Our launch Press Release!
Generating Movement for Change for Neurodiverse in the Gaming Industry
The Association for Neurodiversity in Video Games (ANVG) is a first for the UK – a social movement for change, to have better representation, diversity and inclusion within both video games and the gaming world, for people who are neurodiverse.
Nearly half of people with neurodiversity (i.e. people with a learning disability, autism, Asperger’s, acquired brain injury, people who experience mental ill health etc.) have a games console at home, and yet are extremely underrepresented within games or within the games development process.
ANVG’s Founder/Director, Alex Roland, was inspired to form the association, after playing a game which required him to beat up a man with learning disabilities in order to complete the level.
“As a keen gamer, I was shocked to see an episode in Red Dead where in order to complete a mission you have to subdue a man with obvious learning disabilities by beating him unconscious!” says Alex.
“Something just didn’t feel right! I decided I wanted to help the games industry better represent neurodiverse people in a way that could help educate and inform game design, whilst being fun to play.”
Neurodiverse people can often feel separated from the world they find themselves living in, and gaming can be a refuge in which they are able to participate on an equal footing. Alex, who is a national (multiple) award-winning self-employed support worker for people with learning disabilities/difficulties and/or autism says: “I realised there were lots of people I work with who really love gaming but never get to see anyone who looks, sounds or thinks like themselves in the games they play. We want the gaming world they love to truly represent them in all their glorious diversity, not to be an imagined image of a neurotypical ‘nirvana’.”
The video game industry is a massive and ever-growing market, and ANVG want to become part of this forward-thinking industry, by providing a panel of ‘experts by experience’ – that is people with real lived experience of neurodiversity, that the gaming industry can tap into, consult with, and use to inform their gameplay and games to create better products and digital environments for the diverse audience they cater for.
Working with neurodiverse groups will mean challenging old stereotypes and bringing fresh perspectives to game development during the production, assessment and reflective stages of gaming projects, and therefore better representing the amazingly diverse world of people that we all know exists in the real world.
“We want our members to help advise, inform, educate and challenge the stereotypical view of what gaming is and what it should be”, says Alex, “We want to help the industry tap into the amazing diversity of humans!
“We have already started helping some of the people we support, to sign up with the amazing Team17, where people get paid to help test and develop games.”
For many neurodiverse people, gaming is more than a hobby; it is integral in their lives, and the potential influence they can exert is huge. ANVG aim to provide an industry standard/charter that games developers and publishers will want to sign up to, agreeing to fully represent neurodiverse people both in their games and workforce, and they see it as a privilege to be able to help bridge the gap between different sections of our amazingly diverse communities.
ANVG want people and developers to support them by signing up to their newsletter, and for games companies to employ their consulting skills to help the great people they work with to gain employment and experience within the gaming industry. Visit the website for sign-up and information: www.anvg.co.uk