Game developer Jesse Makkonen makes interactive narratives out of abstract feelings. His first game, Silence of the Sleep, molds a story out of depression and suicide ideation. It captures the essence of this plight—the darkly comedic worldview, the powerlessness and guilt, the confusion and sadness—and turned it into an art deco-style nightmare. Sleep established Makkonen as a developer with an inimitable approach to game making, a developer who attempts to capture these fevered brainspaces in a way that the player can easily process and identify alongside.
Makkonen, in other words, visualizes and narrativizes mental health when it is brought to the extremes of despondency.
DISTRAINT, their second release, is another iteration of this same formula, albeit on a much narrower scope. Where Sleep is a novel, DISTRAINT is a short story. It is more of a side project, an interlude before Makkonen’s next major release The Human Gallery. It contains many of the same elements that compose Sleep, but keeps the thematic complexity to a minimum. DISTRAINT tells the story of a young man named Price trying to break into the world of home repossessing and property seizing. Cutthroat corporate work. It takes a toll on him. He begins to see visions of his parents, of forgotten evicted tenants, of the proverbial elephant in the room, gruesome and undead and charging in his direction. You might say that he learns there is a great price to pay for success in big business.
Sorry. Moving on.
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