Friday, January 24th 2020

Ninja Theory Announces "Project: MARA" - Exploring Mental Terror and Ilnesses in Videogame Form

That headline may come as both a surprise and a non-surprise, thus allowing for an exploration of quantum physics. Ninja Theory has already addressed dementia and mental illness to great success in their highly acclaimed Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (grab it on Steam's Lunar New Year Sale if you haven't yet and are into cinematic storytelling with third-person action included).

Project: MARA is scarce on details right now, apart from teaser trailers which you can find after the break. According to Ninja Theory, the objective is to explore new storytelling mechanics in a highly experimental title. Based on research in the psychology and psychiatric fields, alongside first-hand accounts of people with mental illnesses, the experience aims to explore the ailments of the mind in a grounded way. I for one am eagerly awaiting such a release.

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18 Comments on Ninja Theory Announces "Project: MARA" - Exploring Mental Terror and Ilnesses in Videogame Form

#1
kapone32
On a serious note I do believe that Gaming can stave off these forms of Mental Illness. To me with the sheer mass and variety of Games on the market today there is a game for everyone. It is my opinion that the brain should be kept active as much as possible (unless you are sleeping).
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#2
trparky
kapone32
It is my opinion that the brain should be kept active as much as possible (unless you are sleeping).
That's one of the things that many people believe will help stave off old age mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. It comes down to keeping your mind active, always building new synapse connections, etc.

My grandmother who died a few months ago (RIP) had dementia and towards the end, she didn't even know who the hell I was. I wouldn't wish that damn disease on anyone. All she would do after my grandfather died almost fifteen years ago was sit in front of the TV watching cooking shows. You know how people called the TV the "idiot box" years ago? Well yeah, watching mindless TV shows where you don't actually think while watching the show will (in my opinion) melt your brain away.
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#3
kapone32
trparky
That's one of the things that many people believe will help stave off old age mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. It comes down to keeping your mind active, always building new synapse connections, etc.

My grandmother who died a few months ago (RIP) had dementia and towards the end, she didn't even know who the hell I was. I wouldn't wish that damn disease on anyone. All she would do after my grandfather died almost fifteen years ago was sit in front of the TV watching cooking shows. You know how people called the TV the "idiot box" years ago? Well yeah, watching mindless TV shows where you don't actually think while watching the show will (in my opinion) melt your brain away.
My mother went through the exact same thing. It is even more powerful now in the way we socialize as families. There was a time when the Grandparents were tasked with babysitting and the active mind of grandkids would keep their brains healthy. Unfortunately today more people are apt to put their parents in a home and send their child to daycare. There was an experiment done a few years ago when Nintendo released their interactive system and they took it to a senior home. All of the people who participated reacted positively (I think they did bowling and tennis) and they even saw some people smile for the first time since coming to to the home. I have a VR headset at home and when I put the headset on my Dad's head I had him sit through Titans of Space (I think it is the "game" that gives you a tour of the solar system) and he was like a little kid who tasted candy for the first time.
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#4
Cheeseball
Not a Potato
trparky
That's one of the things that many people believe will help stave off old age mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. It comes down to keeping your mind active, always building new synapse connections, etc.

My grandmother who died a few months ago (RIP) had dementia and towards the end, she didn't even know who the hell I was. I wouldn't wish that damn disease on anyone. All she would do after my grandfather died almost fifteen years ago was sit in front of the TV watching cooking shows. You know how people called the TV the "idiot box" years ago? Well yeah, watching mindless TV shows where you don't actually think while watching the show will (in my opinion) melt your brain away.
Condolences to your family about your grandma dude.

[Digital] gaming is a great hobby to relieve stress and keep your mind active. Just don't take it too seriously that it becomes a chore.
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#5
kapone32
Cheeseball
Condolences to your family about your grandma dude.

