I first met Matt Sanderson from Moloch Media at PAX Aus 2018, when his game Mars Underground was included in the PAX Aus Indie Games Showcase. Since that time Mars Underground has been released, Moloch Media has released another game (Shadows and Dust), and they are already working on a new project – keeping busy!
Matt shared his favourite part of being featured in the showcase:
“I think it was feeling like I could call myself a game developer with a straight face. Having that recognition and just knowing that other people actually like what I’m making.“
While Mars Underground hasn’t had as large an audience as Matt had hoped, the game is loved with it’s unique blend of puzzles and quirky character interactions, wrapped up in a time-loop adventure. Mars Underground is currently 50% off via Steam.
[Content warning: Discussions of suicide, psychosis, anxiety, depression below]
In September of 2019, Moloch Media released Shadows and Dust. The game is an exploration of the emotions, thoughts, and experiences connected to anxiety, depression, and suicide. The gameplay is impressionistic and emotive, as you work through scenes of after-life discussions with your son, anxiety inducing phone calls, and disconcerting travels through unknown territory.
Shadows and Dust was a deeply personal game to Matt, drawing on experiences from his own life and others to create the environments and interactions in the game.
“I sometimes have those dreams/nightmares where you think you’ve woken up but then a creeping sense of weird dread comes up… … and then you wake up again. And it keeps happening over and over.
I’ve also talked to several people who’ve experienced fairly severe episodes of psychosis… …their descriptions of feeling like they were in hell and how reality was warped have stuck with me.
These are the sort of experiences I’ve drawn on for the designs [in Shadows and Dust].”
For anyone looking to explore these themes discussed, Shadows and Dust is around 30 minutes long, and is currently free on Steam.
If you or someone you know is struggling to cope, there are people who care and are ready to listen. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au.
Moloch Media, also have another project in the works. We’ll be keeping our eyes out for this one!