(from HG101 Article by Jonathan Kaharl - May 1st, 2016)
"CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses depression and suicide.
Indie gaming has been involving for a good while, and one of its most popular subgenres in the western world has become the narrative game. Many of these developers are more interested in telling a story than presenting a traditional game for a player to have fun with, and it's been met with mixed responses, mainly due to how so few of these developers understand how interactivity with their chosen medium can change the experience. But it's unclear all these developers even think things that far through. Some are so focused on capturing an idea or feeling that all the flaws in their title can't take away the sheer impact.
Actual Sunlight is one of those games. It is also not a happy game by any stretch of the imagination.
The designer, Will O'Neill, grew up in Toronto, Canada all his life, working not in any sort of videogame related field, but a creative director at a communications agency that had no real reach outside his home city. His real dream and passion was not in gaming, but in writing, creating a very darkly comedic and biting style founded in his own depression and self-loathing. To this day, subtly is not his strength, but sheer, unrelenting honesty at the cruel realities that surround us and his own many shortcomings, or at least as he sees them. His weight, a sense of lacking skill or talent, no significant others. These qualities, mixed with his crippling depression, made his twenties, as he describes them, a "black hole." Sometime in his early thirties, his issues finally piled up, and he ended up nearly killing himself, though didn't go through with it in the end.
Actual Sunlight was O'Neill's attempt to capture something beautiful about life in one of the ugliest times of his life. Picking up a copy of RPG Maker and playing with it for a bit, he eventually found a way to make the medium he's been familiar with as a player work for him as a storytelling tool."