Susan Sarandon, Psyop Spread Malaria Awareness with ‘Nightmare: Malaria’ Game

By Erik Oster 

This past Tuesday saw the release of the first game developed by production company Psyop, “Nightmare: Malaria.” Susan Sarandon lent her vocal talents to the game, developed in partnership with Against Malaria Foundation, for the iOS and Android operating systems. “Nightmare: Malaria” hopes to draw attention to the malaria epidemic that claims around one million lives a year, around 70% of them children under five; and that much of this can be prevented with insecticide treated mosquito nets. But don’t think this is another public service advertisement masquerading as a gaming experience.

“This is not another advergame,” said Brian Kehrer, Technical Director of “Nightmare: Malaria. “We focused our efforts on creating a visually rich and enjoyable, if disturbing, experience.” Kehrer, co-founder of Muse Games, was brought in to help Psyop develop their penchant for visual storytelling into their first ever video game. While at Muse, he helmed the award-winning Guns of Icarus Online.


In “Nightmare: Malaria” the player is dropped “into the bloodstream of a young girl infected by malaria. Players make their way through 18 levels of fever-dream visuals, avoiding killer mosquitoes and collecting hard-to-reach teddy bear tokens along the way.” While I can’t say anything about the gameplay, not having played the game yet, the trailer hints at striking, occasionally disturbing visual design — not surprising coming from the Emmy-winning Psyop.

The game was inspired by a Susan Sarandon-narrated PSA created through Psyop’s non-profit initiative, Establishment for the Greater Good, called “Nightmare.” In fact, “Nightmare: Malaria” borrows footage from the PSA for its trailer. If you’re interested in playing the game, you can download it for iOS or Android. And if you’d like to donate to help stop malaria, you can do so here. Stick around for “Nightmare” and credits after the jump. 


EGG 2013 “Nightmare”


EGG Director, Founder | Pakorn Bupphavesa

EGG Co-Creators | Ave Carrillo, Justin Cone

Executive Producer | Lucia Grillo

Nightmare Director | Marco Spier, Marie Hyon

Writer | Kelly Girth


Student Participants | Viraj Ajmeri, Michael Altman, Minsuk Choi, June Hong, Pedro Lavin, Stephanie Lin, Garrett O’Neal, Anne Yang


PSYOP Mentors | Samantha Ballardini, Chris Bach, Zed Bennett, Ben Chan, Eric Chou, Jonah Friedman, Andy Hara, Lauren Indovina, Bo Kim, Kitty Lin, Ryan Moran, Pat Porter, Parzival Rothlein

Music, Sound Design | Q Department


“Nightmare: Malaria” iOS/Android Game


Directed by PSYOP

Game Development and Design | Brian Kehrer, Jordan Harvey

Art Direction | Naomi Chen

Narration | Susan Sarandon


Executive Producer | Lucia Grillo

Executive Producer | Justin Cone

Producer | Ave Carrillo

Music, Sound Design | Q Department


Writer | Kelly Girth

Sound Recording | Color NY

Concept Art | Pedro Lavin

3D Animation | Stephanie Russell, Eric Chou

Design | Alexander Dietrich

2D Animation | Sean Martin

User Interface | Will Adams

Editing | Cass Vanini

VFX | Fabio Piparo

Modeling | Bryan Eck, Alexander Dietrich

Rigging | Zed Bennett, Sean Kealey