2 min read

Alzheimer's -- The Game

While watching The Alzheimer's Project, we started thinking: what would be like to make a game about Alzheimer’s? What kind of game would it be?
My grandfather has Alzheimer's. He's still in the early stages, but memory loss, lack of balance and constant falls are already a constant for my family in Brazil. So it's understandable that my wife and I were thrilled when HBO announced a ground-breaking 5-part documentary on Alzheimer’s, The Alzheimer's Project. We've enjoyed almost every episode – it’s incredibly heartfelt and very well-made.

Both my wife and I are gamers. So, while watching the show, we started thinking: what would be like to make a game about Alzheimer’s? What kind of game would it be? What would be the objectives?

An artist's representation of Alzheimer's
Here’s what we came up with:

Primary objective: to take care of your wife/husband from the early stages of Alzheimer’s until death.

Secondary objective: to let go.

The game would be structured by having the player monitor and aid their loved one from a first-person point-of-view throughout the progression of the illness. Progress can be measured by how happy – and how healthy – the ill person is. All activities would count, from basic conversations to a walk in the park and later, intense one-on-one caretaking at a nursing home and/or hospital.

If the player is doing a good job, memories are unlocked – flashbacks where they learn more about the ill person and their life together. If they do a bad job, you can see the suffering in the affected person’s face, they stop communicating and the illness progresses at a much quicker pace.

Eventually, as in real life, the person affected with Alzheimer’s will die. Now the player must assemble the memories they collected during the game in a “farewell clip” and show it to the rest of the family in a one-time screening. That clip will define if the player is able to let go – after all, they have savored the time with their loved one – or get stuck feeling guilty and sad.

To make things interesting, players would be able to choose both a male or a female companion, so the on-screen action and flashbacks match the person’s sexual orientation.

Do you think this is too far-fetched? How would you do it differently?

Looking forward to your comments.


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