Student designs video game to aid mental health awareness

Alexander Tarvet's simulator, which is voiced by his dad, has received thousands of downloads worldwide.

Scottish university student creates unique video game aimed at raising mental health awareness STV News

An Abertay University student is sharing his father’s battles with depression through the medium of video gaming, in a bid to encourage others who are struggling to reach out.

Alexander Tarvet’s simulator, which is voiced by his dad, has received thousands of downloads worldwide.

The simulator provides a first-hand insight of depression and his feelings of isolation.

“My dad’s had his experience of depression. He’s had three very major spells of it and he’s managed to get through it,” said Alexander.

“Off the back of that he found himself speaking to closer family and friends and talking about his experience in the hope it would help them go through similar.”

The Longest Walk isn’t your typical game. The only control players have is the speed at which you move forward.

Its aim is to be educational and create more discussion about mental health.

After seeing what impact his dad’s openness had, Alexander was inspired to create something to share his story on a wider scale.

His simulator has been downloaded around 10,000 times since the start of last month, connecting with people thousands of miles away.

“People out in China, people in Russia, people in the US, people in the UK, in Spain, over in Europe,” he added.

“It’s had a much wider impact than I would have previously anticipated.”

The response from gamers online has been overwhelmingly positive. Many have been able to relate to the honest and frank account of his dad’s mental health challenges.

Alexander’s simulator is free to download from the platform Steam and he has plans to make it available using virtual reality.

His creation will form part of his PHD studies but it’s clear it’s already having an impact outside of university.

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