We had the huge privilege of being featured at Melbourne International Games Week 2016 (#MIGW2016) this November as the official mental health partners, getting the opportunity to speak publicly about a number of different issues, and even to unroll our first ever booth: “The CheckPoint” at PAX Australia.
Huge thanks to Karma and Alice in the Diversity Lounge, two incredible humans whose effort and passion have successfully created a safe and inclusive space which many people take advantage of over the con. The Diversity Lounge truly is a wonderful feat and a concept I deeply hope will be implemented at a variety of large scale events.
Also I’d like to show appreciation to Tony Reed of GCAP, and to Unity, both of whom felt that mental health was important enough of a topic to invite me to speak on it to their expert audience. It’s inspiring and validating to know that we have such strong voices supporting our cause.
Rundown of Activities
MIGW kicked off with Unite, a specialist convening of leading developers and other games professionals to assist Unity users create the highest quality products possible. I gave a talk at Unite titled, “The Right Frame of Mind: Representation of Mental Illness in Storytelling”. I believe it was recorded so we will be able to bring you the entire talk in full soon!
It went superbly well and I was so humbled and impressed at the engagement of the audience, including their keen insights and interest.
Promptly after the Unite after party, and a chance to link up with Unity CEO David Helgason, we went straight into GCAP. This was a perfect opportunity to engage developers of all studio set ups and skill levels, and deliver evidence-based and actionable advice on managing mental health and wellbeing in the games industry. This talk, titled, “Your Mental Health is not an Optional Side-Quest”, was more intimate and intense, but very well received. As testament to the support of our peers, the talk was packed out and unfortunately many had to be turned away. But don’t worry! The talking points will be recorded in a video series and available very soon! And of course if you missed out there will be opportunities to recap on the talk at other events such as GDC.
And then onto PAX Australia!
Tens of thousands gathered throughout the MCEC to celebrate our biggest, boldest and most successful games convention in Australia. CheckPoint represented in the Diversity Lounge, where visitors could sit down, put on some headphones and engage with some awesome games and apps for wellbeing. You can find a complete list of them here.
In addition to the booth, CheckPoint was also present at a variety of talks and panels! Between Jane and myself we did six in total. These included:
- The Psychology of Dark Souls
- The Gun Lobby
- More Than a Game: Playing for Mental Health
- IGEA’s Killer Battle: The Case for Games
- Geek Parenting
- Ethical Choices in Games
Stay tuned for video clips from our many appearences!