ICYMI – I was interviewed about @INeedDivGms by the @chicagotribune!

I Need Diverse Games works to give minorities and women a louder voice in gaming

Amina Elahi Amina ElahiContact ReporterBlue Sky Innovation

An Xbox. Two PlayStations. A gaming PC. A Nintendo 3DS. These are the tools of a gamer’s kit, but this is no ordinary gamer. This is a gamer looking to shake up the system.

Tanya DePass is the director and founder of I Need Diverse Games, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to helping underrepresented people gain visibility and access in the gaming industry. She takes donations and partners with conferences to get free passes for minority and female attendees.

The diverse presence could benefit attendees individually — through education and networking opportunities — while also helping the larger gaming scene by introducing more and different voices into the conversation, said DePass, 43.

“I’ve been gaming for a long time. … I am tired of not seeing myself in this media,” she said. “Games are old enough to where we should be beyond the same scruffy white dude as the protagonist or tired racial stereotypes or tropes.”

Most of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization’s funding comes from donations through Patreon, though DePass ran a GoFundMe campaign earlier this month as a stopgap measure.

DePass, who previously worked at DePaul University and the Illinois Institute of Technology, started down this path in mid-2014 with a hashtag. She said she was up early and upset that Ubisoft, the maker of “Assassin’s Creed,” said it was too much work to animate women. (Later that year, the Gamergate controversy exploded online.) Her tweet gained traction and eventually led to a blog and speaking engagements and now the nonprofit, which she’s been running full-time since August.

I Need Diverse Games has given free passes or financial assistance to dozens of applicants, she said. DePass worked with the Game Developers Conference in 2016 and 2017 to get two batches of 25 all-access passes, worth about $1,600 apiece, through the conference’s scholarship program. She also secured three passes for Alterconf, which is coming to Chicago in June and focuses on inclusivity in tech and gaming. Two of those passes are already gone, she said.

DePass said it can be hard for some gamers to attend even conferences with lower price tags because the costs of travel and housing can be prohibitive. She said I Need Diverse Games sometimes gives beneficiaries $100 or so to help cover such costs.

She said the presence of non-white, non-male attendees at conferences is sometimes limited to diversity efforts or panels that end up focusing on how hard it is to be a woman in gaming rather than discussing that woman’s work. Instead, she wants to see underrepresented groups discussing trends and issues in the industry at large.

“If I walk into a room and I see the same … people on the same panel, it tells me you’re not trying,” DePass said. “There are plenty of non-white, non-dudes, queer people, non-binary, et cetera, that can talk about the same issues.”

The topics of conversation don’t have to change, but the voices involved should, she said.

DePass said most of the people she sees at gaming conferences or events are white men, but that she knows people with different identities who also have a passion for the industry.

Nearly half of American adults play video games, with about about one in 10 people considering themselves gamers, a Pew Research Center survey found in 2015. But overall, men were twice as likely as women to refer to themselves as gamers, and 60 percent of respondents thought most people who play video games are men.

Attitudes toward gaming also differed by race and ethnicity. Black respondents were more likely to have positive views about video games, compared to whites and Hispanics, according to Pew. But Hispanics as a group were most likely to call themselves gamers, and whites were the most likely to consider video games a waste of time, the report said.

Rejon Taylor-Foster, a 22-year-old year game developer and a senior at Becker College in Worchester, Mass., said he attended the Game Developers Conference this February for the first time with the help of I Need Diverse Games. He said DePass got him a pass, while the conference gave him a food stipend. Without that support, he said he wouldn’t have been able to attend.

“I was mostly interested in going because I wanted to learn,” he said. “With GDC I (could) go and meet the people that literally inspire who I’ve become over the years.”

He said attending the conference allowed him to connect with others in the industry, and to learn from them.

For aspiring developers without resources or support, going to conferences can give them the confidence to pursue work in that realm, he said. That, in turn, can affect the industry or surrounding culture.

“If you exist in the space, then you can kind of control that space and mold it for not only yourself, but others just like you,” he said. “With I Need Diverse Games, that’s definitely something they’re doing.”

Twitter @aminamania

My updated @C2E2 schedule!

The 2017 C2E2 schedule is finally live! So here’s an updated and accurate schedule of panels I’ll be on with links.

