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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

Indy's Soapbox: On Metaphors

Updated: Apr 29

I am tired of metaphors.

"Indy, what the fuck are you on about now?" I hear you cry. Sit down and I'll explain.

I am so tired of mental health only being represented in a game to illustrate struggles, and not just as a condition that effects a character but as a defining characteristic.

I recently played Sea of Solitude and it just really hit me how people like me aren't supposed to succeed at anything tangible. We may win against our inner demons, but what about other forms of success? Can we not get the girl, kick the big bad in the face and save the world? Must our stories always be a thinly veiled metaphor for the internal struggles we face? The games in which people like me feature in are never epic adventures, never legendary stories where we achieve the impossible.

I have played a lot of games that depict mentally ill characters and every time we are robbed of our victory for a message about the importance of letting go. The success I crave in my own life isn't even achievable in this other world.

It's a bleak message. Whereas I've definitely had moments in my life where all I can do is hold on and try to make it through the night, that's not all there is to me. I have a life, a personality, dreams and goals beyond just survival. I have to otherwise my life would not be worth living if my only goal was to survive. What kind of story is that, when your only goal is to survive another day, because...?

Our lives need meaning, purpose and drive too. We may be more restricted in what we can achieve for various reasons, but we still have goals and dreams. I'd love to see that represented, instead of our goal purely being survival. There is more to a mentally ill character than their illness. Stop showing us this lazy characterisation and show us a complete person. It's time for the representation to be a little more nuanced.

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