Game Design Journal XXIX: Collaboration

I received a comment from the always brilliant CypherofTyr (creator of #INeedDiverseGames) that I felt was in need of a full post of its own.

She asked:

For writing the WOC protag, are you consulting with anyone on writing her?

Of course, as Matt Damon recently demonstrated, it is not a good idea for white folks to explain to people of color what diversity is or how it should work.  This is especially important for white feminists.  Sometimes being a good ally means listening to others.  Sometimes it means letting someone else take the drivers’ seat on a particular project.

My newest game idea is not far enough along yet, I think, to begin this kind of collaboration/consultation.  I want to have more to show anyone who wants to work with me than a notepad with some scribbled notes.  But I would definitely love to collaborate with others on planning scenarios, writing dialogue, developing assets, even programming.

Ideally, some of my students here at Stephen F. Austin State University could be involved.

In the meantime, here are some of the questions that have been floating around in my head.  If you have some ideas, feel free to share in the comments!

  • What are some of the tropes regarding women of color in fantasy and sci fi that you would like to see skewered?
  • What kinds of problematic “allies” have you encountered in fandom and how would you like to see them represented in the game?
  • Anna Anthropy recently came out against the idea that video games can teach us “empathy” because they teach us to think of the experiences of oppression as things that we can “have” and then put away, like a kind of identity tourism.  Do you agree?  Is it possible to avoid such simplistic ideas while still encouraging players to feel for/with characters that are different from themselves?
  • What kind of collaborative relationships have you experienced in the past?  What kinds of structures were in place to make them productive (or what types of issues caused it to descend into chaos)?

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