It’s been more than a year since the world was thrust into the throws of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re still feeling the effects of it now. Take This, a non-profit organization designed to decrease the stigma around mental health in games, has stated it would not be attending PAX West 2021 in-person, instead, the company will offer its AFK Room in an online setting via Discord.
The news comes way of an official statement on the Take This site on July 14, 2021. In the announcement, Take This outlines the steps it took to reach the decision not to attend in-person.
After careful consideration of the present state of the COVID-19 pandemic, consultation with our Board of Directors, numerous volunteers, as well as conversations with public health officials and researchers, we came to the conclusion that we could not provide an acceptable level of service in the AFK Room and still ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, and attendees.
Typically, Take This runs something called an AFK Room at PAX events. This room is designed to give attendees a place to mentally relax away from the hustle and bustle of PAX. The company is known for its consideration to mental health and self-care, so this special room will no doubt be missed at the in-person event.
While Take This won’t be there in-person, the announcement goes on to state its presence will still be felt at PAX in the form of AFKOnline via the Take This Discord server. This is certainly the safest option, especially given – as the statement points out – fewer than 60% of adults in the US are fully vaccinated and the infection rate is rising again.
If you haven’t already, take a look at our interview with Take This. Ozzie Mejia sat down to discuss the effects COVID-19 has had on people over the year of quarantines and lockdowns. In it, Eve Crevoshay, Take This Executive Director, helps us unpack the life-changing event we’re all living through while also touching on the misnomer that is "gaming addiction".
Taking care of staff, volunteers, and attendees should always be the top priority of event runners. It’s great to see organizations such as Take This making the tough decisions to ensure people remain vigilant when it’s almost too easy to become lax. How are you feeling about large, in-person events like PAX? Let us know in the Chatty thread below. And for the latest on gaming events, keep it locked to Shacknews.