This Is How It Feels To Experience Alzheimer's — And It's About To Help People Become A Lot More Empathetic

A game that encourages empathy.

Imagine walking into the space you've always lived in and not recognizing anything.

Precious relics you once treasured sit sweetly in the same places they always have, but you can't remember which piece of your history they represent. There's a photo of loved ones, smiling from the inside of a picture frame, but you've forgotten their names.

According to Alzheimer's Disease International, that's the painful daily reality for an estimated 44.4 million people around the world. 

This is just a brief glimpse of what it's like to live with Alzheimers. But in Forget-Me-Knot, a video game developed by a 21-year-old student named Alexander Tarvet, users can get a real sense of the experience.

"Computer games are one of the greatest ways to let people safely explore a situation they've never experienced," Tarvet said in a press release. "'Many games deal with fantasy and fiction, but I wanted to look at something much more serious."

Tarvet, who presented his project at the Ignite Dundee festival in Scotland, went on to explain the unique user experience. 

They're in their living room, which should be a safe and comforting space, but it has become hostile and unsettling as they've lost memories of the personal objects all around the room. 

The player is in exactly the same position as the person with Alzheimer's – both have to explore the room and try and piece together an understanding of photos and letters through clues left on shelves and in drawers.

In the video below, the user navigates through a space that looks like someone else's living room. In the game, our own questions of where we are and what's happening around us are voiced aloud — but the voice belongs to a person who once knew the answers.

(H/T: Mashable