Non-violent media I played/watched in 2020
Looking back on 2020, staying away from graphically violent video games like The Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013) was one of the best things I did for myself.
It has done wonders for my mental health and has made me even more determined to design non-violent video games.
I want to give a shoutout to the non-violent media I played/watched in 2020, what they all have in common and how they’ve inspired me.
What I loved about games like Abzû (Giant Squid Studios, 2016), Flower (Thatgamecompany, 2009) (Fig. 01) and TV shows like Call the Midwife (2020) (Fig. 02) and DIY SOS, (2020) is that being empathetic and wanting to help is its own reward.
(Fig. 01) My Screenshot (Flower, 2020)
(Fig. 02) My Screenshot (Call the Midwife 2020 Christmas Special, 2020)
In Abzû and Flower, your goal is to explore the environment and bring life back to the sea and the world. These games reminded me that the outside world is beautiful and is worth saving. This is what inspired me to make the setting of my game Redemption a deforested area.
In Call the Midwife and DIY SOS, empathy and kindness bring people together. These two TV shows show that these two qualities bring out the best in us and make people’s lives all the better for it. This is why my main character for Redemption, Amy, is empathetic. I want her to set an example for those who play as her.
What I also love about a game like Celeste (Matt Makes Games, 2018) (Fig. 03), TV shows like After Life (2020), The A Word (2020), Life (2020), Us (2020) (Fig. 04) and films like La La Land (2016) and The Theory of Everything (2014) is that conversations drive conflict.
(Fig. 03) My Screenshot (Celeste, 2020)
(Fig. 04) My Screenshot (Us, 2020)
In these examples, we get to see flawed people make mistakes, drive people away and hate themselves without resorting to violence. What results from conversational conflict is connecting with and loving others. They even learn to love themselves.
While The Last of Us made me scared of the world around me, these examples above have, for a lack of a better word, healed me.
They’ve helped me value connecting with people and open my heart to trust and love people just as they are.
Giant Squid Studios (2016) Abzû [Video game]. 505 Games. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/505-Games-8023171038483-ABZU-PS4/dp/B01MDTPBK6/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=abzu&qid=1609687081&sr=8-1 (Accessed 3 January 2021).
Matt Makes Games (2018) Celeste [Video game]. Matt Makes Games. Available at: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Celeste-1207064.html (Accessed 3 January 2021).
Naughty Dog (2013) The Last of Us [Video game]. Sony Computer Entertainment. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Last-Of-Us-PS3/dp/B00844PC9S/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+last+of+us+ps3&qid=1605890348&sr=8-1 (Accessed 3 January 2021).
Thatgamecompany (2009) Flower [Video game]. Sony Computer Entertainment. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/PlayStation-9841432-Journey-Collectors-Edition/dp/B0146QOOM8/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=journey+ps4&qid=1609687543&quartzVehicle=29-408&replacementKeywords=ps4&sr=8-2 (Accessed 3 January 2021).
La La Land (2016) Directed by Damien Chazelle. [Feature film]. USA: Lionsgate.
The Theory of Everything (2014) Directed by James Marsh. [Feature film]. UK: Universal Pictures International.
Call the Midwife Christmas Special 2020 (2020) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://www.thesun.co.uk/tv/13446052/call-the-midwife-boss-tears-christmas-special/ (Accessed: 3 January 2021).
Celeste (2018) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/celeste-switch/ (Accessed: 3 January 2021).
Flower (2013) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://www.usgamer.net/articles/flower-ps4-review-turn-on-tune-in-chill-out (Accessed: 3 January 2021).
Us (2020) [Screenshot]. Available at: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/tv/us-cast-bbc-david-nicholls-18967215 (Accessed: 3 January 2021).
The A Word (2020) BBC One, 5 May - 9 June 2020, 21:00.
After Life (2020) Netflix, 24 April 2020.
Call the Midwife (2020) BBC One, 25 December, 19:40.
DIY SOS (2020) BBC Two, 3 December, 20:00.
Life (2020) BBC One, 29 September - 3 November 2020, 21:00.
Us (2020) BBC One, 20 September - 11 October 2020, 21:00.