Devolver Co-Founder Announces Annual Mental Health Game Jam

An annual mental health game gam is coming soon, and will aim to create game concepts that could help treat and destigmatize mental health issues.

The new event from Global Game Jam (in partnership with DeepWell Digital Therapeutics, the new company from Devolver co-founder Mike Wilson) challenges developers to create games that use themes and mechanics that can be utilized in mental wellness treatment.

“The environment of a game jam is the perfect place for exploring and experimenting with new ideas and approaches to problem-solving,” said Global Game Jam executive director, Kate Edwards. “As the world’s largest game jam event, the Global Game Jam is thrilled to see our community create games around this critical topic.”

The first annual DeepWell DTx Mental Health Game Jam officially starts on May 1 (although participants can join at any time after that) and will run for several weeks, until May 22.

The aim of the new event is to acknowledge and further the role of game developers in identifying and treating mental health challenges – tapping into the power of play for the benefit of mental wellbeing.

Participants will be asked to create games that:

  • Demonstrate how video game themes and mechanics can be utilized as treatment mechanisms.
  • Help dispel misconceptions and social stigma related to openly discussing and addressing mental health issues.
  • Build communities that work to connect and support those suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression.

Entrants must submit their games by May 22, 2022, with all development teams registered using this form.

All games submitted to the DeepWell DTx Mental Health Game Jam will be promoted and fully playable via Global Game Jam’s page.

“Don’t miss this opportunity to explore this critical theme through games and educate the world about the importance of mental health and wellness,” reads an official statement.

It sounds like a great opportunity to get create while also helping push forward the use of games and play when it comes to addressing mental health challenges. Prizes for the Game Jam’s top games are to be announced.

DeepWell itself was announced last week, a new games publisher explicitly dedicated to both developing and publishing games that provide proven health benefits.

Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

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