12-year-old wins video game award for ‘Let’s Be Well’
A 12-year-old who designed a video game about overcoming depression to help deal with the aftermath of his father’s suicide has been recognised with an international award.
The Montreal boy has become the first to child to receive the ‘Gaming Global Citizen’ gong – a Facebook Gaming and The Game Awards honour for those who embody the spirit of positivity through video games.
Called ‘Let’s Be Well’, the game was created using the popular Roblox platform. It enables its user base of more than 100 million to create interactive, virtual experiences.
The game sees the player take control of Bob – a man suffering with depression.
The task is to navigate him through on obstacle course riddled with the colour grey – upon stepping on a block they become colourful, symbolising recovery. Throughout Bob’s journey, pop-ups appear to help teach the player about depression.
“At first I was shocked – pleasantly shocked – because it’s a huge honour and I was super surprised,” the boy – named only as ‘Luke’* – told The Washington Post.
“I was really touched the show acknowledged my game and that it would be featured to such a wide audience.
He recalls attending ‘We Day’, an annual event in Canada that has emphasis on youth empowerment, and how came up with the idea.
“I saw all these other kids who at a very young age – like my age – were making a difference,” he said.
“I saw that and decided to make a game surrounding mental health to kind of de-stigmatise it.”
Despite having won an award and been recognised for Let’s Be Well, Luke isn’t sure if he will pursue a career in game design because his interests lie far beyond video games including both video editing and astrophysics.
*At the request of his family, his last name was not used by The Game Awards, Facebook or the Washington Post.
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