You Have Died From Exposure: The Importance Of Compensating Geeky Marginalized Creators

Jennifer Cross [M], Michi Trota, Suzanne Walker, Charlie Hawkins

April 21, 6:45 – 7:45 pm S405a

“Do It for the Exposure!” “Aren’t you just grateful to have this opportunity?” Too often, marginalized creators are thrown these adages as compensation for their hard work and creativity in lieu of financial redress like their privileged counterparts. We will be discussing the importance of equal compensation for equal work, the benefit of outreach, and how it’s led to opening the geek culture markets for creators & consumers who don’t look like or think in “mainstream”.

Behind The Parable And The Power: A Celebration Of The Black Women Creators Of The ‘Verse

Jennifer Cross [M], Mikki Kendall, Keidra Chaney

April 22, 4:15-5:15pm S405a

The ladies from A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey and More Than Warriors And Weather Witches are back! This year, we’re going to celebrate the black women behind the pages and productions of our favorite stories from the ‘Verse. We will laud the history of their influence, analyze how far we still need to go, and hopefully hear from the audience how their favorite black women creators have inspired them to pursue their own geeky paths.

How to Twitch safely as a POC/LGBTQIA/Female ID’d Streamer

Tanya DePass [M], LethalJugular and Coco_The_Louder

April 22, 5:15 – 6:15 pm, S503

Streaming on Twitch can be fun, but it can also be perilous for some of us. This panel will bring you some tips and tricks such as using bots, human mods and other methods to make your experience as stress free as possible.

Reblog, Retweet, Resist! Hashtag Movement and Fan Activism

Presented by Racebending.com with Gabriel Canada, Michi Trota, Mikki Kendall and me

April 22, 1:30 – 2:30 pm Room S405b

You reblog, retweet and resist! Social media has transformed pop culture fans into popular movements through fan activism and Hashtag campaigns

ICYMI, I shared my #WorldMentalHealthDay story

(originally pulled together over at Medium.com from a tweet thread)

It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay and I want to share something with y’all. Hopefully I won’t regret this. I have depression and anxiety. Ever since losing my day job, it’s gotten worse. The stress of keeping @INeedDivGms afloat hasn’t helped.

A few years ago, I was on the edge and contemplated suicide. Obviously I didn’t but I was at that point. I don’t talk about it a lot because…I feel that people don’t get it. It makes them uncomfortable and they deflect quickly. I’m also an introvert despite what some people think. Going to conventions and being “on”, around people is exhausting.

There are plenty of days where I struggle to get out of bed, where I try to find a reason to bother. Sometimes I don’t. Other times I get, dust myself off and keep going but it’s hard when it seems there’s a void following you everywhere you go.

Comic by Sylvie Reuter, on depression

I also don’t talk about this much because I’ve failed at therapy, twice now. Did meds once because I had anxiety attacks. Also lost a “friend” when I opened up about my own journey with therapy. Grew up with idea that it was “white folks shit”.

Which I know is bullshit, now. Growing up? Not so much. It took a lot to try therapy. First attempt was terrible, second wasn’t bad but I never connected with her or any therapist. I’m cynical and felt like I was paying for a fake friend not help.

So yeah things are not always bright and happy behind the curtain. It’s hard to talk about without wondering who’ll turn away, fear is real. Anyway, that’s my #WorldMentalHealthDay ramble. Know you’re not alone, you’re important and loved by someone. ❤

Why do we have abuse reporting on social media again?

[Post collated from some tweets originally posted on July 17th, 2016]

TW: Racial Slurs

So I reported the guy who followed me on YT and has a video titled Fuck Niggers uploaded. Only 1 of 2 that are on the page. This is what I got from YT Safety & Abuse. Who sees something wrong with this?

YT Useless response

Someone has a racial slur and hateful video on their site, another user follows proper channels to report and that’s the answer?  So tell me again why these sites have a report function of they aren’t doing anything with it? Average user reports, we get this BS.

If a celeb or someone who’s more well known or here’s the more likely factor; someone who makes them money complains? That channel would probably have been gone in hours. I make nothing from YouTube so there’s no impetus there.  I don’t get them revenue, so no impetus to actually assist. So nice to know that following proper channels gets you somewhere. Oh wait

Useless responses like this from sites Safety & Abuse department are jokes. I get the same bullshit type of reply on tumblr. They often add in the oh so useful, just don’t look! Like I went out looking for abuse to have in my in-box or reblogs. Usually on tumblr, Twitter and often YT harassers don’t follow then start in or the drive by one-offs are worse at times.

So the ‘advice’ of don’t look is kind of moot when I wasn’t following them to begin with. Big part of why I’ll never feel 100% safe. Considering the timestamp on the email from YT, a human probably didn’t look at my complaint. Or they set a timer for response email.TL;DR the system for reporting harassment and hate doesn’t work and actually it makes no difference.

