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Post news RSS From Grieving to Gaming: Grief Trigger's Origins

How I turned personal tragedy into a triumphant game.

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Grief Trigger is about overcoming the loss of a loved one. Not a theoretical loved one mind you, a real one. I was a few months away from graduating college for game design when my father died in a car crash. That unforeseen moment left me in limbo for 2 years.

“Time heals all wounds” or so I’ve been told. Yet after two years I couldn’t look at photos or participate in hobbies we had shared. Conventional wisdom wasn’t working for me, so I declared I would “put my grief in a grave with my own hands” which would become the basis of Grief Trigger’s tagline.

I spent a year traveling everywhere my father and I went in the past. I made myself remember and re-enact everything we did… to the extent the law would allow. I skipped the part where we trespassed in the name of Pokémon GO.

Each memory took several tries to fully confront, but I eventually re-enacted all of them. I undid all the distortion grief had caused. The past I feared to recall became a wellspring of strength to press on. I was happy for the first time in 3 years.

After I took a moment to reflect on it all, I thought that journey could make for an interesting game. I spent the next three years creating Grief Trigger and it’s launching on Steam April 21st. There’s a free demo you can play in the meantime that contains an exclusive level. I’ll also be sharing more of how I incorporated my grief journey into the game’s aesthetics and mechanics here on Indie DB up until launch. Hope to see you again!

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