[Digital] gaming is a great hobby to relieve stress and keep your mind active. Just don't take it too seriously that it becomes a chore.
Gaming is not a chore unless you like to play super hard games like Dark Souls or other games that make you start back at the beginning of the stage when you die :)
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#6
Cheeseball
Not a Potato
kapone32
Gaming is not a chore unless you like to play super hard games like Dark Souls or other games that make you start back at the beginning of the stage when you die :)
Oh yeah for sure. What I mean is if you just play for the sake of playing instead of enjoying the experience.
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#7
kapone32
Cheeseball
Oh yeah for sure. What I mean is if you just play for the sake of playing instead of enjoying the experience.
Exactly :)
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#8
wiyosaya
Maybe this is off-topic, but the Netflix series Mindhunter does some of this kind of exploration, IMO.

trparky
That's one of the things that many people believe will help stave off old age mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. It comes down to keeping your mind active, always building new synapse connections, etc.

My grandmother who died a few months ago (RIP) had dementia and towards the end, she didn't even know who the hell I was. I wouldn't wish that damn disease on anyone. All she would do after my grandfather died almost fifteen years ago was sit in front of the TV watching cooking shows. You know how people called the TV the "idiot box" years ago? Well yeah, watching mindless TV shows where you don't actually think while watching the show will (in my opinion) melt your brain away.
My sympathies to you. My mother had it, too. Before she passed, there were days when she was perfectly lucid and others that were far from good.

The January 2020 issue of Scientific American has a great article, IMO, on the subject that is directed towards cognitively challenging exercise as a good way of forming new connections, etc. Things like hiking and agility training come to mind for me. However, they specifically state that going to a gym is not considered cognitively challenging.
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#9
neatfeatguy
kapone32
On a serious note I do believe that Gaming can stave off these forms of Mental Illness. To me with the sheer mass and variety of Games on the market today there is a game for everyone. It is my opinion that the brain should be kept active as much as possible (unless you are sleeping).
I don't know, you have to be careful by what you mean about keeping the brain as active as possible.....

Look at kids, teens and young adults today - can't look away from electronic devices long enough to realize they're about to walk into a pole or straight into traffic...or to keep their eyes on the road while they're driving and not at their phone.

Teenage kids walk right out into 45mph traffic after high school lets out, staring at their phones and they expect drivers to instantly stop for them. I almost hit a kid because he did that - scared the shit out of him as I hit the breaks hard. I had to yell at him out the open window, asking what his problem was and why he just walked into the road without looking for traffic while he stared as his phone. I think the kid was about to start crying - he didn't say anything back, just kind of stumbled over his own feet and went back to staring at his damn phone.

My kids, they're not allowed a ton of time on tablets/computers (daughter is 11, son is 7 - they don't have phones, but school is kind enough to provide iPads that they constantly use), but I suppose they use them enough (and coupled with the constant iPad use from school) that they're constantly looking for some input to do with their hands and eyes and mind that they can't fucking sit still for just a a couple of minutes as you try to talk to them. Always fidgeting, moving, eyes drifting off at anything else that might stimulate their need for constant input/stimulation/instant gratification instead of paying attention and being an active part of the conversation going on right in front of them.
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#10
Vya Domus
trparky
That's one of the things that many people believe will help stave off old age mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. It comes down to keeping your mind active, always building new synapse connections, etc.
Sadly it appears to be mostly a genetically related disease. Both my grandparents had dementia and Alzheimer's, not looking forward to being old.
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#11
trparky
Vya Domus
Both my grandparents had dementia and Alzheimer's, not looking forward to being old.
Neither do I. Right now I'm as sharp as a tack, my memory is damn good. To think that one day I'll be reduced to a drooling person sitting like a bump on a log scares the shit out of me.
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#12
64K
I think the positives of gaming far outweigh the negatives. There are potential stumbling stones for some though. Being prone to negativity can lead to becoming overly cynical of games in general and becoming somewhat bitter. Being prone to OCD can cause stress in the way games are played and turn them into more of a chore than entertainment. And for people that can't distinguish very well between reality and the fantasy world of gaming then they are prone to acting out violently anyway but then Media and Activists Groups and some Politicians blame it on the violence in video games.
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#13
Vya Domus
trparky
To think that one day I'll be reduced to a drooling person sitting like a bump on a log scares the shit out of me.
That doesn't really scare me, I'd be very strange fore everyone that's around me though.
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#14
kapone32
neatfeatguy
I don't know, you have to be careful by what you mean about keeping the brain as active as possible.....