So thanks for nothing YT.

Can y’all believe @OutOfTokensCast is almost a year old!

It’s been nearly a year since our little gaming podcast, Fresh Out of Tokens was released out in the wild for folks. For a show that started on a whim and a $50 mic, and Skype mp3 recorder, put together in 8 hours, we’ve done pretty good eh? So if you’ve enjoyed the show, have had a fond memory of an episode, if any guests have touched you or you have thoughts on how this first year has gone, send us a note at freshoutoftokens@gmail.com 

We’re pretty stoked to have Sammus on with us to celebrate the one year mark. So we hope you come along with us for another year, and enjoy the ride.

Our one year anniversary is coming up! Tell us what your favourite episodes are, or or who a favorite guest was. Email us at freshoutoftokens at gmail or @ us on twitter by 1 June.

Here’s our very first episode, released on 10 June 2015.

Prism Shells, Tres Witchers and E3 Predications! With Chris Algoo of Brooklyn Gamery as our first guest.

We’re also super, super excited to announce that our guest for our one year anniversary episode will be Sammus Music!



#TrekDePaul is this weekend!

I’ll be speaking on panel “Debating the Future: Otherness and Privilege in Star Trek” on Saturday, May 7th at DePaul’s Pop Culture Conference – A Celebration of Star Trek.

Join us at this free event for a full day of panels discussions, screenings, games, events, masquerade, music, comedy, and hear from our special Keynote Speaker Brannon Braga! And more!
This is open to the public! Visit www.mcsdepaul.com/a-celebration-of-star-trek.html

Contact: popcultureconference@gmail.com for more information!


Tanya is a long time gamer, fangirl, fan-ficcer and spawn point of the‪#‎INeedDiverseGames‬ hashtag. She enjoys talking, reading and writing about gaming diversity, feminism, race & racism, fandom as a way of life and many other topics. She often streams on twitch and podcasts over at Fresh Out of Tokens with David Reeves.‪#‎trekdepaul‬

Combo Birthday and Hitting 450+ followers on Twitch!

So, my birthday is next week omfg! It feels like it really snuck up on me this year because of all that is going on. So how to celebrate you might ask? Well I’m gonna do a relaxed, laid back stream of Dragon Age II. It’s my favorite game in the series and well, what better way to celebrate than with the fine folks of Kirkwall?


So birthday/reaching follower milestone shenanigans details!

When: Tuesday April 5th, 2016 11am CST – 5:00 pm CST

Where: twitch.tv/cypheroftyr

What: All the Dragon Age II feels you can shake a stick at

Anything else I should know?: There might be a few giveaways thanks to friends having spare Steam Keys from Humble Bundles, etc.



Do you want anything for your birthday? Well yes, it would be lovely to get stuff but that’s not the aim of the stream. Should you feel so inclined, you can drop a few coins in Paypal, or subscribe to my Gamewisp thinger. I’ve got an amazon wishlist too. Honestly what I really want is a 3DS XL and a couple of games or a RacerX chair. They aren’t cheap but damn if they are not comfortable. If I get it, that would be fab, if not, no big deal. Remember the point of the stream is not to get gifts but I won’t turn them away 😉

I don’t want to/can’t get you anything, but I want you to have a nice birthday: Honestly a tweet or a hello, happy birthday in the stream is enough. I’m not at a milestone birthday, and I’m not really fishing for gifts, I swear.

Ok I do want to get you something, but nothing on your list or I don’t know your steam name: I’m cypheroftyr pretty much everywhere. You can see a current list of my games library at cypheroftyr.com/getting-my-game-on 

Will you play a different game besides Dragon Age II, even if I ask nicely? No, my birthday stream, my rules, game of my choosing.

Can I be a mod? No sorry I am full up on human mods right now and Branebot/Twitch Alerts keep my stream humming along.

I’ve never been in your stream, do you have rules?

Yes, yes I do. Follow them or you’ll get bounced pretty quick. No fuckery is tolerated on the stream but I will really not have it on a special stream.


Some simple rules for making everyone’s experience here nice and fun! The channel is moderated, by myself and a few others.

1 – Profanity allowed, within reason

2 – No slurs, or hate of any kind, you get 1 time out, then the banhammer falls hard.

3 – No Backseat gaming! If I need/want help from those watching I’ll ask.

