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  1. (Not written by me) The gamer who spent seven years in his dressing gown By Johanna Carr 9 November 2018 A gamer who left his home fewer than 10 times in seven years explains how he's now helping other young people break away from a life of isolation. "Years and years were just spent sitting at my computer," says Billy Brown. "I would only go outside for doctor's appointments or dentist's appointments. "I would never go outside to socialise or interact with other people. My entire existence was online." In what was a difficult childhood, Mr Brown was taken into care repeatedly during his mother's hospital stays for her mental and physical health problems. His attendance during his GCSEs was 13% but it was the stress of starting A-levels at college, coupled with breaking his ankle, that caused him to withdraw from the outside world completely. Mr Brown, now 24, dropped out of college and spent the following years at home - gaming, in chat rooms and reading about politics. He became almost entirely immersed in an online world of "echo chambers" where he felt the pull of extremism and cybercrime. Mr Brown, from Ashton near Helston in Cornwall, says he became increasingly "eccentric" and eventually lost touch with reality. "I can count the number of times I went out in a seven-year period on both of my hands," he says. "I wasn't taking care of myself, I was only taking care of my mother. "There were times when I was suicidal. It really took its toll on me. "I wasn't sure why I was alive, why I was here... I realised if I didn't do something I wouldn't be here in a year or two years." He finally decided to seek help and ended up taking part in the Real Ideas Organisation's (RIO) Game Changer programme, which aims to encourage young people to develop skills and overcome any issues they face before getting them into work, education or training. Now, just 14 months after stepping outside for the first time in years, Mr Brown has come up with his own way of helping people like him to improve their lives - through tabletop gaming. His board game, which he also hopes to develop into an app, aims to help young people build on their social skills and overcome any issues they face. How do you play the game? It's a role-playing board game for small groups. Players meet once a week over a period of weeks or months, improving their social skills as they play. No equipment is needed aside from a pen and paper, but additions can include dice and character descriptions. The idea is the participants play themselves, earning points by achieving certain tasks. They can improve their "characters" and get extra points in between sessions by taking on a challenge in the real world. Participants have to prove they have completed the tasks and share the details in an online group set up for each game. "It is my way of giving back, my way of trying get people to interact and socialise," Mr Brown says of the as-yet-unnamed game. "Something had to change [in my life] and I don't want people to have to get to that point before they make a change." Kirsty Atkinson, who has experienced isolation, is one of the volunteers who took part in a test session for Mr Brown's game. "I didn't have any friends because I had been through a lot of bad relationships and friendships, so because of that I just stayed inside," says the 22-year-old from Pool near Redruth in Cornwall. "I didn't do much, I didn't get out - I didn't want to." She describes Mr Brown's game as "really fun", and is "very sure" it can help people in a similar situation to hers. "I feel like we really connected as a group," she says, adding that it's a good way to meet other young people struggling with similar issues. Another player, 20-year-old Ryden Pyrosa, from Pendeen near Penzance in Cornwall, started the session concerned about not knowing how to play the game. An hour later he wanted to know when they could play again. "There was just something about it," he says, grinning. George Hardwick, a consultant with the Real Ideas Organisation who's been working with Mr Brown since he took his first steps to reintegrate with the world, says it was "wonderful to see young people of both sexes interacting... to see them smiling and laughing - that in itself is a massive victory". For Mr Hardwick, watching Mr Brown lead a group through his new game for the first time in a test session was an emotional experience. "Billy had essentially been living in his dressing gown for seven years," he says, describing his progress as incredible. Mr Hardwick, who is supporting the 24-year-old with the game launch, adds: "He has gone from being severely agoraphobic to now hosting a game that is helping young people to explore their gifts and talents and how they might be able to share those with the world in a way that can really support them. "It is a testament to him, to his determination, to his courage and, in my opinion, the appropriate support that he has got along the way." Mr Brown, who is now working in his first job as a youth support worker, has seen his horizons broaden in a way he would never have thought possible a couple of years ago. For him, the board game is about the "redemptive power of community". "People spend thousands of hours playing games just to see their character grow," he says. "But what if they can see themselves grow?" Source: BBC News Online
  2. epiphanycakes

    UNDERTALE

    Hey all just wondering if anyone here has played UNDERTALE its and indie pc and mac game that's an rpg ? I thought it would be good to post because it teaches empathy and non violence and is very emotion based raver than skill based http://undertale.com/demo.htm
  3. Bruce

    CYOA?

    Like the Tin Man games or the recent Sorcery series? Anyone else played those in either the original book form or the recent games versions?
  4. Bruce

    Mobius!

    Just completed the tutorial! Anyone else playing it?
  5. FireWire

    Nes Classic Mini

    Is anyone going to be buying the Nes Classic Mini when it comes out? I will be I remember playing the old Nintendo as a kid and loved every minute of it and to have a Nes mini launched with 30 games installed and a HDMI port I'll be in my element for sure I can't wait
  6. blacktiger911

    my twitch

    today I will be twitching me playing pl;anetside 2 hopefuly I can get a good platoon going, but if ya want to come check me out!! http://www.twitch.tv/blacktiger_911/
  7. Marmite

    Gaming forum for autism

    Hi sorry if in wrong place can't find a place to put it.. I've created a forum for autistic gamers a place we can gather and talk games, play online etc. Willow has this forum must be a massive undertaking and not enough time so i thought rather put more pressure on her i thought i'd create a forum just for us aspies to game. If you'd like the address leave a comment. Marmite.
  8. L Lawliet

    Final Fantasy

    I was going to make this thread only about Final Fantasy VII as that's my favourite However, the other games are awesome too. I prefer the older games myself, the new ones are awful and nothing about them really stands out like the old ones. For example, if I saw Cloud's spiky hair somewhere I would immediately associate it with FFVII. I probably couldn't do that with the new games. My mum banned me from the game when I was ten years old because I talked about nothing else! Luckily I'm not that bad now...... FFVII and FFIX were my favourites. I enjoyed FFX for the graphics, but it didn't really have the same feel to it I don't think. So yes, anything Final Fantasy related you want to talk about, put it here I'll start with this:
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