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Woodberry Down event showcases social benefits of gaming with family and friends

PUBLISHED: 14:55 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 09 July 2019

Gamers at the event. Picture: Arfath Islam

Gamers at the event. Picture: Arfath Islam

Archant

Gamers flocked to Woodberry Down to take part in an event promoting the social benefits of playing against friends and family.

Gamers at the event. Picture: Arfath IslamGamers at the event. Picture: Arfath Islam

The GamePad event, hosted by Hackney manga comic brand Mayamada, took place at the Redmond Community Centre overlooking Woodberry Wetlands nature reserve on June 22.

Guests snubbed the scorching weather to face off against each other on all types of games, from console classics to Connect Four.

Mayamada partnered with groups such as MonHun Offline, which brings disabled people together through gaming and Melanin Gamers, which promotes diversity in the industry.

Mayamada founder Nigel Twumasi said: "With all the negative news around young people today, I think it's important we also make sure to highlight the positive opportunities that do exist for them to take part in with their friends and family.

Gamers at the event. Picture: Arfath IslamGamers at the event. Picture: Arfath Islam

"For a lot of young people, gaming is done online which can be physically isolating. We want people to experience the magic of gaming with friends and family in the same room at GamePad."

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Nigel also mentors individuals from Urban MBA, a charity that trains young people who are not employed or in school to break into business and his mentee Carey Ukandu was on hand selling copies of Mayamada's Hot Lunch manga.

Angela Aquilina has a rare disorder that prevents her from walking so she started MonHun Offline seven years ago to connect people who were born differently through gaming therapy.

Gamers at the event. Picture: Arfath IslamGamers at the event. Picture: Arfath Islam

Angela said: "Unfortunately funding for disabled people is never coming back in this country so I decided to take matters into my own hands. We're either depressed at home or we can get out and do something about it."

Angela and her volunteers use gaming to help with things from anxiety, Aspergers syndrome to autism.

Annabel Ashalley-Anthony said lots of gamers can experience racism and sexism on streaming sites like Twitch and she started Melanin Gamers to counter that.

She said: "The future of gaming needs to be more diverse, there needs to be more women and more people of colour and that's what we're trying to do."

Gamers at the event. Picture: Arfath IslamGamers at the event. Picture: Arfath Islam

Nigel is also a member of the 56 Black Men campaign, which was set up to challenge stereotypes.

He says when he started going to London Comic Con as an exhibitor he found he was one of the only black comic creators there.

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