Asylum thriller The Town of Light to be shown at Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Town of Light

The Town of Light is a first-person psychological thriller set in the Volterra Psychiatric Asylum. Far from the jump-scare setting you might imagine, the asylum was an all-too-real Italian institution dubbed a “place of no return” and shut down in the ‘70s. An exercise in empathy, the game has been selected for an Indie Arcade event at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington.

The Arcade is a single day event designed to showcase games with the potential for social and cultural impact; games unusual in their focus on narrative and innovation. The astute among you will note that The Town of Light, built by in Florence, isn’t American art at all. In fact it’s the first ever Italian title picked by representatives of the Smithsonian, UCLA, American University, DePaul University and IGDA (International Game Developer Association).

“Being selected by such a prestigious institution is an honour for us that proves all our efforts in researching mental illness and the history of mental institution was worthwhile,” said creative director Luca Dalcò. “We are looking forward to meet the public in Washington in January.”

The Volterra asylum came to the attention of the internet last year when photographer Eleonora Castagnozzi shared photos of the abandoned hospital. The Town of Light is inspired by extensive research but played through the eyes of a fictional patient, 16-year-old Renée. It’ll come to PC, Mac and Linux with Oculus Rift support on February 26th.