Coping with serious illness is difficult; for young people who haven’t yet developed insight and positive coping skills, it’s even harder.
Designed to help youth dealing with serious health issues, Shadow’s Edge takes place in a once vibrant community that was nearly destroyed by a cataclysmic event. Everyone except the player and Ty, the Guardian, have disappeared and Shadow’s Edge is a dark, lifeless wasteland. Ty tells players that “art was the soul of the city” and that everyone had black books filled with important questions as well as their inner most thoughts and feelings. He asks players to help find the pages of the city’s black book. Each page has a writing prompt designed to explore their thoughts and feelings. “What makes you shine?” “How are people protecting you and how does that affect you?” “What scares you?” “When do you get embarrassed?” Here, players can safely and privately process their emotions. Additionally, the Guardian asks the player to bring color back to the city by painting its walls with images that express their thoughts and feelings. The app features a spray can with a variety of paint colors, stencils, and stickers. As each journal page is completed and more walls painted, the city slowly comes back to life: lights come back on, bugs and birds start to appear, and so forth.
The game’s outward facing primary tasks of exploring the city, finding journal pages, and painting are of value in and of themselves. But the artfulness of this app is the exploration and normalization of what young people are experiencing as they face health crises. It assists in the development of insight, positive coping skills, and emotional intelligence.
Sharon Heuscher ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.