This Aussie teen wanted people to understand his autism, so he made a video game
In late 2016, Brad Hennessey made one of the toughest decisions he'd ever had to make. He took the game he'd spent two years of his life on and he trashed it. He wanted to make something different. Something that mattered. He wanted to make a game that reflected his life experience as a young man living with Autism.
That's when he decided to start working on the game that became An Aspie Life.
Before An Aspie Life, high school student Brad Hennessey spent two years creating a platform shooter.
At what should have been the end of its development, Hennessey looked back at what he'd made and realised he'd been struck with the classic creative dilemma. With the skills he'd learned creating the game, he'd improved. To the point that everything at the beginning needed fixing to be on par with the rest of his work.
So he let it go. This was in November 2016.
Brad had something else in mind. It was around this time he noticed the increasing use of autism as a slur, as an insult.
"As someone who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder, I wasn't offended," explains Brad, "but I just thought, why?"
Diving into researching the misconceptions he was encountering, he found the common source of the ignorance and fear: a lack of education.
"I was alarmed at the rising number of people who were not getting vaccinations, or not vaccinating their children, because they think autism is worse than death," Hennessey said.
"I was even more alarmed at the lack of information and resources trying to show people what autism truly is!"
Brad decided to use his experience with autism to craft a game that was both fun and enjoyable, but also represented what having Autism is really like to live with.
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