Young people on the spectrum showcasing design & development skills at the national gaming event PAX

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MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 14 September 2020

Young people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome have developed two computer games that will be showcased today at the nation’s biggest gaming convention, Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Australia.

Participants of The Lab Online will present their games to the PAX community virtually on 14 September. A video presenting the games will be streamed, consisting of interviews with the game designers and developers about their individual contributions and their experience with The Lab.

Showcase the skills of young people with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome

The games Scrapnell and Paxexion showcase the skills of young people with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome who participated in group mentoring by tech professionals with The Lab Online in preparation for this year’s PAX. Scrapnell is a demolition battle royal car game and Paxexion is a 2D game based on participants attending and exploring the PAX environment – creating a PAX within PAX!

The Lab’s showcase forms part of the PAX Together program, a series of presentations celebrating the wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences of Australians interested in games and gaming. The Lab is a national not-for-profit network of technology clubs for young people with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome established in 2010.

Insight into how The Lab is thriving online

National Coordinator at The Lab Network, Alan Morgans, said this year’s PAX presentation is an insight into how The Lab is thriving online; how the mentors work with participants, how participants learn to work collaboratively and what the participants most enjoy about the sessions.

“Group work is challenging for most of us – whether on the spectrum or not – and considering this had never been attempted by these young people before they have done an amazing job and gained valuable experience, as have the mentors involved,” Mr Morgans said.

“The Lab Online’s PAX presentation shows the amazing work that goes on in Labs and the skills of our participants,” Mr Morgans said. “We recorded interviews with participants and mentors involved in the game projects. While the projects are still being developed, they have come a long way and demonstrate the kids’ commitment to the project. The video we’re presenting to PAX has been edited from several hours of recorded Zoom sessions and interviews with everyone involved,” Mr Morgans said.

“THESE GAMES WERE CREATED IN A FIVE-WEEK PERIOD, WHICH IS OUTSTANDING CONSIDERING PARTICIPANTS ONLY MEET WEEKLY!”

What is the Diversity Lounge?

The Lab Network has been involved with PAX over several years, participating in the Diversity Lounge, where Lab mentors have been on hand throughout the 3-day event to field questions, chat with participants who would drop by while attending the event and talk with people interested in either joining Lab sessions, becoming mentors or starting local community-run Lab venues.

The two games showcase the diversity of skills taught and discussed at The Lab, including coding, sound effects, artificial intelligence, art and concept development, digital design, 3D development and much more.

PAX is a global gaming convention and is held annually in Australia. It attracts tens of thousands of Australians interested in gaming including; gaming tournaments, industry expo sessions and cosplay competitions.

About The Lab Network

The Lab Network is a not-for-profit that provides mentoring by technology professionals in areas such as gaming, programming, IT, 3D and digital design for social and technical skill development in young people with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Launched in Melbourne’s western suburbs in 2010, the network has grown nationally to around 30 physical venues and online service. The Lab Network supports community organisers – such as parents, carers, community members and disability service providers – with tools, resources and support to recruit mentors, participants, locate a venue, and for governance and administration. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Julia Macerola on 0422 337 332 or julia@fiftyacres.com

Lab Network Funding Partners & Event Organisers

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