'Snowy Springs', a quest based adventure where you take on too much. The game was nominated for the Game Development World Championships (GDWC) 2022 Student Game Award and showcased at Game Development London Expo (GDLX) 2023.

Released for free on Itch.io in January 2023. Downloadable on Windows

---> play here <---

Holly and myself, who developed the game, have personal experience with struggling to manage our own and others’ mental health. At its core, Snowy Springs is a game about taking too much on without thinking about your own mental wellbeing. It's meant as a twist on the cosy quest genre such as Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing that sees you carrying out chores with little thought to the strain this puts on yourself.

Design references and inspirations for Snowy Springs

We consulted with the UK charity, Gaming The Mind, an organisation of UK-based mental health professionals, when designing Snowy Springs. The charity aims to promote positive mental health within the gaming community and the games industry; and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues. Their input was valuable and critical. Snowy Springs promotes the idea of self-care in modern life, the importance of focusing on your own needs and radical empathy. We intended for the game to reduce stigma surrounding anxiety, depression and panic attacks; but also promote the self-care activities to self regulate and calm.

The tranquil village of Snowy Springs

Snowy Springs has been specifically designed to promote the role of self-care for people who struggle with prioritising their own mental health. All of the gameplay mechanics, the story and world have been tailored to serve this purpose.

Alex takes on a task for one of Snowy Spring’s residents

We wanted to subvert the player's expectations: they expect a cosy game experience similar to that of Animal Crossing but the rug is pulled from under them when the character's mental health starts to falter. When the player first enters the game world, they should find it to be familiar, warm and welcoming. However, this sense of security is slowly eroded by a barrage of tasks put on the player by the village's people, culminating in the main character suffering a panic attack and depressive episode.

The game’s protagnaist, Alex, suffers a depressive episode

Snowy Springs was nominated for the Game Development World Championships (GDWC) 2022 Student Game Award. It was also selected for a GOLDEN TICKET entry at Game Development London Expo (GDLX) 2023, which meant we got to showcase the game in the Vaults under Waterloo Station on 29 March 2023.

Snowy Springs was developed November 2022 to January 2023 by students at the National Film and Television School, Holly Hudson and myself. Snowy Springs was made possible with the help of our fellow students: producer Bernardo Angeletti, sound designers Joseph Russell, Liam Sharpe, Lucas Lehmann and composers Umberto Gaudino and Nir Perlman. We're super proud of it and the game's themes are very close to our own hearts.