Inspired by Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges written by Rose Offner, MFA and Sheri Brisson, MA, game developer Rosemary Lorckhorst came together with writer Sheri Brisson to develop Shadow’s Edge. The game was published by Resonance House in 2017, but recently received new updates. The recent updates consist mostly of quality of life fixes and made multiplayer interactions more reliable. Shadow’s Edge was created to help young adults and teens who face emotional distress due to chronic illnesses.
The City of Shadow’s Edge is set after a massive storm hits, which is allegorical for the illness. The City is split into three dimensions: Disruption, Disillusionment, and Discovery, with an additional Froze state. All of these dimensions and states have a different theme to overcome. Each dimension offers four city blocks that need to be explored, allowing the player to expand the story and characters.
Players use a graffiti mechanic to try to reunite the isolated guardians, who in turn support the player with clues to various puzzles. Players also can indirectly communicate with other players with a black book to complete challenges. As more obstacles are cleared, the black fog around the city is lifted and buildings are repaired, restoring the city.
Shadow’s Edge is specifically designed to help teens and young adults that have chronic illnesses develop emotional strength while they’re going through the hard stuff that comes their way.
In a recent interview, Rosemary Lorckharst told Wireframe: “The idea is that it’s a game, because that’s where teens are. They’re on their mobile phones playing games, but it’s not meant to distract them from what they’re going through. It’s meant to help them really come to terms with their feelings and understand themselves and their reactions better. It gives them a voice.”
As a survivor of brain cancer, Sherri Brisson struggled with expressing her feelings and often felt isolated from her friends and family. Rosemary Lorckhorst had lost her parents to chronic illnesses and never had an opportunity as a child to confront her feelings. Both of them felt that the best way to help other people was to create an interactive medium that aided introspection and encouraged openness. Using both art and writing, Shadow’s Edge encourages players to explore their bottled emotions and to share them with others, with the ultimate goal that the player will go through self-discovery and tackle the problems that plague them.
Shadow’s Edge is available for iOS and Android.