Mental Health in Video Games

As I discussed in my piece on mental health in popular culture, mental illness is more often than not presented in films, books and games as something to be feared. Characters like the Joker, Hannibal Lecter, Vaas and others all embody the “mentally insane” crutch that writers use to explain a character’s motivations. Rather than create an actual backstory that explains a character’s motivations writers just make the character “mentally insane” and think that’s enough to justify their actions. The association of mental illness with violent behaviour is a falsehood that video games have perpetuated for decades. There are countless games that rely on fear of the mentally ill to motivate players to hide from, beat up and even murder said mentally ill characters. There are some games however that do work to combat the gross misunderstanding of mental illness by the general public. Let’s take a closer look at some games that handled mental illness poorly as well as the games that handled it well. Continue reading →