We spoke to Kelly about the origins surrounding creating the game and the features within it which were carefully designed to create deeper understanding.
“[OCD] is an extremely misrepresented mental illness; most people don’t know what it is. People think it’s about cleaning or it’s this quirky thing, and it’s really difficult to describe to people,” Kelly explains, “media depictions do more harm than good in most cases”.
“I wanna express this and explain this to people, and was looking for that magic article to send to people that didn’t exist.” She explains, mentioning that it’s one of the difficult things about having OCD, is being able to meaningfully express what OCD can feel like. This ultimately led to her choosing to create a game that could provide a more intimate experience that anyone can pick up and play.
Creating a free and short experience like Obsessive Compulsive Game served as a way to explain OCD to people more easily, “this became the magic article that didn’t exist”, Kelly explains.
It wasn’t an easy task to create the game, however, as Kelly mentions it was “a wrenching experience to make” and re-traumatised her in many ways.
It’s so ultimately worth it in the end and I’m so glad I did it. It took a lot to make.
Kelly also talks about the translation of OCD traits into game mechanics; something that was one of the most powerful features of the game. “The moment I was like ‘this makes sense as a game’ was when you have to push the box about. You’re forcing players to do an OCD ritual. You have to count.”
She’s also discussed ideas around making a larger scale game if she had the time – providing more light to de-mystifying OCD in game form.
You can experience the game here – This is a game about mental illness, and as such might be disturbing to some players. Situations in the game include imagined violence, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Please play with care.