Caretaker Calamity

The Brief

The brief came from the D&AD New Blood competition. We had the opportunity to choose between three different briefs, however I chose the one from 21GRAMS that asked us to create a game concept for those with post-natal depression and create a ten slide presentation or a short video to pitch it.

The Idea

After researching post-natal depression I decided to create a game that helped implement mindfulness techniques in a non-intrusive way. In order to do this I developed a RPG narrative, which featured both parent and baby as heroes, and integrated a mood tracker into the combat system. I also proposed that it should have turn based combat so that parents could put it down without worrying about losing progress and be optimised for apps so that it could be played one handed, for during feeding or nap time.

The Process

I first started by reading papers and watching TEDtalks on PND to see what people who had suffered from it wished they could have had. I found that mindfulness techniques were both a treatment and a preventative measure against PND. Furthermore, I thought that the freedom and roleplaying that traditionally make RPG's appealing might be useful to new parents who may be limited in what they were able to do.

When developing the story I wanted to create something where being a parent was a crucial element, but that didn't increase the players post-partum anxiety. This is why I settled on a tone that was closer to Dragon Fable than Final Fantasy, because I wanted the player to have the opportunity to laugh at themselves.

Problems & Solutions

The presentation itself was difficult because it was hard to condense all the necessary information into the given slides. Ultimately I think that I probably included too much text and in the future I would either create a video presenting or I would add more diagrams to explain concepts concisely.

Review & Reflection

I enjoyed the project, even if it wasn't as polished as I would have liked and I think I had some interesting ideas. If I were to complete the project again I would probably try to create a video to pitch it, which would hopefully give me the confidence to actually submit my presentation. I do regret not submitting, even though I was very busy at the time, I think it would have been a valuable attempt to get me used to participating in events that could challenge my design skills.