Decrepit psychiatric hospitals with Gothic architecture and their mentally ill patients still constitute a lot of horror fiction. The recently-released Outlast and Bethesda's upcoming The Evil Within both take place in insane asylums housing horrific monstrosities, but Lucy Morris dislikes those tropes and seeks to challenge developers to create a different kind of horror game.
"You should not use asylums, psychiatric institutes, medical professionals, or violent/antipathic/'insane' patients as settings or triggers," states the Asylum Jam's website . The 48-hour jam, running from Oct 11-13, was inspired by Ian Mahar's Kotaku article that examined the negative effects of the horror genre's prolific use of mental illness, including the societal perceptions that come with having one such illness.
In an interview with Polygon, Morris and participants in the game jam go in-depth on the stigmatization of mental illness, the potential for the jam to open a discussion, and their desire to explore other avenues for the genre's future. So while Morris and developers, who can still sign up at the jam's site, admirably try to move away from the popular horror tropes, they will try to create new, inventive ways to frighten people.
Great. Now games can make me squeal like a child for even more reasons.