I got into psychology for two reasons. One I wanted to change things there are disorders I feel are pretty much just made up. The other reason, to figure out why people are fucked up. For example a neglected and sexually abused child is more likely to grow up to be hostile than a Child who grew up in a caring environment. That's no real secret, Watch Beyond Scared Straight on A&E you'll notice almost all these kids come from broken homes (and also that the show's portrayal of orison life is highly inaccurate) Sometimes though the kid's brian is just wired funny or they have a form of autism or they were misdiagnosed with autism and the underlaying cause of their issues went undetected. It's kinda fun and it's a branch of Psychology where, you don't necessarily have to like people.
As Part of my study of Psychology I took a Film class. I view film as a form of psychology we see our selves and project our world in film, Actors BECOME other people and need to understand other people. That's Psychology. Directors can leave alot of who they are in their work especially if they have a large body of work, For that reasons I'm quite facinated by Woody Allen's films because he really does leave alot of himself in his work. His relationship with Soon Yi for example makes a LOT of sense if you've seen Manhattan. Heideki Anno of Evangelion fame. He, kind of more or less IS Shinji I saw this interesting special which is quite rare now about him going back to his childhood school and he reflected back and mentioned he doesn't think highly of himself. It's been documented too he's suffered from depression so that would be another example.
Since we're talking games here plus I need to segue into the next segment...NO I have not figured Kojima out by playing Metal Gear solid, I can only assume He's on drugs. But games have advanced to the point where they are part of our Zietgiest a german word meaning Ghost of the age, and also a popular tin foil had propaganda film for the new age set. But in this case Ghost of the age a reflection of who we are as a society like films are. So as I drank my morning coffee I got thinking about what games I as a psychologist enjoy for how they reflect it's themes and characters and I came up with 3, the 4th game is going to be used as an example of what I think having autism is like. So lets begin
The Last of US (SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING)
Besides the fact I'm creepily attracted to Ellie (though to be totally honest Ashley Johnson is pretty hot anyway so...yeah) No other game I've played EVER besides another game I'm going to talk about left me thinking about it for so long after I played it. This isn't a game about mushroom zombies. it's a game about broken people. I was watching Ashley Johnson in an IGN Interview talking about Ellie and some discussions Left behind brought up (which I'll kind of get into but can't go into detail yet because I haven't gotten left behind yet) and in my head I started piecing together a profile of Ellie and given the world she lives in for a 14 year old girl with no family and a best friend that died right in front of her, she's shockingly well adjusted. Even though what she saw during her ordeal with David changed her a bit she still seems to have it together near the end of the game. I would not diagnose Ellie with any disorders if I evaluated her I might even say that in this world, she's normal. But my thoughts might change after I play Left behind. Outside of her and Joel who is obviously broken and suffered massive losses you get to see how people react in times of high stress and how people react to losses. Like I said this is a game about Broken people and how people react in the most dire of situations. That's why I feel it's a game both aspiring psychologists and psychologists should play.
I was torn as to which one Persona 3 gets pretty heavy with your relationships but the Gourmet King side story kind of soured me on having Persona 3 here. Shit was corny yo.
I picked Persona 4 for one reason, Sexual Identity issues. YEAH YOU KNOW WHO I'm TALKING ABOUT. Bad Boy Kanji. Though I didn't get far into Persona 4 I did find Kanji to be a pretty fascinating character and The idea of the Midnight channel it self showing the parts of a person they hide to be really interesting and insightful to these characters granted this was also a theme in Persona 3 but I feel Persona 4 was less corny than 3. Plus the theme song it self says what the game is about.
I think the theme song makes the biggest case for the game being a Psychology study tool. The Song IS CALLED "Pursuing my true self" I really only got up to Kanji's dungeon but I did find the way his issues were addressed to be interesting and culturally blind. Sexual Identity in Japan isn't quite as big a deal as it is in the west. But the way Kanji was presented people from east or west could relate if they were going through what he was. Since Sexual identity isn't a common theme in video games. I'm placing Persona 4 on my list.
Also SUPER excited about Persona 5. As soon as I read that the game is "For people discontent with their lives." I knew it was going to be the next game that really speaks to me. Stay tuned in 2 years. I'll probably rave about Persona 5 the way I do the Last of Us.
Tough game to explain. If you study Carl Jung the Persona games are good companions his shit gets pretty deep. But Xenogears. It mixes Jungian themes with alot of Frued and adds a dash of Evangelion style mind fuckery to produce one of the most interesting games I've ever played. I remember at the time I played it my Grandmother had just passed away and for some reason Xenogears helped me through it. There is just something about the game I can't put my finger on that stand out. YES this game does beat you senseless with Fruedian ideas even characters named after some of his concepts like the ID but there is just, something I can't quite place that makes me feel anyone in Psychology could learn alot from. I think there's some revelation late in the game that the whole planet was some Social experiment or something It's been 15 years since I played the game. I need to set aside a month to really dig into it and pick it apart. But there is something about this game I think would really appeal to Psych students and Psychologists alike.
SO the last game which game dis I deem to be Autism?
To be completely honest I'm not 100% convinced David Cage doesn't have either a Social Disorder or some form of Autism. His games are a special kind of fucked up. Cage himself is alittle DIFFERENT. I don't know if that's just because he's French or if it's just that he's messed up. I can tell you this much. Being around Autistic kids my whole life, Putting my life on hold for the entirety of my 20s to help my Parents out with two autistic siblings while dealing with my own demons (which was at 28 diagnosed as Generalized Anxiety disorder) I think I know autism I've been to the special olympics I've volunteered at Autism camps. I KNOW AUTISM and Heavy Rain... This game is autism.
Heavy Rain reminded me so much of behaviors I've observed in Autistic people I literally could not play it because it felt too close to home. The way words and social cues float over your head, I so see an autistic person thinking the same way. Juggling things and fumbling around using the buttons on the controller, Again if an autistic person was to do that I see them view it in their brain as X O Triangle ect. THE CHARACTER INTERACTIONS something about them just felt weird and unnatural to me. Just that opening sequence in the mall felt so bizzare and detached from reality it put me off the game right away but in that first hour as I kept playing it I felt like this entire game was so detached from reality it could be used to teach people what Autism was like. So if you have any interest in learning what Autism is like for those that have it. Heavy Rain might just be that game. I don't even feel I did the experence I had playing it justice. It doesn't help that English was not the first language for the majority of the cast either.
So there you go my two cents I don't really think I did these games justice Xenogears and Persona 4 aren't fresh in my head but still I hope I provided some unique insight on these games.
I think I'm going to go unwind and play some Katamari....
Which I don't think any Psychologist from Jung to Skinner could ever explain.
About PopetheRevXXVIII One of us since 11:09 AM on 05.23.2013
His all time favorite console is the Saturn. His Genres of choice or Shmups and Fighters. He HATES Nintendo.
His Holiness Pope the Rev The 28th. Is a gamer, Philosopher, Psychologist, Guilty Gear XX #Reload GOD and former cult You Tube Personality. Today he rambles on Destructoid. Forgive his spelling and Grammer, he doesn't have time to send everything he writes to his proof readers.