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Brain Agents is a video game in development for iOS and Android mobile devices designed to help youths develop trauma resilience. The game is developed in partnership with the non-profit agency Stryv 365 as part of its commitment towards implementing trauma-informed programming to diverse groups of students to alleviate and offer nonclinical solutions to toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences.

Brain Agents uses the trauma education concept of “brain alarm” as a narrative and gameplay motif for delivering trauma-informed education and resilience practice to players.

In the game’s narrative, the player is onboard a space ship that has encountered a part organic, part digital alien presence that feeds on chaos and stress. The alien has taken over the ship’s security system and afflicted the minds of the cryo-sleeping passengers with anxiety and negative thoughts. The player must avoid tripping the alarms of the ship’s compromised security mechanisms.

By returning the crew’s positive thoughts that have been scattered by the alien, and by practicing trauma resilience exercises such as focused breathing, cognitive reframing, and coping statements, the player can rescue the minds of the crew and seal away the chaos alien.

The following excerpt from Stryv 365’s peak team curriculum helps illuminate the brain alarm metaphor and how Brain Agents connects with it:

How does trauma affect you?

  • Trauma can change your brain.
  • Trauma can make you brain alarmed (like a fire alarm).
  • The alarm may tell you to run away, freeze, or fight back.
  • Trauma may cause you to overreact (see danger when it is not there).
  • Trauma alarm may cause you to react to the past instead of the present.

Mentoring points

  • Trauma is scientific like technology.
  • You can do things to “rewire” your brain.
  • You can reverse the effects of trauma. We call this “resilience” and it is a power you can get if you exercise your brain the right way.

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