Top Spot of the Week: McCann London, Director Alex Gorosh Engage In "Therapeutic Play" For Gamers Outreach, Xbox


Robert Goldrich
Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2022


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Gamers Outreach is partnering with Xbox and McCann London to present “Beyond Xbox: Therapeutic Play,” an initiative that aims to use gaming to help aid the recovery process for children who spend long periods of time in hospital.

Gamers Outreach supplies children’s hospitals with specially designed “GO Kart” systems (Gamers Outreach Karts) which enable patients to connect with friends and family through gaming. The bespoke “GO Karts” come complete with an Xbox console, screen, controllers and games--all integrated within an entertainment station that can be wheeled to hospital beds for patients to play.

Gamers Outreach founder Zach Wigal said, “Through the years, our programs have been a source of comfort and connection for kids and teens during treatment. Gaming enables activities and social connection in ways that can support the healing process. In many instances, we’ve seen games assist health workers during procedures. Video games can help lower fear by providing a distraction.  We want every hospital to be equipped to easily provide kids with their favorite activities. Our partnership with Xbox supports that effort to make gaming readily accessible.”

This documentary film entitled A Player Like Me, created by Xbox and McCann London, celebrates the power of connections in hospitals with the introduction of Jordan, a 14-year-old from Atlanta who is living with an extremely rare strain of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome--and has spent most of his childhood years in hospitals and physiotherapy. Jordan had never met anyone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome before, however, that all changed when he met Megan, who lives in Scotland, through gaming on Xbox.

Directed by Alex Gorosh of production house Hungry Man, the film showcases the friendship that Jordan and Megan forged through a gaming session. Despite the 3,935 miles between them, Megan has mentored Jordan and offered words of encouragement, advice and guidance while racing cars through the virtual world of Forza Horizon 5--an experience made possible through gaming.

“It was really nice to talk to someone who understands (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome),” Megan said. “It didn’t matter that Jordan and I had age differences or are in different countries, we could relate to each other’s experiences.”

“I was in shock when I found out that Megan had Ehlers-Danlos,” Jordan shared. “One thing I took away from talking with Megan is that if I have a passion to do something, I shouldn’t ignore it just because it seems impossible.”

Jamie Mietz, executive creative director at McCann London, said, “…the shared activity and nature of playing Xbox breaks down the initial barriers when meeting new people, and spending just a short period of time gaming and chatting to someone going through the same struggles as yourself can be extremely therapeutic.”

The film launched on Xbox social channels and the Gamers Outreach blog this week and aims to shine a light on children across the world who spend time in hospital--and how gaming can help act as an additional therapeutic tool whilst providing a way to play and connect with friends and family, inspiring joy in their lives.


Client Gamers Outreach, Xbox Agency McCann Laurence Thomson, Rob Doubal, chief creative officers, McCann UK, and co-presidents, McCann London; Jamie Mietz, Sanjiv Mistry, executive creative directors; James Crosby, William Cottam, creative directors; Jonathan Bender, strategy director. Production Agency (Craft) Ben Clark, chief production officer; Sophie Chapman Andrews, head of integrated production; Alec Christie, executive producer; Doug Wade, producer; Pedro Pinto, head of postproduction; Alex Blowers, post producer; Xavier Perkins, editor. Production Company Hungry Man Alex Gorosh, director; Bryan Buckley, Caleb Dewart, exec producers, U.S.; Matt Buels, exec producer, U.K.; Jack Beardsley, producer (U.K.); Sherra Fermino, producer (U.S.); Alex Gorosh, DP (U.S.); Theo Tennant, DP (U.K.); Sophie Campbell, production assistant U.K. Casting Real People Casting Lizzie Knowles Music Native UK ltd. Sound Design & Mix Gurdeep Singh Color Grade Company 3 Yoomin, colorist; Andy Williams, online editor.


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