Being Super

21 07 2010

Just saw Jane’s post about how she made up a game she called SuperBetter to help her get well again after suffering brain trauma.

The two things that struck me first were her reference to resilience and her choice of identity.

Resilience.

This was a new word to me before I started work on the SuperMe project, and I doubt I’m the only person who doesn’t use it everyday. It means not giving up and letting things overcome you, which brings to mind strong plucky characters battling against terrible odds such as The Bride in Kill Bill or those Spartans in 300.
But if you think of it in the context of battling your own emotional state, it becomes harder to identify – harder to tell what is best to do.

SuperMe is a collection of games, videos, quizzes and ‘cheatcodes for life’, designed to enlighten whoever comes into contact with them about the very existence of resilience and volition. The ultimate aim being to help people better equip themselves to face the slings and arrows of whatever fortune awaits them.

Becoming resilient is hard and requires discipline. You have to risk failure. It won’t make you happy, but it will allow you to protect your happiness.
SuperBetter is a specific application of these lifeskills, the person who is going to kick you hardest whilst you’re down, is yourself. How can you escape that?

Choosing Buffy.

This was a very canny choice, because Buffy is not a single identity, she is part and parcel of her Scooby Gang – it’s an ensemble cast. I wonder how well a lone identity such as the little girl Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth would fare.
This harks back to the idea that small close-nit friendship groups are the best thing for us, or at least the best way to get a daily dose of positive emotions. (though, on the flip side, I wonder if such a group can be sustained once all the monsters have been killed and the focal cause is gone.)

Finally, I totally agree – for me at least – being a game designer means being on a humanitarian mission to help people recognise and effect their behaviours for the better.

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