I’ve been in the games industry since 2001. 2000 if you count the year I did my master’s thesis at a games company. My entire working life I’ve spent here, working and debating, trying to improve our experiences as marginalized individuals. Not always officially, but always on a personal level, as a leader1 and as a fellow human being.
When news breaks at large studios that people like us are mistreated, set aside, that our complaints are ignored, not just once, but repeatedly, it’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to be sad.
It’s okay to say that it’s not okay. There’s a collective trauma working in the background here. We all know this could happen to us at any time. It could happen to our colleagues, fighting for us. It could happen to people we know at other companies, and every time it does, it reinforces how unsafe we ourselves are. The more marginalized you are, the more likely it is that it might happen to you if you decide to stand up for yourself or others. The only way we’re allowed to stay and stay safely is if we agree to not rock the boat, to play along and to pretend we’re fundamentally okay being treated with “good natured” sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, biases, and other subtle acts of exclusion.
I think we all know that type of treatment is absolutely exhausting.
My point is, it’s okay to be disappointed in that this industry is an absolute and total mess.
Despite everything I believe that the industry IS changing. If not because it wants to improve, but because all these subtle (and not so subtle) acts of exclusion is making it harder to hire good people. Ultimately the industry is losing money.
We need it to be better than this. It needs to be better than this. Maybe threats to the bottom line is the best way to do it?