Chronic pain made a big impact on my childhood, and it continues to impact my adult years. I don’t personally suffer from chronic pain, but those around me do; multiple close family members of mine have migraines and other forms of chronic pain. Many of you who are reading this can probably relate, as a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine indicates that chronic pain affects about 100 million American adults. Chronic pain is so damaging, yet so amorphous. It’s not only the pain that’s damaging, though—it’s also the isolation. When I was a teen, pain took my mother away from me for days, even weeks at a time. As hard as that was for me, I know now that it was even harder for her. At the time, though, I didn’t understand. I couldn’t relate, I could only react.
Enter 14 Days: A game about life with migraines. Co-designers Hannah Shaffer and Evan Rowland have teamed up with editor Joshua Yearsley to create a two-player game that takes the players through two weeks of life as a migraine sufferer. It’s a narrative game that prompts players to conceptualize and share the experience of chronic pain. That experience, though, is much more than simple pain. Here, their words say it best:
“14 Days explains the challenge of migraines not through descriptions of pain, but through the concept of lost time. The experience of lost time and missed opportunities is something anyone can relate to, which helps make 14 Days a meaningful experience for all types of players.”
I believe this game is important. I think it could foster discussions that will create stronger connections between those who suffer from chronic pain and their friends and loved ones. Any game, any tool that can help bridge that gap is huge.
As of the time I’m writing this, the Kickstarter campaign has 180 backers and is about $500 shy of its $4,800 goal. With 18 days to go, it seems likely that they’ll make that goal, and I really hope they do. The more conversations we can have about chronic pain, the better it will be not only for those who suffer from it, but for everyone. Let’s rebuild those ties that chronic pain so often breaks.