Gaming is growing by leaps and bounds, and as it does so, it is becoming more diverse and inclusive. While this growing market presents designers and writers with opportunity, it also presents challenges. Writing unfamiliar settings and characters can be a challenge to good writing and good design. British writers attempting to sound American immediately comes to mind as an example of the difficulty of writing the other. And witness the difficulty of Hollywood actors trying to properly do a Boston accent for a mainstream example.
Despite these challenges, writing inclusive games is worth it because it presents an economic opportunity to expand your game’s player base. But how do you respectfully write your game about Japanese-Americans in 1940s internment camps secretly building mecha if you’re a white male born in 1995? It does present difficulties of imagination and representation.
Game design maven Monica Valentinelli, wanting to support the desire to create more inclusive and representative games created a solution for such a conundrum. Valentinelli is teaching an online class entitled “Writing Inclusive Games: Writing the Other Sans Fail” which will teach how to write games which reach out in terms of setting, game design, and character while helping creators realize how to do so respectfully. The class aims to teach writers who are, “Worried they’ll present a character wrong, offend players for their effort, get harassed or be fired for speaking up, some game writers opt to take the safe route instead.”
Valentinelli was a GenCon Guest of Honor in 2016, and has worked on role-playing games for Onyx Path Publishing, Margaret Weis Games, Steve Jackson Games, and Crafty Games.
Looking to expand the audience for your game by including women, minorities, but leery of zigging when you should have zagged? Then “Writing Inclusive Games” is for you.
What are your favorite examples of games with diversity? Let us know in the comments!
Blog Image Credit: Monica Valentinelli (BooksOfM)