4 – No complaining that I’m not playing X game. If you want to watch a different game being played I’m sure someone is streaming it somewhere.

5 – Don’t spam the channel with promos for your channel. Again 1 timeout, then you’ll be banned

6 – Treat each other well in here. I want everyone to have fun and feel safe while watching me play.

Questions? Comments? Whisper during streaming or message me.

I have a question/comment you didn’t address here: Message me on twitter, or whisper during the stream.

.@sammusmusic’s new EP Infusion is so damned important

Watch Sammus Music’s video below, then come back to this tab. Trust me, I have reasons.


This song is …it’s so fucking important to me. It’s about getting therapy, and as a black woman hearing this from another black woman, it made me sob when I heard her sing this at GX3. I’ve struggled, hell I still struggle with a lot of issues and I was afraid, discouraged from seeking help by my mother for so long.

It wasn’t until some friends spoke openly about therapy did I even consider it and then it still took me years to take that step. I needed it, absolutely, positively and it made a difference. Granted it wasn’t the lay on the couch and tell me your problems BS that some people think therapy is; nor was it group disclosure of our issues and whatnot but it was there and I got the help I needed. To be honest, I need to go back to therapy but as of this writing I don’t have a day job or resources to get low cost or free sessions. [that was not an invitation to send me recommendations in comments. I’ll take that info from people I know well and when I ask for them thanks.]

I digress, this post is about the love I have for Sammus’ music, her artistry and her words. She’s so powerful and I’m so glad I found her music via a friends podcast and I’ve never looked back since.

Another song, released on the same day Infusion was released is Mighty Morphing.


I’m not one thing.
I’m not two things.
No, I’m not three things.
I’m not four thing.
I am more things than I’m reporting,
So let’s not force it because I might be morphing

This song, it encapsulates so much of what I have felt as someone who doesn’t fit a lot of stereotypes of black culture; I’m not what people ‘expect’ as it were. Whatever the fuck that means, I feel weird even typing that out because what people expect black women to be is never accurate. We’re all so varied, with different interests, experiences, and lives. Just this song got under my skin, and soothed my heart because I wish this song was around when I was younger, hell even five, ten years younger.

I’m so glad Sammus is here and that she’s getting the recognition she deserves. I’m glad she’s making music for girls and women like us who love games, anime, who prosper even when others try and tell us when we don’t belong in these spaces that we’ve always been in and will not leave.

Thank you for 1080p, Mighty Morphing, Motherbrain, and all the music you’ve gifted us with Sammus.

For those of you reading this, please support her work, so she can continue to grace us with her words and wisdom. So other girls and women can see in 1080p without years of static keeping their vision sharp.


So #PAXEast… I’ll be there for two panels

The lovely Ashley Barry invited me and a few other people to panel her on “How I got into Games Journalism” at PAXEast.

The panel will be at 11:30 am Saturday, April 23rd in the Bobcat Theatre.

Are you interested in writing about games or pop culture? Do you have a unique perspective? Do you want to see yourself represented in games? Join the writers from The Mary Sue and other pop culture sites for a riveting discussion on breaking into the niche field of games writing, dealing with constructive criticism, operating in the public sphere of digital publishing, tackling uncomfortable/controversial topics, and more.


Ashley Barry [Founder, Hyrule Hyrulia]
Tanya DePass [Founder, #INeedDiverseGames]
Jillian Gorry [Founder, FemHype]
Jessica Lachenal [Assistant Editor, The Mary Sue]

The second panel I’ll be on was proposed by Butterfly Samurai (her twitter handle)

“Diversity in Gaming: Equality For All!” on Saturday April 23rd at 7:30 pm in the Cuttlefish Theatre

Gaming is growing. As it grows, people from all walks of life are picking up controllers and joining social communities. Join I Need Diverse Games, Ablegamers, and GaymerX as they discuss creating safe spaces for gamers online and off. These brands are devoted to diversity in gaming whether it’s for Women of Color, the LGBT community, or gamers with disabilities. The panel is moderated by gaming professionals Butterfly Samurai and Vballinchick.

Panelists include:

Jessica Green [Founder/Editor in Chief, Butterflysamurai.com]
Steven Spohn [COO, Ablegamers ]
Tanya DePass [Founder/community manager, I Need Diverse Games]
Matt Conn [President , GaymerX]
Sarah Gordan [Moderator, N/a]

I’m going to be on The Geek Show! Videogames Edition 2/18/16!


…and it is VStheUNIVERSE with their hit variety show “The Geek Show!”

