Final @PAX West schedule!

PAXWest

Here’s my final panel schedule for PAX West, which is next week! EEP!

If you don’t see me running around from panel to panel, then I’ll be at the I Need Diverse Games table in the Diversity Lounge.

Diversity Lounge PAX West

As always, have a handy, 100% free guide to interacting with me in meat space at conventions. https://cypheroftyr.com/cypherinteractionguide/ 

Friday September 2nd, 12:30 pm Sasquatch Theatre

Ask the Game Masters

Tell incredible stories. Host amazing games. Strike fear in the hearts of players. Veteran game professionals Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games), Amanda Hamon-Kunz (Pathfinder RPG), Ryan Macklin (Dresden Files, Fate), Rodney Thompson (Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars Saga Edition), and F. Wesley Schneider (Pathfinder RPG) answer all your tabletop roleplaying game questions and share tips for taking your game to the next level.

Panelists include:

  • F. Wesley Schneider [Editor-in-Chief, Paizo Inc]
  • Amanda Hamon-Kunz [Developer, Paizo Inc]
  • Tanya DePass [Creator, I Need Diverse Games]
  • Rodney Thompson [Senior Designer, Bungie]
  • Ryan Macklin [Indie Creator, The Ryan Macklin]

 

Friday, September 2nd 4:30 pm Chipmunk Theatre

Challenging Assumptions about Diversity with Data

Gaming has a problem with being inclusive and with diversity. While industry is working on it, discussion can generate an ideological divide. We will start to move beyond this with good, hard data: demographics, how often people have unwelcoming experiences, what impacts that has, and how people have made change. We will involve the audience to check our collective assumptions and see what quantitative empirical evidence says about diversity in gaming and about how to improve inclusivity.

Panelists include:

  • Tanya DePass [Founder, INeedDiverseGames]
  • Trevor Murdock [Founder, Planeswalkers for Diversity]
  • Glenn White [Director of Marketing Infrastructure , EA Games]
  • Matt Baume [Host, Sewers of Paris Podcast]
  • Aurora Walker [Instructor, Ladies Learning Code]
  • Cherisse Miranda

 

Friday September 2nd 7:30 pm Sphinx Theatre

Get your politics out of our games!

We think of video games as an escape from political campaigns and presidential elections, but games have a long history of reflecting the world around us. Come join Aevee Bee (ZEAL), Austin Walker (Giant Bomb), Katie Williams (PC Gamer) Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games, Fresh Out Of Tokens), and Zach Alexander (Games and Food) as we discuss the history and future of politics in games.

Panelists include:

  • Tanya DePass [Freelance critic and diversity consultant, #INeedDiverseGames]
  • Austin Walker [Editor, Giant Bomb]
  • Aevee Bee [Editor-In-Chief, ZEAL]
  • Katie Williams [Freelance Journalist, Critic]
  • Zachary Alexander [N/A, N/A]

 

Friday, September 2nd 9:30 pm Chicken Theatre

Sexy or Stupid? The Great Video Game Sex Scene Debate – NSFW Content, 18+ PANEL

Sensual, smutty, or silly? Video game sex scenes are often one or the other… or even all three! Come join a group of game industry professionals as they dim the lights, play some smooth jazz, and offer their expert critique on a few of gaming’s more explicit moments. Then cast your vote for what’s hot and what’s not! DISCLAIMER: actual panel may not involve dim lights or smooth jazz. (Want something a bit more innocent? Check out our companion panel on romance scenes in games)
Panelists:

  • Michelle Clough [Co-Founder, Writer, Editor, IGDA Romance and Sexuality SIG]
  • Chris Avellone [Writer, Designer, Freelance]
  • AJ Glasser [n/a, Facebook]
  • Tanya DePass [Founder, Community Organizer, I Need Diverse Games]
  • Matt Baume [Writer, Filmmaker, Freelance]

 

Saturday, September 2nd 2:00 pm Hippogriff Theatre

Making and Promoting Non-Traditional Characters in Games

Games are finally starting to reflect their diverse players with more types of characters, scenarios, and approaches to gameplay. Whether it’s writing a one-eyed pansexual bull and his trans lieutenant; featuring non-white main characters; showcasing the female option in marketing; creating an entire cast caught in a web of gender, sexuality, and ability; acquiring unusual indie titles; or keeping the conversation going; it’s crucial. Hear from those who did it and how they’ll do it again.

