Mental Island
Published 2 years ago
In development
A Virtual Environment for Recreational Therapy (VERT)

In the middle of the Ocean of Freedom, there exists an island, developed by a secret team of technologists and builders as a Virtual Environment for Recreational Therapy (VERT), which was later abandoned by its builders for unknown reasons, leaving a robot and three mini bots they had designed and placed on the island to fend for themselves. The robot, called Bloom, is having a tough time finding a way to get off the island, alongside the three smaller mini bots called Ripple, Sparkle and Echo, also abandoned on the same island and dependent on Bloom to lead them to freedom.

Called Mental Island, the island is in the main part made up of a scenic park with a lake (Lake Ula) at one corner and a building called the Mind Bank at the other end. The Mind Bank contains an Art Gallery environment in the middle, flanked by a Gym environment and a Memory Room on either side. Mental Island is patrolled by a quarrelsome Circuit Chicken programmed to annoy Bloom and its little friends through anti-social behaviour. The Circuit Chicken’s constant harassment and bullying often leads to the mini bots getting demoralized and demobilized, unable to keep up with Bloom as it moves round the island in search of access cards. When this happens, Bloom can resuscitate the mini bots by picking the most ideal out of five options of responses to the complaints they give. This is important as the portal that grants access to Lake Ula would not open unless all the minibots are with Bloom when it is activated. Mental Island is also surrounded by an Ocean of Freedom on which Bloom and the mini bots must travel to escape the island, but they first must gather sufficient access cards to open the sequence of portals that would lead them to freedom.

The game play provides a decent balance between immersion and abstraction for the player by allowing them to empathise with Bloom well enough to feel its mission is their mission, while still having sufficient abstraction to know that while they are not Bloom, they are able to help it fulfil its mission. The affordances available to Bloom in the game also provide the player a gamified way of adopting a positive approach to stressful or challenging situations through positive reinforcements, ultimately rewarded with the euphoria of success that comes with the eventual opening of the portal that leads to the Ocean of Freedom.
With this implementation of Mental Island as an immersive interactive virtual world, our expectation is that players would intuitively learn how to take better control of their mental well-being, guided by techniques borrowed from cognitive behaviour therapy and a gamified approach built on positive reinforcement.
Mental Island is produced by CypherApp, with support from the Havering Clinical Commissioning Group.
Project lead and project management: Seun Oshinaike
Game design and development lead: Ayodele Arigbabu
Game development support: Tonderai Ratisai
Ayodele Arigbabu
Creative Technologist - Other
Game Languages
Supported Platforms