Look at kids, teens and young adults today - can't look away from electronic devices long enough to realize they're about to walk into a pole or straight into traffic...or to keep their eyes on the road while they're driving and not at their phone.

Teenage kids walk right out into 45mph traffic after high school lets out, staring at their phones and they expect drivers to instantly stop for them. I almost hit a kid because he did that - scared the shit out of him as I hit the breaks hard. I had to yell at him out the open window, asking what his problem was and why he just walked into the road without looking for traffic while he stared as his phone. I think the kid was about to start crying - he didn't say anything back, just kind of stumbled over his own feet and went back to staring at his damn phone.

My kids, they're not allowed a ton of time on tablets/computers (daughter is 11, son is 7 - they don't have phones, but school is kind enough to provide iPads that they constantly use), but I suppose they use them enough (and coupled with the constant iPad use from school) that they're constantly looking for some input to do with their hands and eyes and mind that they can't fucking sit still for just a a couple of minutes as you try to talk to them. Always fidgeting, moving, eyes drifting off at anything else that might stimulate their need for constant input/stimulation/instant gratification instead of paying attention and being an active part of the conversation going on right in front of them.
I was talking about Gaming. To me social media unabetted (like what you are describing) is the exact opposite of what I am talking about. Neither was I talking about kids. Social Media is the culprit for the mindless zombies that are traversing the streets nowadays (not just teens). I even see drivers doing the same thing. I agree with you on the totally on the kid front. The colours are too bright and the Games designed for people who were kids in the 80s are being consumed by too many 10 year olds. That is why I spend as much time as i can outside with my daughter and try to do as many physically interactive activities like pillow fights and hide and seek.
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#15
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
kapone32
On a serious note I do believe that Gaming can stave off these forms of Mental Illness. To me with the sheer mass and variety of Games on the market today there is a game for everyone. It is my opinion that the brain should be kept active as much as possible (unless you are sleeping).
Depends on the game. Also, you really have to define what you mean by "mental illness", because they come in gazillions shapes and forms and are highly individual. This applies to the game too; exactly what is it about?
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#17
kapone32
Frick
Depends on the game. Also, you really have to define what you mean by "mental illness", because they come in gazillions shapes and forms and are highly individual. This applies to the game too; exactly what is it about?
When I talk about mental illness I am talking about alzheimer's and dementia in seniors (In my opinion) caused by a lack of brain activity and interaction with others. When it comes to games, I am talking everything from match 3 games like Tetris, Action RPGs like Torchlight, Arcade style racers like Grid and VR journeys like Titans of Space or adventure games like Sherlock Holmes the Devils Daughter. I could throw in some Total War too (Just because) :). So games that are either cerebral or free spirited without uber quasi realistic gun violence.
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#18
robot zombie
kapone32
I was talking about Gaming. To me social media unabetted (like what you are describing) is the exact opposite of what I am talking about. Neither was I talking about kids. Social Media is the culprit for the mindless zombies that are traversing the streets nowadays (not just teens). I even see drivers doing the same thing. I agree with you on the totally on the kid front. The colours are too bright and the Games designed for people who were kids in the 80s are being consumed by too many 10 year olds. That is why I spend as much time as i can outside with my daughter and try to do as many physically interactive activities like pillow fights and hide and seek.
I can see it, no doubt there are some pretty serious mental health risks to social media. People still balk at it, but I think you kind of can't deny that it can be harmful.

But it feels cheap to blame that behavior entirely on the vice. To me, it speaks more of a lack of accountability, which is the larger problem imo and ime. Nihilistic values and decadent behavior are the rage. Consume everything you can, pursue whatever you want with zero rationale required, worry about nobody else, hurt nobody else. Unfortunately often this leads to self-neglect, which ends up harming everyone else on the whole. To me this social media overuse is an extension of that attitude. I'm not against that whole free-spirited attitude - I'm totally down for some decadent nihilism, but it used to be that meant you had to develop a strong sense of choices and consequences, you have to make it all real for yourself. Now, it's like kids do what they want and they just don't care. And then they wonder why they're depressed and everything seems meaningless. Might have something to do with how they care for themselves and spend their time, but I think I'm going way beyond the seam, now.

