It might seem like a foolish or vain thing to some, but I want to have an impact on the games industry and culture. I want to make a difference in the industry that I work in and I want to leave some imprint on the games I work on.
I’ve tried indifference a couple of times, but it never works, not even in games I couldn’t care less about. I get pulled in. I start discussions around culture, gender and ethnicity even if those discussions in the larger scheme of things lead nowhere and sometimes seem to get me in trouble.
I believe our industry could and should be better. I believe we can make it happen. But we need to act, and it is not enough that only marginalized employees act. We need help from the people in power.
The problem – for me – is that my patience has run out. After 20+ years with the same attitudes from the people in charge, it is getting really difficult to not sound like a crazed radical and put the blame where it belongs – on all the dudes who made us end up here. You can, and some of you most certainly will, argue that without all the dudes there wouldn’t be a games industry. You would probably be right, but mostly because women still have a much harder time finding funding for companies than men.
I will also counter by saying that we wouldn’t have the games industry we have today, meaning male dominated stories, violence as the go to conflict resolution tool and games that repeat over and over and over again.
The way the industry works, the way content is being made and the type of content made is all very male dominated as well. What if we had spent just as much research on procedurally generated stories as we did on physics and graphics engines? What if the focus hadn’t been on violence as the main conflict resolution? Where would we be? What stories could we tell?
Technology and science is focusing so hard on men that we forget they are not the sole inhabitants of this earth. If we look at media and games it seems like it, though. It seems as if we are very limited in what we allow and how we allow it.
As Chris Crawford said in his book The Art of Interactive Design, there are only so many ways you can eviscerate an opponent before it becomes boring. Violence is boring. It is predictable and it is honestly not such a kick anymore.
Relationships on the other hand, are interesting. Multifaceted and varied. There are a thousand ways to say “I love you”, after all. This is why I want to make a difference. It is my way of saying “I love you” to games.