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New Game Aims to Raise Awareness for Dementia

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerJune 3, 2015

A new video game aims to raise awareness for dementia by putting the player in the place of someone living with the disease and then asking that player to piece together their life and understand who and where they are.

The game is a unique way to fight the stigma that comes with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia while simultaneously raising awareness about the disease. Learn more about the young and innovative creator of the game and how mass media is contributing to the fight against Alzheimer’s.

A Student’s Gaming Project Raises Alzheimer’s Awareness

Alexander Tarvet is a student at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, who is making international headlines with his finals project, showcased at Sbertay’s Digital Graduate Show earlier this month.

Tarvet is enrolled in Abertay University’s Game Design and Production Management program, and is one of 170 students who submitted a project. His unique game, entitled “Forget-Me-Knot,” aims to raise awareness for people living with dementia.

The game puts the player in the position of someone fighting Alzheimer’s or a related form of dementia. Throughout the game, the player is trying to figure out who and where they are, walking through foggy rooms and looking through clues in each room.

In a press release, Tarvet said: “Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating condition for everyone affected and their loved ones, and through playing “Forget-Me-Knot,” the player gets an immediate sense of the confusion the character feels.”

He continues:

“Putting yourself into the shoes of the person with the disease gives a very immediate, visceral sense of how disorientating and terrifying it must be to live with long-term memory loss.”

Unique Ways to Raise Awareness and Reduce the Stigma of Alzheimer’s

While Tarvet’s video game concept is new and innovative, the idea of using media to combat the stigma behind Alzheimer’s is one that has been explored in the past.

As the Alzheimer’s epidemic presses forward with nearly 44 million people worldwide having the disease or a related dementia, the need to raise awareness, increase funding and erase the stigma associated with it becomes increasingly important.

Celebrities like Seth Rogen and his wife, are speaking out about how Alzheimer’s has affected their personal lives and are using their money and influence to raise awareness. In addition, a Facebook app went viral last year, allowing healthy users to understand what it may be like to live with dementia. The app, called FaceDementia, has the user’s personal profile which includes their videos, photos, friends and family, gradually disappear, giving users a unique insight into what it might be like to lose those precious memories.

It has not yet been determined if Tarvet’s game will be available for wide release, but for now, Tarvet has reached his goal of increasing awareness, with the game’s creation sparking an international conversation surrounding Alzheimer’s.

What do you think about using a video game to gain insight into the life of a person with dementia? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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