I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started Xandir’s Fibromyalgia Simulator. I had never heard of this chronic disorder beforehand and the word “simulator” in game titles has increasingly been used ironically. I went in with an open mind and was surprised to emerge better educated about a disorder that affects millions of people.
Fibromyalgia Simulator is about living with fibromyalgia and the game showcases events over the course of a few months. Simple activities like taking a shower or riding public transportation can become trials due to fatigue and pain. While it’s easy to see how this impacts physical activities it isn’t immediately apparent how it affects social activities as well. Xandir made sure to include social elements into the story to show how fibromyalgia has the potential to create hurdles surrounding friendships as well. The choice to include doctor’s visits and the stigma surrounding the disorder is as important as it is informative. As an able-bodied person who rarely gets sick I tend to have neutral or positive experiences with medical personnel and it’s always a good reminder that not everyone has these experiences, which sometimes lead to a symptom going undiagnosed for long periods of time.
I was overjoyed to see the conclusion mention both the bad and the good events. It is too easy to focus on the negative aspects of life and this game could have done just that, shown how difficult life is with fibromyalgia. Instead, Xandir chose to show how fibromyalgia is more manageable with the support from friends and family. Some things as simple as patience, hugs, or even cookies can help make each day feel just a little bit better than the last. I also liked how the preface doubled as a trigger warning for some of the content in Fibromyalgia Simulator. Little ideas like adding trigger warnings ensure that users know what to expect before entering a work and are highly underutilized. It’s always refreshing to see a game use them.
Fibromyalgia Simulator is a game I would recommend to anybody, but definitely to anyone looking to better understand the disorder or to help empathize with someone who does. We often talk about how video games can be more than power fantasies or system mastery. We talk about how games have the ability to help us in our day to day lives. This is a great example of that. This is a game that educates the mind as much as the heart. I wish I could say that more often about video games.
Created by: Xandir
Can Be Found at: http://glitteryanimal.itch.io/fibromyalgia-simulator