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Seeking Ataraxia

by Glass Rat Media profile


(based on 14 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

A simulation of what it's like to live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, balancing life, relationships and neurosis on your quest toward peace.

Game Details


39th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)

Editorial Reviews

Undo Restart Restore
Seeking Ataraxia doesn't explicitly tell what its goals are. It's billed only as "a game about anxiety" but it seems to work quite effectively as public education. I certainly learned some things that I didn't previously know about e.g. how OCD can manifest itself. It describes the symptoms personally but neutrally, without preaching or overexplaining. It lets the readers come to their own conclusions about what kind of effect mental health issues have on the protagonist's life.
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Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
Seeking Ataraxia is about the difficulties of living with OCD. In particular, the protagonist has a hard time ignoring or blocking out certain kinds of distraction; studying while the living room is a mess proves to be nearly impossible, for instance.

I found this pretty easy to relate to even though I donít, to the best of my knowledge, share the condition. One of the odd side effects for me of playing games about mental health is that I start to hypochondriacally wonder whether I also exhibit a few of the symptoms. But of course a lot of these symptoms are a strengthening of mental habits most people have to some degree, not necessarily something that is wholly different in kind. It was informative to see this at work.
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Elizabeth, If
I really like the idea of games or other interactive works to help people experience what itís like to live with anxiety or other mental issues. I think this is a medium that has the potential to get us into the heads of people who think differently than we do, and I think that understanding people who think differently than we do is incredibly important for being good humans in society.
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Renga in Blue
Itís pretty short and I feel like the intent is to just give the perspective of being inside the OCD mind. Given that, Seeking Ataraxia nailed its target: the part where the main character panics trying to find Chrisís hiding cat and imagines it dead or the part where a study session is foiled by the looming mess outside strike me as some of the most realistic scenes of this competition.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An alt-game about OCD and managing your life, February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: IF Comp 2015

This IFComp 2015 game centers on understanding and experiencing OCD. It has a nice visual feel, with a fixed-letter-spacing font and some purposely grainy photos/images.

You are diagnosed with OCD, and you learn that it's not what people think it is. You experience OCD as you struggle with how to spend your day and struggle with intrusive thoughts presented in an interesting way.

Overall, a mid-length game. You get a summary at the end describing how you're doing and what your future might be like.

If you are interested in OCD, definitely check this game out.

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I enjoyed this a lot, March 7, 2016
by BenCarey (Brisbane, Australia)

This is a nice little story about someone with severe anxiety. Itís a small story but well told and contained. I very much related to the character and all of the incidents that occur. I thought this game provided what a lot of interactive works lack and that's a solid internal process. Internal monologue and reasoning. I also love that the aim of the game is not to Ďwiní but to try and achieve some form of tranquility for the main character.

There are some problems, for instance I completed the to-do list on the first day and it was still referenced as a choice on the second day. But that's very small.

I enjoyed this game a lot.

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Shows promise, but broken., October 4, 2015

There is nothing more frustrating than for a game to break as soon as it gets your interest.

There is a logic loop in the "next day" screen after the second day, and you can't proceed.

I would have tried to contact the author but they don't provide an email address in their competition listing or even their own website.

Please test your games.

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For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible stories of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Story in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...

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