Mental health issues affect millions of people daily, especially since the start of the pandemic in 2020. This is why SBOC Media CEO, Dan Routledge, has become an ambassador for mental health charities and has created an online community where Mental Health Awareness and LGBTQ+ acceptance are right at the heart of everything we do. We have even talked about this in previous articles.

Of course, that desire to spread awareness of mental health issues goes for our community as well. Community member, GoliathGamesTV, has helped to create something new that will allow people to discover the difficulties faced by people with mental health issues.

Narrated by Tilda Swindon, the Virtual Reality experience was premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival this month and won first place in the Grand Jury’s Award for VR.

Called Goliath: Playing With Reality, it has been created by Anagram (the behind The Collider and Door into the Dark) and examines what it is like for someone who has to live with a mental illness.

“The original inspiration for Goliath was an observation a close friend made about his brother several years ago,” said co-Director Barry Murphy. “…it was an interest of mine to make documentaries from an animation perspective. I loved animated films like A Is for Autism by Tim Webb and wanted to explore subjects like this artistically. I had experience as a CG animator and felt a piece about gaming would be a good platform to experiment with an apt use of CGI rather than conventional Pixar-style shorts which dominated in the film festivals I had been to.”

The team at Anagram decided to make an interactive, VR experience that would look into the difficult subject. Over a period of a year-and-a-half, the developers interviewed Goliath many times to learn about his situation and his experiences with mental illness.

Based on Goliath’s own experiences with schizophrenia, the experience will lead you on a journey through the different worlds that he found himself in while in the throws of the illness. Your journey is narrated by Echo who is played by Academy Award-winner Tilda Swindon, as you try to discover what is really real and what has been created in the character’s mind.

Goliath’s battle with mental illness saw him in isolation in psychiatric units but he was able to find connection with others thanks to multiplayer games. Having started gaming as a child, Goliath has found that gaming helped him to deal with his condition. He started streaming around 4 years ago and has found that it has helped him to zone in on the game and forget about everything else.

Goliath: Playing With Reality looks at different aspects of his experiences through heart-felt dialogue and symbolic interactions. You will uncover Goliath’s story as you wind your way through multiple worlds made up of stunning visuals.

Reactions to the experience have been very positive, with some people reaching out to the devs to thank them for making something that deals so well with such a delicate matter. You can try it for yourself for free this month on Occulus VR.

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