How can PTSD be portrayed in games? And, should it?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Squiggers, Sep 3, 2009.

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  1. A few of the people here may remember that I'm developing a game/modification for the Crysis engine based around operations that took place in Northern Ireland during the early-mid 80's - main element being realism, and trying to get it right in regards to attitudes, gear.... You get the picture probably.

    The main premise of the game is to provoke some sort of thought from the player in regards to what happened then in Northern Ireland, and is still going on to an extent in regards to the sectarianism, along with the action our lads and lasses face. Scarily, a few europeans I've been talking to have no idea about NI, or the Falklands. Bloody frogs and blockheads. :roll:

    At any rate, the main question I really need to ask, is should PTSD be portrayed in media such as games, and if so, how can I portray it correctly, so that it causes as little offence as possible?

    Part of the reason, is that often the impact of it isn't that well explained/documented outside the military (I myself am not military), so any help would be much appreciated guys, in regards to info, and the like?


  2. H3

    H3 LE

    Has it been done before by the Big folks in the Industry ....... No , so that might just give you a hint !!!

    PTSD isn't just a Military problem ....... all walks in life can be effected !!!
  3. Perhaps more due to working out whether how much money can be earned by the Studio/Publisher, and how much the Publisher interferes in the game in question, rather not wanting to do it.

    Creating something that makes the player think, is the aim here - I'd rather not have a shite Call of Duty clone to my name, tah muchly. :roll:

    I'm also aware of that - however, the large majority of cases are based around military operations, not in civvis. Main reason why I'm asking, as its referring to someone whos British Army ending up with it - not a civvi.
  4. H3

    H3 LE

    Google it then you'll realize it's NOT mostly Military , children , nurses , vagrants , Police , Industry workers , abused children the list goes on and on ....... go onto a Forum and see what they say and I think you'll change your mind !

    If you want folk to think examine the tactics of the day ..... PTSD isn't the way ........

    Read their stories ...... how can you put that on a game ?

    Extract Below from

    What does PTSD feel like?

    Many people feel grief-stricken, depressed, anxious, guilty and angry after a traumatic experience. As well as these understandable emotional reactions, there are three main types of symptoms produced by such an experience:

    1. Flashbacks & Nightmares

    You find yourself re-living the event, again and again. This can happen both as a "flashback" in the day, and as nightmares when you are asleep. These can be so realistic that it feels as though you are living through the experience all over again. You see it in your mind, but may also feel the emotions and physical sensations of what happened - fear, sweating, smells, sounds, pain.

    Ordinary things can trigger off flashbacks. For instance, if you had a car crash in the rain, a rainy day might start a flashback.

    2. Avoidance & Numbing

    It can be just too upsetting to re-live your experience over and over again. So you distract yourself. You keep your mind busy by losing yourself in a hobby, working very hard, or spending your time absorbed in crossword or jigsaw puzzles. You avoid places and people that remind you of the trauma, and try not to talk about it.

    You may deal with the pain of your feelings by trying to feel nothing at all - by becoming emotionally numb. You communicate less with other people, who then find it hard to live or work with you.

    3. Being "On Guard"

    You find that you stay alert all the time, as if you are looking out for danger. You can't relax. This is called "hypervigilance". You feel anxious and find it hard to sleep. Other people will notice that you are jumpy and irritable.

    Other Symptoms

    Emotional reactions to stress are often accompanied by:

    muscle aches and pains
    irregular heartbeats
    feelings of panic and fear
    drinking too much alcohol
    using drugs (including painkillers).

    How would you put those on screen ?
  5. Hmm, doubt that'll change my mind. I understand that PTSD does effect others, but in the context i'm examining, its the Military operators who have ended up with it that are the key element to examine, and the reaction of those around them.

    Not entirely what i meant, think I poorly worded that. PTSD is merely part of what was being included in the production of the story - operations, backgrounds, organisations, attitudes, music - all involved entirely. PTSD was being examined as something to be used in regards to one of the main characters after seeing two close friends being killed - now, in film, books, and music that wouldn't be a problem, yet feature it in a game, its an issue for you?

    The same way that it would be featured in TV, or Movies - in a cinematic piece. Showing someones downward trend due to the condition, while slightly worrying to watch, if done correctly, can be quite thought provoking.

    I have to ask, is there a personal reason that you're so against this? As it is beginning to seem like there is to me.
  6. I'd like to add, as of yet, I'm unsure on how the scenes relating to PTSD would be set up, in regards to dialouge etc., exactly.

    I wanted to see serviceman/women's reactions to including this in the game, before i pressed ahead, and wrote it in.

    If its a resounding no, then I won't do it, as I'd rather not cause offence to anyone regarding that.
  7. H3

    H3 LE

    I can see your point more clearly regards the short story line etc but as a character in the game what would their reactions be ? .... as from my last post there are several behavioral aspects to be taken into account .

    You'll no doubt get more folk commenting when the world wakes up, as for my world ...... that's for me to think about !

  8. PTSD in a game, a very silly idea.
  9. FFS how can you simulate a situation that could induce PTSD. jesus I can,t explain it
  10. terroratthepicnic

    terroratthepicnic LE Reviewer Book Reviewer
    1. ARRSE Runners

    Having seen a couple of people with PTSD, I can't see how you could possibly recreate it in game form.

    The only way you could possible get even close to it would be by speaking to those that are or have suffered with it and speak to psychologists, who may be able to give you a small insight into it's cause. But, anything can set of PTSD, something small and insignificant to you may be a major issue to someone else. Not to mention all the different ways that it effects people.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother trying to write it into a game. But would have a write up in the game that gives facts and figures about the illness, to make people aware.
  11. Would anyone want to play a PTSD simulator, since games are meant to be fun rather then horrific??? Maybe you could contact someone who had suffered from PTSD from one of these conflicts and get them to do a voiceover about their experiences on an animated sequence to raise awareness of the problem, IF it was handled in a thoughtful and sensitive fashion and was done with the full permission and awareness of the individual in in game advert for H4H and Combat Stress might be a good move, very important that something like this would be handled respectfully...
  12. How do you explain a Bombing, the smell,of cemicals,burnt flesh, rubber, that coppery smell of blood and shit,always shit. or when you realise that the brown/red/orange stuff dripping off the ceiling was a person a few moments before the bang FFS gaming is no where like the real thing, and never will be, next thing you'll have have gamers and paint ballers claiming to have PTSD
  13. You've completely misunderstood what I've written.
  14. How have I misunderstood it?How can you simulate feelings,how can you simlate loseing it and sitting down for a good cry?, you cannot put emotion into a game
  15. Of course the problem of PTSD shouldn't be featured in the actual gameplay, that would be very disrespectful, but many games these days feature animated 'storyline' sequences, more like a film then a game, all I'm saying is that a respectfully handled, carefully vetted voiceover from someone who had experienced these problems could help raise awareness of what these guys go through, and maybe encourage people to make donations to charities that help guys suffering from PTSD. In no way could playing a computer game give you a feel for what actually being in thse situations is like, funnily enough most people do realise that playing call of Duty isn't actually like being in combat...