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.
● 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
● Not making assumptions about another’s identity,
experiences, or preferred pronouns. Always allow
people to disclose only whatever information they wish
● Asking respectful questions if you do not understand or
are unfamiliar with a term someone is using to describe
● Being aware of your own privileged position(s), and
feeling comfortable having people politely tell you if you
are unintentionally acting insensitive to others.
1. Inclusive Design,
● Mary Flanagan
● Tilt Factor (http://www.tiltfactor.org/) - game
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
Settlers of Catan &
● Designers are responsible for the values in
the games that they make.
Buffalo - An Example
● Name-dropping game
● [Descriptor] + [Person]
● Let's play!
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.
● Apples to Apples/CAH model addressing
● We also generated a version of this in a
How to Inclusively Design
● More than theme/story/narrative --
● Set design goals and value goals (eg
● Develop rules and constraints which support
● Design for many play styles and subversion
● Playtest with diverse audiences
2. Who's at the Table?
● Moving on from Inclusive Design
● to Inclusive Play
● John Sharp
● Carolyn Jong
● Gabriela T. Richard
● Alison Harvey
Criticism is healthy.
● We need to be comfortable criticizing play.
● There is a larger culture within which games
● 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?
● The case of Jennifer Hepler
● Writer at Bioware
○ What's your least favorite thing about working in
○ 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.
● Foundation of backlash: "Games are for
● 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.
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.
● Environmental bias exists - power structures
around race, gender are replicated in play
● Harassment is meant to be exclusionary.
● Stereotype threat is real.
○ Activating negative stereotypes affects performance
of groups that stereotypically underachieve.
Focus: Latino Gamers
● Ongoing on adult male/female gamers of
● All had early intro to gaming
● Appeal of escapism/alternate identities in
● 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
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
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?
The Year in Gender
● Celia Pearce - Georgia IT
● "Kickstarting a Revolution, One Tweet at a
○ Anita Saarkesian
○ #1ReasonWhy -> #1ReasonToBe
○ Tomb Raider trailer http://youtu.be/yml1UGgX
Thanks for listening!