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The Orb

Reachout is Australia’s leading online mental health service for young people. They asked us to develop a digital classroom tool to teach 14-year olds about the benefits of positive psychology.

We wanted to make something that would encourage creativity and problem solving. It also needed to be fun... so we built a game. We developed a story that would appeal to kids, and collaborated with Reachout staff to make sure it remained firmly grounded in the techniques of positive psychology.

My Role:

  • Idea Development

  • Copywriting

  • Character Design

  • Creative Direction

  • Art Direction

  • Graphic Design

Research has found by finding ways to use and develop your strengths, rather than focusing on fixing weaknesses, you are more engaged and produce better outcomes. Focusing on your strengths feels good too!

You focus on your strengths right from the start by choosing three character strengths you identify with. This dynamically generates your very own personalised avatar. A glowing sphere (the Orb) hovers around your avatar, it's a metaphor for your positivity. You must re-energise your Orb every 24 hours by inputting three positive events from your day, prompting you to evaluate your life through a positive lens.

You begin the game floating above the world where you witness 'The Glitch'. 

There’s a strange sound and the whole world vibrates. The colour is drained from the landscape, representing what it’s like when things aren't so great in our lives. The world becomes the map you use to navigate through your quest.

When you zoom into the world you meet Emoji Head. He’s the only one unaffected by The Glitch and he is kind of like your spirit guide. Emoji Head – and all the characters in the game – present their dialogue in speech bubbles. You have multiple options for replying and you need to choose conversation threads that exhibit positive behaviour, otherwise characters won’t help you.

Emoji Head explains your objective is to fix The Glitch and restore colour to the world. 

The characters are all affected by The Glitch and aren’t feeling themselves. They each have a quest you need to complete. In some levels you simply to talk to the character to make them feel better and restore colour to their level on the map.

Some characters require an object to fulfil their quest. When this happens you need to explore other levels on the map to find items for your inventory.

The fantastical world has some quirky characters ranging from a boy genius, to a heavy metal robot and a CEO with a huge head. Each character embodies a problem that can be solved through positive actions – for example connecting with family, listening, contributing to good things and exercise to name a few.

This is Ralph and his lost dog. You help reunite them.

You help Richard Hedley patch up a long running argument with his estranged brother. 

This is the lady in the forest. You help her get back to nature.

What They Said:

"At the very start we were a bit sceptical about Orb, thinking it was just going to be another lesson. But once we got into it, the game was enjoyable and discreet in the way it got us thinking positive. You meet different characters who have been overcome by negativity and each has a different struggle; some have lost family members, some you need to help to start exercising. You have a conversation and the only way to help them and move forward is by engaging in positive talk."

~ Student

"The game is an excellent way to engage kids on a topic they might otherwise find unexciting or even confronting. It is great to teach kids about their sense of self using a medium that's unexpected in the school environment but very familiar and loved."

~ Teacher

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