Autumn – An Oculus Rift Video Game to Help Rape Survivors
Tusmørke’s Autumn is a video game about dealing with fear, guilt and shame and how to be able to chase the demons away and begin the journey of healing with determination. The game portrays the after effects of sexual assaults and attacks. With the help of Oculus Rift, Autumn lets you step into someone else’s shoes to understand another person’s experience, reality and how they feel. During the game, you will have to go through a terrible experience, but that’s the point of the game. It is to make people realize what sexually assaulted victims and rape survivors go through and how to empathize them.
The team of Tusmørke consists of two students named Marta and Mikkel from Copenhagen. The duo was worried about the reaction the game could cause because of its sensitive and didactic subject. Few months ago internet was high on cultural wars and designing a game with emphatic female experience felt a bit scary. However, when things began to settle down, Marta and Mikkel decided to go ahead with the project. They realized that there were hardly any human experiences in video games that have the power to evoke empathy, and its potential has not been used yet.
The developers believe that an interactive experience will have more power to explain the vulnerability of the situation than words alone. While there are books, media, films and literature exploring the important, uncomfortable and taboo subjects, there is no reason for video games to not to do so. Martha explained that how victim’s daily experiences differ from other people’s routine. Words were not enough to describe how easy it is for people to take a walk outside the door at night while for a victim it can be unimaginable. Martha said that she ‘wanted to make a game to convey this sense of vulnerability, to take people through the looking glass’ .
Tusmorke created the game keeping two groups of players in mind. For example, players who have never experienced the trauma themselves can understand the situation, simultaneously, players who have been through the traumatic experience will be able to confront the fear and handle their emotions.
We personally think the game, which isn’t really a game, can be a big eye opener for us. There are lots of negative responses, as the developers expected there to be, but the point of Autumn is not something you want to play, it is to build awareness and empathy.