Highlights from MIGW16...08 Nov 2016
Dr. Jennifer Hazel’s talks at Unite and GCAP
It was great to learn more about where mental illness and games meet. Jenn created a cool acronym (because who doesn’t love acronyms) to help game devs deal with how mental illnesses are treated in their games.
- Language - Making sure the kind of language you use is accurate and respectful. Don’t perpetuate colloqualisms like “psycho” and “crazy”.
- Accuracy - Portray mental illness in a realistic way, take your time to research the details and use it to create well rounded characters.
- Purpose - Use mental illness for the right reasons, use it is a plot device, use it to build your characters use it out of necessity.
- Stereotypes - Are reinforcing stereotypes or are you challenging them?
- Empathy - Consider the whole person, seperate them from their diagnosis. Try doing an empathy exercise with your character… something like this.
- Support - Promote and model help-seeking behaviour, if possible provide support channels for those that need it.
This is so important because the World Health Organisation states that..
One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
This was awesomely relevant to what I have been doing lately and has definitely given me a lot to look at.
The Awesome Indie Scene in Melbourne
I found myself in the company of some seriously quality indie game developers, whether it be Lucas Pope (Papers Please) or students from AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment), everyone was so approachable.
Everyone was so easy to talk to, they would happily and honestly answer any questions that they had. Whether it was stating what games they drew inspiration from or even admitting flaws in their logic. Even going into detail explaining how they achieved certain gameplay mechanics.
It is this kind of openness, sharing and helping each other that has clearly helped the gamedev community flourish. And obviously prevalent when you look at the awesome quality of the Indie Games on show at PAX. It was so cool to see the Indie section bustling with people and at times a lot more so than the giants like Playstation and Nintendo.
Firstly, gender neutral bathroom fuck yeah! As someone that gets anxious standing next to other guys at a urinal it was awesome to go into a bathroom that only had stalls. But also is it really so hard to make everyone feel safe in a place literally everyone has to use frequently?
Secondly, just wow. Listening to brilliant speakers like Brett Leavy, Kamina Vincent and Innes McKendrick was inspiring. It was clear to see that there is still a long way to go, but Australia in particular are ahead in leaps and bounds of New Zealand.
Something like 97% of people will interact with games at some point in their life. As game developers we have the opportunity to reach audiences that others wouldn’t, let’s make the most of it.
This is just an example of what we are capable of.
And this was my awesome family that I spent the week with! Love you guys! <3