Building connections is a crucial part of the human experience, whether it is in-person or online. Unfortunately online platforms encourage people, through their design and functionality, to curate “perfect” identities, rather than show the imperfect sides of themselves. Behind the Layers aims to normalize questioning these curated identities and help people become more comfortable with vulnerability. The game takes players through a process of answering questions about themselves, and then reveals how their friends answered the same questions about them. Once users play, Behind the Layers will allow them to continue connecting daily, facilitating conversations that allow them to reach deeper levels in their existing relationships. It is designed to be different from social media platforms that emphasize image over conversation, and will break down the barriers of performance by revealing peoples’ different layers.
By better understanding one another, we will learn how to better support each other’s mental health. At the end of the day, we all experience the same feelings, emotions, and pains, so despite the many differences, we are all the same inside. I explore the idea of sonder, which is “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”, through my game that brings users through the process of exchanging their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the world around them. In a world where we are constantly performing, it is important that we feel comfortable being our most authentic selves around those we love.