Panelists:

  • Patrick Weekes [Lead Writer, BioWare]
  • Hilary Heskett Shapiro [Sr. Brand Manager, Bethesda Softworks]
  • Miellyn Fitzwater Barrows [Creative Director, Gorgeous Robot]
  • Arden Ripley [Writer/Developer, Date or Die]
  • Steve Gee [Senior Manager, Developer Relations, Adult Swim Games]
  • Tanya DePass [Freelance critic and diversity consultant, #INeedDiverseGames]

 

Sunday September 4th, 4:00 pm Chipmunk Theatre

Git Gud, Ally

Ever wonder how to create and play games your way and still be an awesome ally? Is this even a thing? In this panel, we discuss the awesomeness that is our gaming community and unpack what it means to make it inclusive. What are we doing well and where do we need work? We’ll look at these questions and how it benefits everyone. To follow with a #realtalk Q&A.

Panelists:

  • Tanya DePass [Freelance critic and diversity consultant, #INeedDiverseGames]
  • Kathryn Storm [Interaction Designer, Xbox]
  • Bryce Johnson [Interaction Designer, Microsoft]
  • John Porter [PhD candidate, Human Centered Design and Engineering, UW, UW]

ICYMI – I got to interview @tanyaxshort for @ViceGaming about Moon Hunters

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When I first played Kitfox Games’s Moon Hunters, it reminded me of the 16-bit games I’d grown up with, RPGs where you had to run for your life from wildlife, or duck into caves to find treasure, or save up to buy the best weapon in the game.

But while I loved RPGs from a young age, characters who looked like me didn’t exist. If I was lucky, I might get a NPC that was a sort of ambiguous, video-game brown—not explicitly black but (probably) not white. Unlike those games of my youth, though, Moon Hunters has both playable characters and NPC’s that are unmistakably people of color. Best of all, there’s no exoticization or fetishization of these characters, and no unnecessary explanation for why they’re there. They just are.

That prompted me to ask developer Tanya X. Short a few questions about the game’s diversity, guiding mythology and the reaction it received from the gaming community.

VICE: So you can choose from four different character classes at the start of Moon Hunters. My first time playing through the game, I chose the Witch, and was happy to find that she was a woman of color. I did have a moment when I thought, Why is the witch a WOC, why are we always the exotic or the mystic? But her character is well done, clothed pragmatically, has an interesting backstory that fits with the mythology you build up as you play. Did you have any concerns with how her character could be received since she’s a witch and uses blood magic?

Tanya X. Short: We were briefly concerned about fundamentalists being upset about a few things [like blood magic] in the game, but we figured we could probably handle a little criticism on that front. After all, we at least tried to be inspired by aspects of of ancient Assyrian and Sumerian traditions—we weren’t literally glorifying demon-worship and necromancy, unlike, say, Diablo. There are a few themes you could say were not just pre-Biblical but maybe even anti-biblical, but they’re fairly subtle and (I like to think) reasoned.

I did worry about the Witch (since she’s a woman of color) being perceived as some kind of throwback stereotype of a vodun priestess or something, but we didn’t really have to change much about her, honestly—she was always a spear-wielding, defined character in her own right, not a reference or callback. It probably helps that she’s not the only person of color around.

Read the rest over at Vice.com 

Oops, never shared my Podcast Movement thoughts, here you go

I posted this for my Patrons a while ago but never cross posted this here. Since it came up on a podcasting panel I did recently, I was reminded to post it publicly. Enjoy!

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So I attended Podcast Movement in Chicago last week and it was … a thing. I only went because they had a payment plan for registration and it was in my city. I can tell you that I wouldn’t travel for this convention and I definitely would not pay what they ask for registration costs.

It wasn’t that the session titles were bad, but for the money (I got the early bird rate but it was still over $300) there weren’t a lot of vendors, some of the panels/talks were not so hot. There was one that was a thinly veiled pitch for the speakers services, but it wasn’t anything I didn’t know.

I mean, maybe some people need common sense before they need lessons on how to be a good podcast guest, but the ‘advice’ she was giving was very 101, like promote the episode when it airs, talk up the show you’re going to be on, come prepared to record, make sure you give the hosts your full attention!

Who doesn’t know such basic stuff? The thing that baffled me the most by her talk was the advice of go write a book to be a podcast guest. I repeat, her advice was go write a book to be on a podcast. That just kind of made me want to walk out. Yes, let’s spend time writing books to be on a podcast.

Let’s be honest, getting to guest on a podcast is not like being on a network tv show or likely something that will make or break your career. Yeah it’s cool, it’s fun but let’s be real here. There are very few shows with enough reach to make you better known.

The other thing that bugged me was that a lot of the ‘experts’ on these panels or giving talks were folks who have corporate backing or had money to spare and acted as if they had such a damn hard time getting where they are. There was no practical advice for small podcasters really.

Just mostly white dudes and white women talking about their corporate sponsored shows that struggled oh-so-much. There was only one diversity panel, and it was almost derailed by the first audience question, or I should say rant. One of the panelists made the very salient point that ok, we’re having this panel and what then?

