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'We found that different emotions or topics can be covered in video games and we do subconsciously learn from them whilst playing.'

Demereece Green, Ahtasham Akhtar and Aaliyah Nesbeth are the creators of Dawn To The Light (DTTL).

This is a video game that aims to spread awareness and help those, aged 12-17, with developing mental health issues. The game does this by providing interactive coping methods to help the player deal with their daily stresses.

Watch the official trailer for Dawn To The Light:

These 3 teens met through school and mutual friends, stumbled across The Agency Project in 2019 and have since been working with our Manchester Agency project leaders, Kate Bradnam and Joshua Wilkinson, towards bringing their idea of Dawn To The Light, alive!

We thought it was great timing to sit down and find out more about this important project and what they have in store for us, as we feel there are big things ahead! Read more about The Agency project here.

Meet the gang

Hey I’m Demereece, I’m 17 and my favourite video game is Dishonored series.

I’m Ahtasham, I’m 16 and the games I play most are Minecraft/CSGO – Creative.

And I’m Aaliyah, also 16 year old and my favourite video game has to be a tie between, Overwatch/Spider-Man miles Morales!

Our Mission

Our mission is to increase young people’s knowledge around mental health, to equip them with helpful coping mechanisms and give confidence to talk openly about mental health.

Q&A

So to start with, tell us why did you choose a video game to base your project on?

Day to day all 3 of us play video games and with that we realised these games also helped us through various situations. We decided we wanted to help others in similar situations and why not help them through it using our very own video game.

This led us to the topic of Mental Health and through research, we found that different emotions or topics can be covered in video games and we do subconsciously learn from them whilst playing. We decided to use the fact that we learn passively as a way to teach about mental health, which has always been an important subject to talk about and tackle but its even more necessary now through the pandemic when so many of us feel extreme isolation.

What do you hope players will get from the video game?

We hope that players will be able to express themselves and their thoughts and feelings surrounding their mental health. Whilst also learning new coping methods.

What venues do you see the video game being in?

We see it being in youth clubs, arcades and online/in person video game stores.

If you could choose one celebrity to play your video game who would it be?

Jacksepticeye as he has helped other small indie games to flourish due to his presence in the media.

Who voices the characters in your video game?

We have two voice actors for the two characters featured in the trailer which are Penny and the Headmaster.The others don’t have voice actors as of now but we have thought about doing some self voice acting or hiring freelancers.

When will you be revealing the characters of your game?

Throughout the next month we have planned to release weekly updates on the video game which will include screenshots of the characters and more about them, so follow us on social media and keep an eye on Contacts twitter for character announcements! (contactmcr)

Do you have different roles or do you all pitch into everything?

We do have different designated roles in which we all do what we are specialised in; Aaliyah is our creative lead, Ahtasham is our acting producer and Demereece is the Narrative lead.

Any advice for someone wanting to make a video game?

Research what isn’t currently on the market and how you can make something unique but also that many other people would enjoy. Always dream big but be aware you may not be able to put everything in your game, and know your audience.

Any advice for any young person that is thinking about creating a project tackling an important topic like mental health?

Do plenty of thorough research and make sure that you have outside help so that your project can be the best it can be. Be open to constructive criticism.

What do you do outside of DTTL?

Aaliyah – I usually play video games and draw, while spending quality time with my cat to relieve stress that may have built up. I go to college while also spending time on DTTL.

Demereece – I usually play video games and I like to write short stories too.

Ahtasham –  I am very into both anime and studying. I find anime is an outlet of emotions, whilst studying is a way to reach another personal goal of mine, which is to become a doctor.

Keep up to date with DTTL

We will be releasing more updates on this page as the project goes on so keep an eye on our social media to see Dawn To The Light’s exciting next steps! In the meantime follow their new Instagram page @dawntothelight