This creative project was designed to highlight the good that can come from playing video games using From Software's "Dark Souls" as a case study.In this project, I analyse "Dark Souls" as an allegory for depression, examining how the story, game play and level design all create a mindset in the game's players similar to that of those experiencing depression. I then discuss how certain aspects of the game, including level design, the game mechanics used to handle in-game death, and the passive multiplayer systems, all combine in order to encourage the player to stay engaged with the game and believing in the possibility of success. Via these systems, I believe that in creating "Dark Souls" From Software made an experience in which those grappling with depression can practice the techniques most useful in combating depression in a safe environment. Finally, I discuss the ways that "Dark Souls" designers emotionally affect those playing their game using techniques that are unavailable to other media. I highlight these storytelling devices, and explain why they are either best utilized by or only viable in video games as an example of what unique abilities gaming has as a cultural storytelling medium. I also explore solutions for discussing video game mechanics and game play with a non-gaming audience, utilizing game play recordings to provide examples of the discussed game play mechanics. These techniques can be viewed in the attached video.
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