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Autistica, Mass Effect & EDI with Dom Shaw (Safe Space Podcast Season 1 Episode 8)

On this episode of Safe Space we welcome Dominic Shaw from UKIE’s #RaiseTheGame pledge as our latest guest.

In this episode we talk about Dom’s life; from games he enjoyed growing up through to the games industry introduction and eventually him settling into UKIE. We also go into depth about LGBTQ+, autism, dyslexia and support within the industry, as well as the journey he took to get where he is today. Dom also talks about his work with Autistica Play.

As always, we grill our lovely guest on his all-time favourite games, and talk about Dom’s love for the Mass Effect series and how he used to skip school just to experience BioWare’s ever-growing Universe. We also go into depth about the impact that video games had in Dom’s life.

You can find Dom here on Twitter.

Follow the Safe In Our World Podcast here on Twitter for clips, updates and guest interactions!

Skills utilised:
News

Hymble Ventures

Hymble Ventures is a 2.5D sci-fantasy platform game about an insect-like alien on the autism spectrum. Players join Hymble on their adventure through Hymborgia, Eukaterra, to find and discover a mysteriously wandering maegent. Hymble Ventures features many environmental puzzles, metalhead creatures and special abilities based on autism hypersensitivities, converted into superpowers.

The core mechanics of Hymble Ventures are based on controlling the five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, hear). For neurodiverse people, they can be hypersensitive to sensory information and may overreact to increasing stimuli. This autism trait is an inspiration to aspects of Hymble’s world such as quirky, organ-shaped berries that grant enhanced sight, or smell etc.
To hone in on the subject of autism and hypersensitivities, Hymble’s cartoonish and exaggerated character design consists of oversized melon bread antennae (or ears), and a large nose.

Features:

  • An array of puzzles that uses different senses
  • An experience to help others see how neurodiverse people feel every day
  • A wonderful cartoon art style

Hymble Ventures is currently in a testing phase and you can download it HERE. The team appreciate any bug reporting on the Itch.io page ready for Steam once the game is fully ready.

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Unpacking Is An Unexpected Delight That Makes Me Feel At Home by Richard Breslin

Shortly before its release on Xbox Game Pass, I had seen the thumbnail for a game called “Unpacking.” The name of the game didn’t draw me much too it, but I remember having a feeling of warmth appreciating the artwork. Then I thought to myself, can a game called “Unpacking” really have much to it? Surely there must be more than just unpacking, right? 

Well, I was wrong. Kind of. Sure, the main emphasis in Unpacking is to unpack. Yet in this simple concept, I discovered there’s far more to this game, at least on a personal level. Unpacking, as you can guess, is about unpacking (shocking, I know). Upon reaching the main menu, I already had a sense of calmness. The ease of the 16-bit era soundtrack and the equally nostalgic pixel art. Instantly I felt a level of comfort before the game had really begun. 

 

The game has a subtle story, which progresses moving from house to house in various stages of life. It also has a visual form of storytelling instigated by your yearbook which is essentially chapters split into generations. You’ll also notice little pop culture references that might spark a personal heart-warming memory of yesteryear. 

Once you begin the story of Unpacking, you start in a small bedroom. Unpacking a few simple boxes and placing them in the relevant places of your room. There is also no time limit to Unpacking, so you play the game at your own pace in what is one of the most pressure-free games I’ve ever played. You’ll casually unpack box after box and before you know it, you’ll be laying out the bedroom just how you want it. A teddy on the bed, a picture frame on the wall and a handheld gaming device on your bedside desk. 

I didn’t realise it initially, but I had unknowingly become immersed in this simple, yet wonderful and charming puzzle game. I felt intrigued to progress to the next page in the yearbook, wondering what delights I would have to unpack and furnish my digital home. I had a constant feeling of warmness, ease, and satisfaction that I’ve never really felt in any other video game before. 

But what was it about Unpacking that made me feel so at home? Was it the charming, pixelated visuals and soundtrack? Was it the calming approach to puzzle-solving? Perhaps it was that inner satisfaction of placing items in my digital home exactly where I wanted them to be? In truth, it was all the above and then some. There’s something special about Unpacking that I can’t quite pinpoint, but I can’t stop thinking about it. 

As well as being on Xbox, Unpacking is also available on PC and Nintendo Switch. Living with autism, there are so many things that can make me feel instantly overwhelmed and sometimes things can get unexpectedly too much. I often take my Nintendo Switch on my travels, just in case I feel overly anxious. When feeling overwhelmed, the Switch is a device that can help calm me down. 

Should you ever choose to play this delightful indie game, you’ll find your own reasoning as to why you’ve fallen for this wonderful experience. And in an odd kind of what, Unpacking is just that, it’s a wonderful experience. Whatever it may be, if you want a game to chill out to and just relax doing the simple things, Unpacking might just be the game for you. So, if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass, please check out this simple, yet unique indie darling. Because Unpacking just might be the perfect game to make me feel at home. 

Skills utilised:
News

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