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About the StoryA game about mental health care and the parts of oneself that has to be given up in order to get recognition and help, treatment and respect. It's about double binds and victimization, oppression at the hands of those who are supposed to help, and the cracks through which we all fall, bureaucratic, normative, diagnostic.
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I get the idea and I'm interested in understanding the problem it describes. But I also was distanced a bit from the piece precisely because the answers that I myself would have given were not always included in the initial option lists. (Spoiler - click to show)Do I feel oppressed or empowered? A little of each; it really depends on the circumstances, the day of the week, the people I'm interacting with. Sometimes I feel respected and sometimes I don't. But there was (unsurprisingly) no way to express that answer, or that kind of answer, through the interface provided.
To some extent that distance comes from the fact that, as a cisgendered person, I don't share the experiences of the protagonist -- but that could have been an opportunity for me to learn more about the life of people unlike myself, and the work as it stands occupies a spot where it doesn't feel like it's about me but also doesn't really feel like it's about someone else.
I think lengthening this work might have clarified the separation between the fictional "you" and the player, making for a stronger presentation of its core points.
I think troubles are hard to avoid in general in short IFs with frontmost political content. The moment such expressions take interactive form, they need to be able to stand up to a fair bit of scrutiny in the same way that rooms in IF games need to be able to stand up to sufficient player interaction. Intake will not stand up to scrutiny beyond its basic expression that it sucks to be in this position if your system is crummy and the particular doctor you are seeing is appalling. In which case, you obviously need to find a different doctor, preferably a good or great one, and/or persist – my words, not the game's. Also, if Intake's outro did mean to badmouth Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (a badmouthing I would dismiss) I think it undercut itself, since it's obvious that any doctor who would prescribe the same treatment for every problem is a fool.
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by Sam Kabo Ashwell on 10 February 2013 at 1:08pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item