Of course, for a long time parents thought the whole internet thing was 'for the kids' and had no desire to engage, let alone any idea how to broach it. So now we have a couple of generations of people out in the world who have no idea what having no developed self-imposed restrictions on how they engage with it running around, really messing themselves up. We're just now starting to see how that all works on people. I like to think parents know it's wrong... but we're now dealing with the problem that we normalized something we didn't fully understand, and still don't. It's something that I think has immense power to do good and enrich, but the risks went dismissed and overlooked for too long.


A little anecdote... when I was 15, I started rolling with a rougher crowd, many of them not in high school anymore. We weren't exactly criminals (well... a few ended up being serious criminals, now with multiple felonies lol, but that's not relevant,) but also not super-responsible... often anti-responsible, in fact. My father protested this left and right. He would flip the folding chair around and lean on it, stare me down, and say things like "I'm gonna be like your shadow. This is serious." Just like in the movies... playing up the whole 'stern dad' thing. But he never outright forbade me from exercising my freedom, even if he did let me know he DID NOT approve at all and was very disappointed with how I chose to use it. One of those times when we were talking about morals, accountability, freedom, all of those wonderful things, he said something I will never forget. "Son, you know I love you very much. I wish you would listen to me because I don't see this going well for you. But you are almost a man, now. Make the wrong choices and there will be consequences. Do what you want, but I'm only going to tell you this once... if you go to jail, I will not bail you out, I will not come to your court date, and I will not visit you." And that was the end of the conversation. I sat out on the porch and smoked 3 cigarettes just trying to process how he could say that to me after all of the time we spent together and how close we were.

I never saw my choices the same again. I became a lot more mindful. That, I think, was the moment when I realized "Oh hey, if I screw up and do something dumb here, I'm going to have to handle it alone - because none of these people around me can do shit for me then. The things I do matter now." I always go back to that now. But that was always my folks. Loving and supportive all the way - my dad especially spent a lot of time with me, but I was learning to do everything for myself as soon as I had the aptitude. So I got used to thinking that I'm responsible for the outcomes of things that I do. And what I've found is that the very core of that whole way of operating requires constant mindfulness... as in, you have to pay attention to things going in and out of your head! A lot of my friends have it bad with social media, but look at me like there's no way they could be happy being me, always considering all of these little things and just always getting tied up with different interests... I guess it's too much to have to worry about how your habits trickle out. They talk about actually being deep into anything other than internet vices like "Yeah, that's super-cool, but it seems like a lot of work." To them, I just must have no chill because I don't really take a lot of time shutting my brain off. Those same people complement me for always being the 'level' and 'mellow' one. Tell me they don't know how I do it. I've tried to explain it...

I always think to myself "Happy being me? You're not even happy being YOU!" It's crazy man... it's like they don't know how to not worry about all of this crap they see on the screen. They can't be away from it, ever. The lesson I take from it is that you have to be careful of what you let that stuff do for you. All media, really. Even games. It can substitute for a lot of things in life, and that's not always a good thing. Some of the most impatient and neurotic people I know are also the most avid screen junkies. Sometimes talking to them feels like entering a separate reality.

If anything, our problems with social media and really all of this new tech are simply showing weaknesses in people that were always there, but never before seen on display in such a way. There just was never such a potent catalyst. I don't think people magically become that. You work your way up to it your whole life. And it doesn't go away just because you get off of social media. For all of the talk people put out there about mental health awareness, so many of those same people fail miserably where it counts the most. This all can teach us SO MUCH about ourselves, but a lot of people still take that for granted, even sending their kids down the same road.

One day, we will learn to better integrate these means of dealing with all of this information overload. There's just been no precedent for it. We all have to observe and adjust accordingly. I think it's actually getting better now. Ultimately, some really good things are going to come of it. But right now, it's a lot like how it probably was when humans first learned to distill alcohol. We had to, as an entity learn to drink without absolutely destroying everything we built up. We still fail hard at that sometimes, but at least there's order now. Same thing is going to have to happen with the internet.

Oh right... I'm 29. My bad. For a second I thought I was a boomer :laugh:
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