Walden

“Walden, a game, is a first person simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. The game begins in the summer of 1845 when Thoreau moved to the Pond and built his cabin there.” – Official Game Page

Video games encourage Indigenous cultural expression

“Video games are robust forms of creative expression merging design, code, art and sound. Unfortunately, many games misrepresent or appropriate from Indigenous communities by falling back on stereotypes or including cultural content without involving Indigenous people in the development process. But done right, games have the potential to be self-determined spaces, where Indigenous people (meaning First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Native American, Maori, Aboriginal and similar communities) can express themselves on their own terms.” – Elizabeth LaPensée

Empathy, Perspective & Complicity

“Whether walking in the shoes of a Sudanese villager, helping a Tutsi mother hide with her baby during the Rwandan genocide, or managing resources in a Nepalese village to fend of starvation, video games have become powerful embodied learning tools that produce empathy, understanding, and skill acquisition, all of which support an agenda of humane conflict resolution and sustainable development.”

Race, Gender, and Deviance in Xbox Live

“This book examines the nature of social interactions within Xbox Live, which are often riddled with deviant behavior, including but not limited to racism and sexism. The text situates video games within a hegemonic framework deploying whiteness and masculinity as the norm. The experiences of the marginalized bodies are situated within the framework of deviance as they fail to conform to the hegemonic norm and become victims of racism, sexism, and other types of harassment.” – Publisher

A psychologically “embedded” approach to designing games for prosocial causes

“This paper provides an in-depth exploration of two key Embedded Design strategies: (1) intermixing: combining “on-topic” and “off-topic” game content in order to make the focal message or theme less obvious and more accessible and (2) obfuscating: using game genres or framing devices that direct players’ attention or expectations away from the game’s true aims…” – Geoff Kaufman & Mary Flanagan

Gaming at the Edge

“Adrienne Shaw argues that video game players experience race, gender, and sexuality concurrently, revealing how representation comes to matter to participants and considering the high stakes in politics of representation debates. She finds new insight on the edge of media consumption with the invisible, marginalized gamers who are surprising in both their numbers and their influence in mainstream gamer culture.” – Publisher

The Pixelles Method

“There are no easy answers or shortcuts to changing a culture and increasing diversity, but we can do more than wait around and hope it happens naturally! Pixelles is a grassroots initiative founded in Montreal with the goal to increase the number of women making games, to great success thus far…Tanya, a Pixelles co-founder, will describe the steps they took to create both halves of the program, the lessons they learned, and the changes they see in gamer culture going forward.” – Tanya Short

Pixelles

“Pixelles is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering more women to make and change games, founded by Tanya Short and Rebecca Cohen-Palacios. Pixelles organizes free monthly workshops, a mentorship program for aspiring women-in-games, game jams, socials and more.” – Pixlelles

Dames Making Games

“Dames Making Games is a not-for-profit organization founded in Toronto in 2012. We run a wide range of programs and events for women, non-binary, gender nonconforming, trans and queer folks interested in games. We are member-run, arts-focused, technology positive, collaborative, engaged, and welcoming!”

10 Ways to Make Your Game More Diverse

Curator: Steve Wilcox Steve Wilcox is an assistant professor in the Game Design & Development program at Wilfrid Laurier University where he researches & creates knowledge translation games. He is also the co-founder & former editor-in-chief of First Person Scholar.