Undertale is arguably one of the biggest indie games to have come out in recent times. The game has won numerous awards, such as the Audience Award from IGF 2016 and Most Fulfilling Crowdfunded Games from South by South West 2016. So it should be no surprise that the game has a massive fan following. Now Gamers For Good want to use this massive fan following to help raise awareness of mental health issues, as well as tackling the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Liz Cooper, Gamers For Good’s President, has said the following:
“As someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I know the struggles and the isolation that can come with mental health conditions. With such a personal connection to this issue, I wanted to find a way to find a way to start a public conversation people could join in and not feel so alone. Gamers for Good Presents:UnderTale is that answer we were looking for.”
Gamers For Good have “unprecedented permission” from Undertale’s creator Toby Fox, and are going ahead with their Undertale themed fanart book. Submissions are currently being accepted on the G4G Undertale site and can be anything from cosplays, crafts, covers of songs. Submissions will be accepted until October 16th.
On October 18th a Kickstarter will begin to fund the fan art book, and will end November 16th. The fan art book will then be created using the submitted fan art, and proceeds from the book will donated to the project’s three associated mental health charities.
Anxiety Gaming is a grassroots organization connecting directly with gamers and helping them find spaces both in and out of games. Out of game,Anxiety Gaming helps connect gamers in need of mental health care with provider matching service and even has grants to cover care costs. Knowing we all love games, Anxiety Gaming has taken it into the land we all love, and create safe space guilds and clans within the games we are all playing. So you can enjoy the sense of community gaming brings us, without fear of the sometimes negative energy present.
Take This is working on efforts that both make it better to work in games through their “Depression-Proof Studio Culture” efforts, and they also help conventions and conferences in gaming less stressful places to visit through their AFK Room program. The AFK Room program which came to be at PAX’s shows but now exists at GDC and even E3. The AFK Room creates a safe space that can be visited in a time of need, whether that need is just a quiet moment away from the crowds or to speak with one of the clinicians on staff to help with any issues that may be presenting. Through both these programs Take This is getting people talking about mental health and those efforts reduce the stigma attached to mental health and seeking care.
Child’s Play who has started an initiative to place Game Centers in Domestic Violence Support Facilities. These Game Centers allow games to fill a role of support for traumatized youth. They offer support through distraction, entertainment, and interactions with others.
It’s awesome to see how much of a positive impact gaming can have. I’m glad to hear Toby Fox has given the all clear for this project, and I will definitely will be backing it. What do you think of this project? Let us know in the comments!