Review: Electric Dreams: Goliath: Playing with Reality
By Samantha Field
SHARE THIS CONTENT:
With new emerging technologies comes new ways of telling stories, and VR is becoming increasingly used in not only gaming, but also in art. In this case, both gaming and art combine to delve into what it’s like living with mental illness. Electric Dreams: Goliath: Playing with Reality may be an odd title; but trust me, it is worth taking the chance on.
Audiences put on their VR goggles, and with controllers in hand they hear the story of Goliath, a man who is living with schizophrenia. He begins his tale with his childhood traumas, then delves into his mental health decline, his stay in a psychiatric ward, and ends with his recovery. The monologue is broken up with short gaming sequences that really engage the audience to the story. Along with Goliath’s narration is the presence of a second voice, that guides you through the experience.
The use of VR technology gives a truly unique presentation of what it is like to live with schizophrenia, which allows the audience to experience for themselves the condition rather than just hearing about it. The graphics, while beautiful and colourful, are disorientating and effectively create the uneasy feeling that accompanies living with mental illness.
The story also challenges many common stereotypes associated with mental illness, such as that medication is not a simple ‘cure all’, and that people with schizophrenia are not violent or dangerous. Goliath also talks about how social connection and his involvement in the gaming community were crucial aspects to his recovery, highlighting how recovering involves many different aspects other than just seeing professionals. The only shortcoming with this experience is that some of the metaphors used may be too abstract for some audience members to connect with.
Despite the heavy subject matter, Electric Dreams: Goliath: Playing with Reality has a fantastical feel to it and finishes off on a hopeful note. It is a great experience for those who love VR or first timers wanting to give it a try. Audiences are sure to come away with the feeling of awe and new-found understanding.
4 and a half stars.