Head Game

Mind Body Split Game – Jo Addison & Jenny Dunseath (2024)

Head Game is a computer game exploring the intricate relationship between body and mind, and the dissociation of one from the other. Players are tasked with aligning disjointed elements of their virtual selves, navigating the mind-body split.In a comedic, tragic iteration of an ultimately futile task, heads quietly but catastrophically slink past bodies. Crude and unembellished in its form, the game evokes the dissociation and dissonance of  grappling with the challenges of chronic illness, long COVID, mortality, grief and loss.

Head Game employs an early computer game aesthetic with simple interactivity drawing attention to disembodied experiences of interconnectedness through digital mediation. Through interactive gameplay, players are invited to attempt the quest for ‘wellbeing’. Starting with three lives, players’ control their bodies traversing a flat landscape. When the body mind is complete, players are absurdly rewarded with points. Lives are lost when ‘good’ heads hit the floor and a warning given when ‘bad’ heads collide with the body. A Bonus level presents players with an abundance of good heads and the opportunity of another life. With multiple levels, the futile game endlessly continues.

Head Game delves deep into the tacit somatic experiences of its players, challenging them to regain agency and control in an altered state. It seeks to prompt reflection on the interconnectedness of mind and body and what is at stake when they are split, inviting players to confront the problem of the contemporary human condition.

Head Game can be played off or online.
Press space or click to start. Use cursor keys and/or mouse to move the body.

Created in collaboration: Jo Addison & Jenny Dunseath
Programming: Steve Jones @ Code With Feeling