It was refreshing to hear that from someone on a diversity panel, but the audience member who came back to that point for his ‘question’ went on a whole other level with his ranting about how it means nothing in the end. So that happened😐

Bad panels, talks and lack of representation aside there were some cool things about going. I got to meet Godfrey of Gamertag Radio, see Cicero H of Spawn on Me again and meet a lot of other cool podcasters. There was good networking to be had and that has some value but not $300+ worth IMHO.

So yeah, if I could ever get a speaker gig (HAHAHAHA) for this and it comes back to Chicago, I may return to it once it’s grown into itself more. For a three year old convention it was slick and pretty but very, very shallow at the end of two and a half days.

I’ll be at @BitBashChicago and #ChiNerdFest this weekend!

I’ll be around Bit Bash Chicago as a volunteer on Saturday, August 13th! If you haven’t gotten a ticket yet you can snip $5 off with code INeedDiverseGames5 when you buy a ticket online.

BitBash

Learn more at BitBashChicago.com

2016’s event includes a selection of games created by Chicago developers, games dealing with socially relevant issues, and a selection of games that deal with often taboo topics for the 18+ audience. We’ve also got C418 (Minecraft) and Chipzel (Super Hexagon) as part of our amazing music line up.

You can check out the full list of games here: bitbashchicago.com, and also feel free to watch our trailer for a taste of the festival: https://vimeo.com/173723080

Sunday, August 14th, I’ll be at #ChiNerdFest for the first time!

Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival

Come see me talk about podcasting, I’ll talk up Fresh Out of Tokens & podcasting 101 along with Aaron Amendola of the Geek Show, James D’Amato of One Shot RPG and Cody Melcher of Tomefoolery at 5pm, Theatre 773

You should come earlier for the great comedy and other panels going on with some really cool folks that I recommend you see on stage. Best of all? These are free panels, so come on through, get some good information and see awesome folks.

4:00-5:00 pm LGBTQ+ in Nerd Culture & Media Panel moderated by Cody Melcher – Jackson Bird, Brittany Meyer, Devon Maggie
6:00-7:00 pm Building Communities moderated by Jackson Bird – Matt Peters, Michi Trota, Tamara Lynn Chambers

Announcement: I’ve joined @GenieCast!

I’ve been doing more and more consulting about Diversity issues, Podcasting and other topics; now you can sign up and get that content via GenieCast! Announcement/press release below.

Professional speaker and author, Tanya DePass has joined the Geniecast marketplace to deliver Diversity Consulting & Podcasting expertise to global audiences. Geniecast is the world’s largest online marketplace of thought leaders, speakers, experts and consultants, all available via live, two-way video broadcast.

The Geniecast marketplace has almost 1,000 different programs led by more than 800 “Genies” who are experts in a variety of topics ranging from customer service and business best practices to leadership and other trending industry topics. Genies include individuals who are members of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame and speakers who were named to Inc.com’s list of Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference. Former Yahoo! Executive Tim Sanders, sales guru Jack Daly and New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner are among the Genies available on Geniecast.com. With Geniecast, education, board meetings and business development become more affordable and accessible.

Tanya is offering several programs on Geniecast including: Why Diversity Done Right is Important to your Clients and Podcasting 101 Learn more at Geniecast.com

About Tanya DePass

Tanya DePass is a lifelong Chicagoan who loves everything about gaming, #INeedDiverseGames spawn point, and wants to make it better and more inclusive for everyone. She’s the Founder and EIC of @OutofTokensCast, the Diversity Liaison for GaymerX and often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality & other topics at conventions.

The mission and purpose of her community, I Need Diverse Games:

-Provide a safe space for gamers of color and of any other marginalized identities (including race, gender, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, disability etc)

-Provide a safe space to promote the work of creators in the gaming industry, including journalists, developers, artists that are marginalized and would otherwise go unheard.

-To encourage and defend diversity in all forms of gaming, and most importantly, make sure it is done right by creating conversations that invite both critique and praise for the art of gaming.

 

ICYMI – We had @GeekMelange stop in for a visit!

outoftokenscast

We discuss Uncanny & Unbelievable X-Factor of GeekMelange, along with representation or the lack of it, conventions and fire spinning among other things.

Listen on Fresh Out of Tokens // Download the MP3

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We have tees, and other items in the #INeedDiverseGames spreadshirt shop. We’re splitting the profits 50/50 with @Chachibobinks. There’s a blog to compliment the show! Follow us at outoftokenscast.com If you have questions, compliments, hate mail feel free to drop a note there as well. You can also @ us on twitter; @OutOfTokensCast or email us freshoutoftokens@gmail.com.

Musical accompaniment for Fresh Out of Tokens is provided by Mike Moody. You can hear more of her work at: http://soundcloud.com/mikemoody-1

Questions for Michi:

@ShareefJackson: Asian American issues tend to be downplayed in national conversation. What can we do as allies to help give these issues the attention they need?

@GuerricHache: As a Filipina, how to…

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