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 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.

The Dangerous Game

“Emma Vossen’s love of gaming started when she was a kid growing up in small-town Ontario. Now as a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo Games Institute, she looks to gamer culture as a microcosm of how sexism is seeded and replicated within broader society, and she draws connections between gamer culture and the rise of the political extreme right. This is the latest in our Ideas from the Trenches series, exploring the exciting insights of PhD students across the country.” – CBC Ideas

“The Door Problem”

“So what does a game designer do? Are you an artist? Do you design characters and write the story? Or no, wait, you’re a programmer?’ Game design is one of those nebulous terms to people outside the game industry that’s about as clear as the “astrophysicist” job title is to me. It’s also my job, so I find myself explaining what game design means to a lot of people from different backgrounds, some of whom don’t know anything about games.” – Liz England, “The Door Problem.”