May 23, 2024
TIGS will hold gala event to highlight mental health and games on November 16

Tickets for The International Game Summit on Mental Health (TIGS) Gala evening event on November 16 are now on sale. [Update: the price is pretty good at free].

The intended audience for the event in Toronto is for people who are neurodiverse, and/or might have a mental health illness or issue.

Mark Chandler, the organizer of TIGS, said he has been diagnosed as bipolar type 2. This is an event where it’s OK to talk about such matters. The speakers include Osama Dorias and Jamil Higley, as they delve into mental health and emotional intelligence.

Osama Dorias and Jamil Higley will speak at TIGS 2023.
Osama Dorias and Jamil Mullen Higley will speak at TIGS 2023.

Higley is familiar to folks who attended our GamesBeat Summit 2023 event in May, as she headed a roundtable on mental health in games. For over 20 years, Alyx Vance has been a trusted companion within the Half-life 2 gaming world. Higley had the unique opportunity to work with Valve Software in the late 1990s, and she became the model for the face of Alyx, a non-playable character in Half-Life 2.


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Today, she is on a mission to ensure that emotional intelligence (EI) becomes core to game development. She wants to build empathy in the gaming industry from the inside out, creating a future in which all games utilize EI + AI to purposefully and positively influence brain development.

Dorias has had a long career as a game designer at places including Blizzard Entertainment, Warner Bros., Ubisoft and more. He’s also a game design teacher at Dawson College, the chair of the IGDA Muslims in Games Special Interest Group, the cofounder of the Polaris Game Design Retreat, and one of three Habibis on The Habibis podcast.

Dorias loves to empower people in expressing themselves through game making. He especially loves to give a voice to marginalized people and causes. He has hosted game jams, workshops and other community activities to this end.

The event is a gathering of people who all share a common bond and connection, and this is a chance to meet “more people like ourselves and celebrate in our neurodiversity,” Chandler said.

The event will go from 6 p.m. Eastern time to 11 p.m. It will be held at One King West Hotel & Residence in Toronto, Canada.

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