Insomnia Awaken

“Insomnia Awaken” by Piotr Rycabel.

“A short narrative horror game. Symbolically, the production depicts the struggle of man with depression and his internal demons. Nothing you see is exactly what it really is. This is not a ghost story or other fantasy monster story. Because the real monsters are people themselves. Often against themselves. Can you understand what surrounds you?”

A man, sitting on a sofa. He looks tired, you can nearly feel the depth of the rings under his eyes. Suddenly he stands up and you as a player get sucked into his point of view. Now you can see his apartment, or at least what you think is his flat, but it is all mantled by gray shades. Some furniture, a television, a built-in kitchen and two closed doors. The man starts to speak.

While the words of the person are important in “Insomnia Awaken”, the true storytelling element of the game is the environment itself. So many small and clever details found their way in there, and they all are trying to tell how it can feel to suffer from a strong depression. While the choice of color is one of the most obvious elements, what really got me were the keys that appear from nowhere. Whenever you get one and are trying to open one of the doors, they will not fit into the keyhole. The doors stay closed, but more and more keys are coming up, creating a pile of worthless metal junk.

It felt interesting to witness the different narrative approaches of “Insomnia Awaken”, as you can find subtle and very drastic attempts in there, which can feel like a cliché sometimes. Trying to shoot your inner demons with a rifle? That might be the absolute sledgehammer approach. But please, you should keep in mind that it is actually very difficult to make people with a stable mental health understand what depression feels like. The transfer of this particular experience is hard. And while “Insomnia Awaken” struggles with finding some kind of ‘language’ to do that, it makes this effort at least. After all, that is a wonderful thing. [PLAY]