Different Games 2013 - Four Takeaways


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Internal Sifteo presentation recapping the 2013 DIfferent Games conference that took place in Brooklyn, NY in April 2013.

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Different Games 2013 - Four Takeaways

  1. 1. Different Games four takeaways
  2. 2. What was this? ● Two-day conference on diversity and inclusiveness in digital games, April 26-27 ● "Different Games is a space for radical discussions of representation in games and the relationship of the medium to designer and player identity." ● Robin went.
  3. 3. Four Takeaways ● How inclusive design can address values and affect social change ● How players play is important ● Designing from personal perspective leads to deeper empathy ● The inclusivity movement is here to stay
  4. 4. But first...
  5. 5. Inclusivity Statement ● Not making assumptions about another’s identity, experiences, or preferred pronouns. Always allow people to disclose only whatever information they wish to disclose. ● Asking respectful questions if you do not understand or are unfamiliar with a term someone is using to describe their experience. ● Being aware of your own privileged position(s), and feeling comfortable having people politely tell you if you are unintentionally acting insensitive to others. ● http://www.differentgames.org/about/inclusivity- statement/
  6. 6. 1. Inclusive Design, Revolutionary Games ● Mary Flanagan ● Tilt Factor (http://www.tiltfactor.org/) - game research
  7. 7. What is Inclusive Design? ● Play as introspective experience. ● How can we use games to deconstruct social structures that privilege some at the expense of others? ● Games made in the context of these structures that don't question them
  8. 8. Settlers of Catan & Colonialism ● Designers are responsible for the values in the games that they make.
  9. 9. Buffalo - An Example ● Name-dropping game ● [Descriptor] + [Person] ● Let's play!
  10. 10. Social Identity Complexity ● Game reflects on internalized stereotypes ● "Woman" "Scientist" always prompts... ● while "Hispanic" "Lawyer" may take a second to remember... ● Playing the game causes a significant shift in players for measures of non-prejudice for a brief period.
  11. 11. Example: Awkward Moment ● Apples to Apples/CAH model addressing social biases/reactions ● We also generated a version of this in a workshop. :)
  12. 12. How to Inclusively Design ● More than theme/story/narrative -- ● Set design goals and value goals (eg empowerment, diversity) ● Develop rules and constraints which support values ● Design for many play styles and subversion ● Playtest with diverse audiences
  13. 13. 2. Who's at the Table? ● Moving on from Inclusive Design ● to Inclusive Play ● John Sharp ● Carolyn Jong ● Gabriela T. Richard ● Alison Harvey
  14. 14. Criticism is healthy. ● We need to be comfortable criticizing play. ● There is a larger culture within which games operate. ● Right now we assume people who study games also want to make them. ● Games started as a connector, veered towards commercial in last decades. ● The more diversity in play, the more we open it back up. ● Play is important to life! So how do we play?
  15. 15. Marginalized Players ● The case of Jennifer Hepler ● Writer at Bioware ○ What's your least favorite thing about working in the industry? ○ Playing the games. This is probably a terrible thing to admit, but it has definitely been the single most difficult thing for me. I came into the job out of a love of writing, not a love of playing games.
  16. 16. STFU n00b ● Foundation of backlash: "Games are for gamers." ● But what does this mean? ● Guarding privilege - drawing a line between those who HAVE and those who have NOT. ● Social structures limit ability for everyone to engage on an equal level. ○ Those with less time, less money to devote cannot rise up this hierarchy.
  17. 17. Social Contextual Support > Gender Differences ● Gabriela T. Richard ● Games and equity research primarily focused on gender differences from 1980s up to now. ● Led to the "girl games" movement ○ Criticism: focus on gender binaries, pandering to stereotyped feminine interests, extrapolating "girls" interests to women.
  18. 18. Contemporary Research ● Environmental bias exists - power structures around race, gender are replicated in play patterns. ● Harassment is meant to be exclusionary. ● Stereotype threat is real. ○ Activating negative stereotypes affects performance of groups that stereotypically underachieve.
  19. 19. Focus: Latino Gamers ● Ongoing on adult male/female gamers of Latino ethnicity. ● All had early intro to gaming ● Appeal of escapism/alternate identities in games. ● Commonality in needing to "get used to" harassment in online games ○ Women primarily harassed about gender ○ Men primarily harassed about ethnicity ○ Both groups silenced, marginalized, limited participation.
  20. 20. Inclusivity for Children ● Alison Harvey, UToronto ● Accessibility for children with disabilities ○ Allow innovative sensory inputs, enable radical customization if necessary ○ Provide shared platform for collaboration, networked, shared play ○ Provide opp for creative expression, informal learning and autonomous play ○ Challenge traditional patterns of adult production/childhood consumption
  21. 21. Difference in Design ● Mattie Brice ● We see systems in life and don't view them as problems to be solved. ● We focus on the object (game) almost exclusively. What about the space between the object and the player? ● Iterative design harms the personal. ○ Designing for player experience only means that the player is never pushed or resisted. ● Who are we preventing from designing?
  22. 22. The Year in Gender ● Celia Pearce - Georgia IT ● "Kickstarting a Revolution, One Tweet at a Time" ○ Anita Saarkesian ○ #1ReasonWhy -> #1ReasonToBe ○ Tomb Raider trailer http://youtu.be/yml1UGgX
  23. 23. Steps Forward ● http://wecommit.tumblr.com/ ● http://be-the-solution.tumblr.com/ Thanks for listening!