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