A fun, challenging multi-platform 2D game with special mental health-related challenges to solve.
|Scooped by katierobinette|
Gaming for Good
By Katie W. Robinette, Executive Director, Healthy Minds Canada
The video game sector is the fastest growing sector within the entertainment industry and second only to music in profitability with global sales of video game software reaching almost $17 billion U.S. in 2011. Further, video game playing is now nearly universal among children and teens. According to a report (also from 2011) called “Essential Facts About the Canadian Computer and Video Game Industry” by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, more than 80 per cent of Canadians ages 6 to 17 said they play games regularly.
Assuming that each generation will become more digital than the proceeding one, gaming will only increase in popularity.
At Healthy Minds Canada, we’ve been hosting pan-Canada Youth Summits for the past four years and each year, we’ve seen technology play an ever increasing role – from live streaming to live tweeting.
Our Youth Summits engage trained youth speakers with lived mental health experience to share their personal stories with other young people in an effort to dispel myths and negative attitudes surrounding mental illness. In recent years, the topic of bullying has been showing up on agendas at more than a few of our Youth Summits.
It should have come as no surprise then, that when we convened a team of young Canadians to help us come up with a mobile game about the main diagnosis’s in the DSM-V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), that they thought the first game should be about bullying. While technically not a mental disorder, bullying is a major contributing factor to teen mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thought and suicide.
While fully aware that there are many, many external and internal factors that contribute to mental illness, if we at Healthy Minds Canada can help make a difference in raising awareness about some of the contributing external factors, we’ll do that.
To that end, we are working with software developers Mojility to create a fun, challenging 2D a mobile game about bullying. Our first game is being developed with the 9-16 year old user in mind, but that’s not to say that adults won’t find it helpful and fun too! And rewards earned in the game redeemable in the real world. For example, points earned may be converted into iTunes or FaceBook dollars. But we are still working on that!
Our Prototype has been created and we are turning to the crowd by launching our first-ever Indiegogo campaign to raise the monies needed to complete development and market the first game, which we expect to be available just before the start of the 2014-2015 school year.
While the game will be fun and challenging from the user perspective, from our perspective the game is not really about playing for the sake of playing. It’s about triggering behaviors and practices that, hopefully, will improve users’ empathy and awareness about the consequences of bullying while providing a safe environment to test and practice coping and prevention strategies. Effectively using an on-line tool to affect change in off-line behaviour. Indeed – gaming for good!