Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kickstarter - Nevermind: A Biofeedback Horror Adventure Game

My friend Arthur turned me on to this Kickstarter campaign to create a biofeedback-enhanced horror adventure game, Nevermind. It uses your stress levels to make the game harder or easier (the more you get stressed, the harder it is). This seems like an amazingly cool way to teach/learn affect regulation.

One exciting facet of Nevermind is its potential to serve as a full-fledged therapeutic tool for those who suffer from issues - mild or severe - relating to stress, anxiety, PTSD, or other similar conditions. Although informal testing results have been promising thus far, we are excited to be in discussion as we speak with researchers who are eager to explore Nevermind's potential impact via rigorous clinical trials.

As a prime example of our passion to create "games that give back", one of our long-term goals is to craft a health-centric version of Nevermind specifically targeted to help actual patients develop tools to manage and ultimately overcome their conditions.
More from Erin Reynolds, the game's creator:

Nevermind is a biofeedback-enhanced horror adventure game that takes you into the dark and twisted world within the subconscious minds of trauma victims.

As you explore surreal labyrinths and solve the puzzles of the mind, a biofeedback sensor monitors how scared or stressed you become with each passing moment. If you let your fears get the best of you, the game will become harder. If you’re able to calm yourself in the face of terror, the game will be more forgiving.

Nevermind’s goal is to create an unforgettable gameplay experience that also teaches players how to be more aware of their internal responses to stressful situations. If you can learn to control your anxiety within the disturbing realm of Nevermind, just imagine what you can do when it comes to those inevitable stressful moments in the real world . . .
Part of the reason I want to bring this to your attention is that there are only 2 weeks left to get this project funded and they are WAY short of the goal.

If you can help, please do so.

Here is more info on the game:

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Nevermind is - at its core - an adventure game (in the spirit of classic games like Myst), where you must explore strange worlds and solve puzzles to unlock the terrifying mystery that lurks within each patient’s inner psyche.

In Nevermind, you are a Neuroprober - a unique physician who, through the use of cutting-edge technology, is able to venture into the minds of psychological trauma victims for whom traditional treatment methods have proved ineffective.

As such, each “level” in Nevermind takes place within the surreal subconscious of one of these victims. Your goal is to explore the often dark and twisted world within, solving abstract puzzles as you recover fragments of memories (represented by photographs) surrounding the traumatic event.

Traumatic experiences, especially those left untreated, take their toll in countless ways, often triggering other serious problems as the victim’s subconscious desperately tries to cope. As a result, the patient’s mind doesn’t take kindly to those who attempt to peel back these layers, often prompting it to lash out in terrifying, unexpected ways.

Only the most vigilant of Neuroprobers can withstand the necessary waves of abuse to help their patient find true salvation.

Can you?

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Nevermind started as a 2012 MFA thesis project at USC’s Interactive Media Program, led by industry veteran Erin Reynolds - who returned to academia to pursue new ways to create “positive” games for traditional gaming audiences. After an academic year, Erin and the Nevermind student development team were able to create one fully-functional level - a proof of concept that demonstrated Nevermind’s unique vision and the feasibility of the core technology.

Nevermind has since been featured in numerous festivals and nominated for several awards for innovation and technical achievement, including at IndieCade, Games for Change, SIGGRAPH, Unity Unite Awards, and the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge.

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In light of Nevermind’s critical success, Erin decided to take the plunge - leaving her industry job to commit herself fully to make her dream of a full-featured, commercially viable version of Nevermind a reality. With your support, Nevermind will be the next great horror adventure game - unlike anything you've played before!


The final commercial version of Nevermind will contain at least 4 levels (more if we hit our stretch goals!), for 5+ hours of gameplay PLUS the time and resources to feature even higher quality environments to complement a broader variety of new, more terrifying themes and traumas.
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