Snowy Toy Shelf
This is a toy shelf of cozy digital toys/scenes inspired by my experiences with Visual Snow Syndrome, made in a week for the Patient73 Game Jam.
Photosensitive Epilepsy Seizure Warning: This game contains lots of brightly colored flashing dots/lights. Please exercise discretion if you have photosensitive epilepsy.
Note: Game requires keyboard & mouse or trackpad. Also, depending on your computer/internet, the game may experience temporary lag spikes in the beginning of the scenes when things are loading and generating (especially the night driving scene). Take a few deep breaths and give it a few seconds to catch up, and it should be smooth after that.
About Visual Snow Syndrome
Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) is a neurological condition where a person sees tiny dots or specks that look like TV static in their field of vision, all the time. People with VSS may also experience other symptoms such as difficulty reading, sensitivity to light, poor night vision, and seeing afterimages.
Some people are born with it, while other develop it later in life. There's no known cure for visual snow syndrome yet.
The causes of visual snow syndrome are not well understood. Some studies suggest that it may be related to changes in the brain's processing of visual information. There is also evidence that suggests that the condition may be related to other neurological conditions such as migraines or epilepsy.
For more info, latest research/news, and resources/hope for people with Visual Snow Syndrome, please visit the Visual Snow Initiative.
Backstory behind the different scenes
I've had Visual Snow Syndrome all my life. I didn't know until a few years back that this is not how every sees. After all, cameras and old TVs see static and grain. In poorly lit places especially, the colorful static dances and pulsates, sometimes with my heartbeat if I'm paying attention to it. High contrast (especially lights on black backgrounds) quickly causes grungy burn-in and heavy grainy streaks. I have heavy near-sightedness and when my glasses are off, the world is blurry, but the overlay of static/effects stays the same, making for very interesting visuals.
Night Driving: [This scene may have some lag in the beginning as things load/generate. It goes away.] I hate driving at night. The glare of headlights blinds me and leaves all sorts of streaks across my vision, and it interacts wildly with the visual snow, leaving me with a light show. In the daytime, the glare of the sun off of reflective surfaces leaves my vision heavily spotted and streaked.
Bubbles: What would the world look like without visual snow? I've never seen it without the static. Would it feel more boring, or would I appreciate the clarity? With this scene, the monkey blows clarity bubbles. When you look through the bubble, visual snow is removed.
Rock Garden: I often see grainy after-images of everything, especially with bright things, or high contrast situations. These after images interact with the static, creating cool/annoying effects. It's like raking across sand in a Zen garden, leaving a mark in my vision until it gets raked over by something else, or until it fades away.
Elephant Trampoline Piano: Stressful situations, lack of rest, and spending too long game jamming will aggravate my visual snow. Making this game has increased the intensity of my visual snow, perhaps because I've been paying a lot of attention to it, and not sleeping much. Rest and relaxation, as well as trying not to pay any attention to the visual snow may help to decrease it. I don't know how all this relates to this scene, but I wanted to see an elephant jumping on pianos, and I always notice my snow if I'm playing piano and staring for a long time at the piano keys and sheet music.
|Tags||artgame, Atmospheric, Cute, Feel Good, Indie, Low-poly, visual-snow|
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i never knew this was thing i thought it was normal I asked my mom about it when I was younger and she looked at me like I was crazy lol
Hehehe same here. Having had it all my life, I thought every sees like this. In the back of my mind I still think that "normal" people see it too but just are too insensitive to notice it. But then I read about the people who develop visual snow syndrome later in life after having lived with "normal" vision, and get devastated by it. I guess we're the lucky ones to always have it. :)
I fairly recently found out about VSS after a conversation that included me saying "what do you mean you don't see that?" and a bunch of googling. I'm pretty lucky in it usually doesn't seem to interfere with my vision much, as far as i know anyways.
I'll have to play these and see if they match up with my experiences.
Yeah that's how I also discovered it wasn't normal, very late in life. I don't think VSS even had a name or research until the past decade. I hope this game helps to raise awareness about it.
Some of these effects are artistically inspired by my visual snow interacting with myopia/nearsightedness, so may be a bit funkier (especially the audio-reactive stuff) than my normal colorful static, afterimages, and high/low light sensitivity glare/streaks.
Pretty nearsighted here too, think there might be a correlation. Seems like I read something like that. As I read about other symptoms that go along with VSS I remember it like checking off a list :)
Actually I have a weird, possibly related, question. If you lay in the dark with your eyes closed for awhile but definitely not sleeping, do you see subtle weird flowing colors? It's a thing my brain/eyes do that I've always thought was related to the VSS but rarely had a chance to ask anyone who might share it.
That particular phenomenon with the eyes closed in the dark could be something called "phosphenes" https://scienceline.org/2014/12/why-do-we-see-colors-with-our-eyes-closed/
I think I get that too, but it's hard to tell if it's that or just the colors/static from the visual snow.
As for the nearsightedness / VSS correlation - I had the visual snow way before I was nearsighted. The interesting thing is that visual snow remains sharp with or without glasses, and the static is there whether the eyes are open or closed. Latest research points to the static/noise part of it happening in the brain, rather than in the eyes.
Could be phosphenes. Think I saw that before but was never sure if it was quite right. it has a very specific look that is hard to describe. it's always red and green... sorta and flows like a lava lamp... kinda :). If I was artistic enough I'd try to draw it or something.
I also see the static regardless of eyes open or not which is one of the reasons my layman's research leads me to be pretty sure it is VSS.