Indie 404 Ink has landed a part-memoir, part-investigation of how video games can positively impact mental health from journalist Joe Donnelly.

Donnelly turned to gaming after the tragic loss of his uncle, and came to write Checkpoint: How video games power up minds, kick ass, and save lives following his own experiences of navigating depression.

404 Ink acquired world rights directly from the author following a pitch during its open submissions window. The book will be published on 14th May as its lead non-fiction title for 2020.

The synopsis explains: “Checkpoint reflects on the comforting and healing effect that entering into new digital worlds and narratives can have, both personally and on a wider scale. There are thousands of eye-opening games exploring human complexities overtly and subtly, waiting to comfort players old and new. Through exclusive, in-depth interviews with video game developers, health professionals, charities and gamers alike, Joe makes the case for the vital value of gaming culture and why we should be more open-minded and willing to pick up a controller – if not for fun, for the well-being of ourselves and loved ones.”

Donnelly is a Glaswegian journalist, writer, video games enthusiast and mental health advocate. He has written about both subjects’ intersections for the Guardian, New Statesman, Vice, PC Gamer and more.

He said: “From ‘Lemmings’ in the late ‘80s, to ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ and ‘Fortnite’ today, my relationship with video games spans decades and runs deep. So deep that I swapped a career in plumbing (once evoking my inner-Super Mario) to write about games. When my uncle took his own life in 2008, I turned to video games a means of escapism and as a learning tool. With Checkpoint, I’m delighted to explore the myriad ways video games teach and inform about mental health, against my own mental health journey, and am honoured to be doing so with 404 Ink.” 

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Publisher Laura Jones said: “I’ve been itching to have 404 Ink publish a book in and around the world of video games since we established and I couldn’t be more pleased that Checkpoint will be our first title that celebrates the undeniable value of video games in, obviously, entertainment, but more crucially, in mental health. Joe has first-hand experience in the healing effect gaming can have on serious mental illness and is writing the most approachable and down to earth book that will undoubtedly open more minds to the wonderful world of video games.”



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