the images for each screen were just that bit too big, the PC’s intrusive thoughts, shown by pop-up windows, were well-portrayed.

Some last words about the ending, which are spoilers, so under the cut we go!

you ok with this?

really?

okay, let’s have it

I felt the ending was a letdown. It wasn’t fulfilling. I didn’t feel like I’d conquered something, or come out of a challenge having learnt something. It would have been more fulfilling if the final action taken by the PC was something which directly addressed one of the earlier anxieties or worries. Something which required the PC to test how far they were willing to trust their therapist’s advice and step out.

This is a game with a good heart, though it could have gone much further.

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