Watch: The problem with video game asylums

Low Batteries episode five.

When it comes to the depiction of mental health institutions and psychiatric wards, video games don't really have the greatest track record. All too frequently, games fail to make the distinction between modern psychiatric units and the cruel, misguided asylums of old. Worse, they frequently make the patients themselves into cartoonish, horrific antagonists.

Town of Light is the latest in a long line of games to be set in a mental health institution - in this case, the very real and very much abandoned Ospedale Psichiatrico di Volterra in Tuscane, Italy.

While it reviewed well and certainly tries hard to avoid lazy horror tropes such as jump scares, I'm personally convinced it makes a hash of the sensitive depiction for which it aims.

I've articulated my thoughts on Town of Light - and the depiction of asylums in general - in the episode of Low Batteries below. Let me know what you think in the comments below, especially if you can think of any positive depictions of mental health institutions I might have missed.

If you think you or someone you know may be suffering, please don't carry on in silence.

In the UK:

You can call the Rethink advice and information service on 0300 5000 927 (10am-1pm).

Also the Depression Alliance, a charity, has a network of self-help groups.

Samaritans offers a 24-hour confidential helpline: 116 123

In Australia:

You can contact the BeyondBlue support service in 1300 22 4636

In the US:

You can call the Crisis Call Center on 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day.

If you're more comfortable talking via text than on the phone, 7cupsoftea.com offers an anonymous chat service.

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Johnny Chiodini

Johnny Chiodini

Head of Video, Dicebreaker

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