Wolf Administration Awards Funding to Projects Spurring Innovation, Supporting Pennsylvanians’ Mental Health

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin today announced that three projects have received funding through the Video Game Tax Credit program that will create jobs, support innovation, and help Pennsylvanians’ physical or mental health.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, states across the nation—including Pennsylvania—have turned their focus toward science, technology and innovation as way to provide entertainment, improve mental and physical health, and give us hope,” said Sec. Davin. “The investments announced today help accomplish all of those goals and will improve the lives of countless Pennsylvanians—through something as simple offering another activity while social distancing, to something as critical as improving the health and medical outcomes for patients with depression and dementia.”

The approved projects are as follows:

Allegheny County

Schell Games, LLC, was awarded $135,752 for the creation of Project Elevation, a virtual reality tele-rehab Depression Therapy experience. Players put together broken pieces of pottery while being talked through a cognitive reframing exercise. The goal is to improve disposition in those that are clinically depressed by approaching cognitive distortions they may have related to dislike of self, conflict with others, and conflict with the world. Common distortions are discussed and then turned around into more productive adaptations. Through the project, Schell Games will employ eight artists, four designers, six engineers, one producer, and one quality assurance professionals for a total of 20 staff members involved across the life of the project.

Schell Games, LLC, was also awarded $169,853 to create Project Sunrise, a virtual reality project that aims to help ease the symptoms of dementia. The high-level goal for patients who play Sunrise is to “turn a bad day into a good one” and the company aims to focus on the emotional component of dementia therapy. This will be accomplished by allowing players to relax and try activities they may have enjoyed in the past, while in an environment reminiscent of a relaxing vacation spot. The company will employ eight artists, four designers, five engineers, one producer, and one quality assurance professionals for a total of 20 staff members involved across the life of the project.

The Department of Community and Economic Development’s mission is to encourage the shared prosperity of all Pennsylvanians by supporting good stewardship and sustainable development initiatives across our commonwealth. With a keen eye toward diversity and inclusiveness, department staff act as advisors and advocates, providing strategic technical assistance, training, and financial resources to help Pennsylvania’s communities and industries flourish.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Casey Smith, DCED, casesmith@pa.gov

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