How Making a Successful Game Became a Life-Saving Mission for Pixelberry Studios

Content warning: discussion of eating disorders, abuse and suicide.

When Pixelberry Studios set out to create High School Story, they were only hoping to make a successful, lightly educational mobile game for teens. Little did they know at the time that this would lead them to helping kids better understand the impact of bullying, finding ways to make studying for SATs fun, and personally helping a suicidal young woman.

That’s the story told by Pixelberry’s CEO Oliver Miao in this remarkable talk from GDC 2015. If you’re interested in making games with a positive impact, it’s a must-watch. Miao talks about how his team handled the moment when that young woman reached out through their support chat. He also discusses how they dealt with the blowback that came when they released a well-intended but triggering storyline about eating disorders, the process of working with non-gaming charities, and a lot more that should be of interest to anyone who makes games that touch on difficult topics.

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