The impact of this scene led to the creation of ANVG

Posted: 26/06/2020

I loved playing Red Dead redemption 2 but when I got to this scene something didn’t sit right. 

For those of you not familiar with it, the main Protagonist Arthur, encounters a disabled man “Bertram“ who he has to subdue by fighting him and beating to the ground.


This is probably a fair representation of how people with learning Disabilities where treated in the 19th century by many and you can argue that in the context of the game setting (the Wild West) and period its acceptable and not inaccurate.

But Video games have a huge impact .


In 2018 the gaming market generated somewhere around $138.7 billion in revenue. The prediction from Newzoo is that in 2019 it would increase by about 9.6% to generate 152.1 billion according to Forbes  and the BBC said “The UK gaming market is now worth a record £5.7bn - in part thanks to titles like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite.”


These are massive numbers and with massive profits come massive responsibility.

We can choose to entertain but we can also educate and explain. 

 When I saw (and played) the scene below I just knew something had to be done to help people with Neurodiversity get better representation within video games. 


In my day job (learning Disabilities support worker) a very large proportion of the people I support are avid games fans and connect and identify with many of the characters portrayed in them.


Yet people whose brains work differently from the accepted “norm” are very underrepresented in games and when encountered tend to be rather shallow one-dimensional representations of people with autism or mental health issues. 


We are not asking for every scene in every game to be vetted and 100% “politically correct” according to our current timeframe and social norms . What we do want is very serious consideration given to neurodiverse people and their portrayal within games as well as acknowledgement that their financial contribution to the games industry is substantial and warrants their wants and needs being addressed. 


Things can change . In 1989 the film “Rain man” was released and featured Dustins Hoffman’s portrayal of a savant-like man with Autism . Suddenly the general public became aware of Autism, even if they did then seem to think  that every person with Autism was amazing at maths......

We can look back and pick holes in Hoffman’s portrayal of Raymond but what it did was help make Autism mainstream! 


Gaming itself is at a crossroads , it’s no longer the domain of teenage boys locked in their bedrooms and hasn’t been for many years now , as evidenced by the billions of £s generated it’s now a global entertainment industry and it needs to behave as such. 

Don’t get me wrong there are many many companies and developers who are actively showing the diversity of humankind in all its wonderful facets , for an amazing portrayal of mental health and psychosis look no further than Ninjas theory’s excellent 2017 masterpiece “ Hellblade senua's sacrifice” 


We want to help stimulate conversations and discussion, not point fingers, (yes I realise I’ve just done exactly that by telling you about the scene  Red Dead2 that triggered this,  But this is just one example among a few  that I could of chosen)  

We want to helps Developers , games companies and players realise the potential for helping people see things differently , through the eyes of someone they may never of met or encountered.


Video from the account of  Tentacle Farmer 


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