Fringe Preview: Amy Conway’s Super Awesome World gamifies mental health challenges

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Video games have come a long way since Pong caused a scene in 1971. It seems like only yesterday Donkey Kong threw his first barrel at a plumber in way over his head and a hungry yellow dot with phasmophobia cannibalised smaller yellow dots to fight off pixellated ghosts.

Amy Conway’s Super Awesome World puts the controller in the hands of the audience, with decision-making that will alter her path as she sets out on an epic adventure to slay demons of the mind.

Against the grain of the popular opinion that gaming compounds mental health conditions, Amy’s show offers an alternate view - that game worlds, narratives and characters actually contribute to positive mental attitudes.

The 32-year-old decided to star as the protagonist in her own interactive Fringe show after researching the benefits of gaming on the human psyche.

“I got a Nintendo Entertainment System for my 10th birthday and I immediately fell in love with Nintendo’s style of gaming,” she tells me in the Glasgow gamer throwback bar, Super Bario.

“I played games all the way through my teens and my dad also played them as well, so they also brought be closer to my dad.”

Like a lot of former-gamers, Amy turned away from games on the cusp of adulthood, but having got back into games to research her show she admits she’s rediscovered her love of gaming.

After making it out the other side of depression, she began researching the welcoming game worlds, relatable characters and motivational princess-saving adventures that she believes has a deeper impact on our mental wellbeing for her show at Summerhall.

Pre-packaged inevitable accomplishment might seem like a childish waste of time to some, but millions of gamers around the world have turned saving princess and shooting bad guys into a $100 billion industry.

Amy’s show promises to be a lot of feel-good fun, with her relying on the audience to help her defeat the ‘final boss’.

“The audience play allies in that quest for good mental health,” she explains.

“They’re going to need to help me get there. The conclusion of the show is entirely dependent on the audience, which I’m a little bit scared about.”

To give Amy a 1-UP, you can go and take part in Amy conway’s Super Awesome World, 17.40 at Summerhall (12+)