The Mindgames project promotes mental wellbeing through game development

MINDGAMES

Roso-production’s partner, SICK! Festival in Manchester, started a brand new MINDGAMES game development project in August this year.
In the game graphics, there are playing cards on a black background: the Two of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, King of Clubs and Jack of Clubs. Text: One Pair!
The game development started simple, but soon the youngsters were already applying their new skills and making cool games. Picture: Participants of the MINDGAMES game development project

Text: Eetu Rantanen and participants of MINDGAMES game development project Pictures: MINDGAMES

Four Finnish and six English youngsters, who have all either dealt with mental health-related challenges personally or supported other people with such challenges, were taken on board the MINDGAMES project. The idea is to teach basic skills related to game development at the start of the project, such as programming, game design, game writing, making graphics and music for games.

At the beginning of December 2021, the participants are meant to start making use of their new skills to develop a game prototype over the following four months which will be publicly available to be played at the SICK! Festival 2022 in Manchester. At the core of the game development is the idea that the game reflects the participants’ personal experiences with mental health-related challenges in some way.

It is also hoped that, at the end of the project, the participants will have learnt new and, above all, interesting skills, which are of use both in working life and free time, and that they can use this project as a springboard to working life or studies, for example. 

We asked the youngsters participating in the MINDGAMES game development project of their experiences.

How does it feel to participate in the project?

Sami: I’m very excited about the project and can’t wait to see what we come up with as a team and what the outcome will be! Amazing to have this kind of opportunity and to be able to see things you’ve regarded as your weaknesses as an experience and useful in at least some way.

Jani: Feels exciting and unnerving but interesting. Wondering a bit about my capabilities as I have no self-confidence but I’m hoping it’ll get better as I get things done.

What have you gained from the project or what have you learnt?

Sami: I’ve gained more experience in teamwork, had something to fill my days, met nice people with similar interests and of course learnt a lot about making games, which will be of use in the future for sure.

Jani: I’ve learnt a lot of game development theory, which I can also make use of in making a 3D game

What is your main goal in regards to the project?

Sami: My main goal is to learn something new and try to produce something I can be proud of or that would make another person think. Would also be amazing if the game could be used to create a community or help someone (at least while playing).

Jani: To learn game development and, when working on the main project, learn the music and the graphic side of things

What are your general feelings about the project?

Sami: My feelings about the project are positive at least for now, and others in the group also seem enthusiastic and are multitalented and nice people. We also have amazing team leads who have put a lot of time and thought into the project! I have no idea what we’re going to produce and how everything’s going to work out but it already feels amazing to be part of this.

Jani: A good project in my opinion and I’ve been able to talk and share opinions although I find talking difficult. It’s good that you don’t have to know that much but rather learn throughout the project.

In the game graphics, there are human figures and pieces of furniture on a black background. Text: Welcome to our lobby! We’ve chosen you to be part of our tiny experiment.
A game made from scratch by the participants. Picture: MINDGAMES/Sami and Mike
In the game graphics, there are pixelated shapes made up of small squares on a violet background: a stick figure, blocks of flats and sun in the sky.
Limited palettes and pixel graphics tools were used when exploring the production of game graphics. Picture: MINDGAMES / Sami
In the game graphics, a dark grey object pushes through the green background. The green ground cracks and breaks open.
Picture: MINDGAMES / Sami

Amazing to have this kind of opportunity and to be able to see things you’ve regarded as your weaknesses as an experience and useful in at least some way.

In the game graphics, there are pixelated shapes made up of small squares on a violet background: a stick figure, blocks of flats and sun in the sky.
Picture: MINDGAMES / Sami

A good project in my opinion and I’ve been able to talk and share opinions although I find talking difficult.

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