GeekShow VideoGame Edition

This month the VtU crew are celebrating everyone’s favorite pastime: Video Games!

Join VStheUNIVERSE as they welcome guests Tanya DePass from #INeedDiverseGames and local Robomodo studio developer Josh Tsui as they talk about the current gaming scene! VStheUNIVERSE will also be premiering a brand new video sketch, welcoming a vocal performance by Matt Payne, and giving away some great games from local developers!

As always, tickets are FREE! Show starts at 8PM but get there early to grab a seat and a drink from the bar!

—- VStheUNIVERSE includes:

Aaron J. Amendola
Chris Chapin
Sam Begich

—- and are joined by:

John Craig, Rachel Goffinet, Jessica Kent, & Jamie McCabe

Forced change is happening…

I got back to work from GX3 today to unpack my office, get everything settled and then was let go. I had no sense this was coming. After all who would be that low-down and dirty right? Well apparently my now former supervisor would be that’s who.


So I come to y’all humbly asking for help and support to do this work full time while I try to figure things out. I have a Patreon, well two really. One is to support my work as #INeedDiverseGames and the other is to support me, keep a roof over my head etc.

Right now I need far more support on my personal Patreon as I have no idea if I will get unemployment or have to fight for it. If I have to fight the state and former employer that could drag out for a while, or worst case scenario I’ll have to cash out my retirement well before I am ready to do so.

#INeedDiverseGames has become my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer after returning from GX3. Now I will be able to dedicate the time and resources it deserves from me. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat;etc I need to ideally pull in at least $1750 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month. I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.

Ideally I would need at least $2200 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:
Rent $925 a month
Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)
Pet costs ($125)
Groceries ($350)
Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)
INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

So if you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

My Updated @GaymerX Schedule

So my GX3 schedule has changed a little bit, so here it is in it’s final form. Changes noted in bold below

GaymerX – San Jose, CA December 11 – 13, 2015


Also something to note, there will be POC Safespace hours at GX3. Full details at the GX3 blog post!

Regarding interacting me with conventions:

Have one handy guide to interacting with me at conventions, totally 110% free of charge. 😛

Overall I am pretty friendly but I do not like strangers touching me, especially my hair. If you try to pet my hair or touch my locs without express permission or invitation it will not end well for you. So just don’t, especially if you like having fingers.

If we are tumblr/LJ/DW/twitter friends but have not met off-line, feel free to say hello and if you ask first I’ll likely give you a hug/want a hug. I’m actually quiet and introverted in off-line life so if you see me fleeing for a quiet space, it’s not  you I am just feeling overwhelmed and need some quiet time. I have a terrible memory so if we have met just once or twice at previous events I might not remember you immediately, please don’t be offended.

I like to take photos, but I will always ask permission before taking them and again before posting them on tumblr, twitter, Instagram, LJ/DW, flickr etc. I don’t mind being in photos, but ask me first before posting them online.

My badge name will be my full name, and I’ll probably add my twitter handle (@cypheroftyr) once I’m there. if you want to chat me up afterward, please ask.

I’ll have business cards with me if one of us needs to dash off after  a panel. Friday the 11th, I’ll be wearing a black #INeedDiverseGames tee and going forward I’ll be wearing some kind of gaming related tee, IDK yet.

Looking forward to seeing you all there! ❤

My @AlterConf Chicago talk is online

Well, my talk is up have a video of me talking about Why we Need Diverse Games

Why we Need Diverse Games by Tanya C DePass

A short talk on how the hashtag hit a nerve with the gaming community at just the right time, and continued on to become something tangible, something that people were interested in. Diversity in gaming is not a new topic, but the tag seemed to renew that interest.

This talk will cover the last few months of gaming news, diversity, where things seem to be headed, and conclude with what we can do to be better digital denizens of the gaming sphere.
TRIGGER/CONTENT WARNINGS: Possible discussion of GamerGate

I’m going to be on a panel at C2E2 this year!! So excited!

Thanks to the fabulous @ANerdCalledRage asking me to join her, I’ll be on this panel at this year’s C2E2:

Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey

Fri. April 24| 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM | Room S405b

This is no longer Heinlein’s Nerdom. The white-skinned, flowing haired Damsel in Distress is more likely to be the dark-skinned, kinky haired Reluctant Hero. The chiseled, blue-eyed avatar is more likely to have brown eyes and rounded features. As the Geekverse grows, so do representations of black women within it. Unfortunately, black women still face many barriers towards being accepted as “real nerds.” Our discussion will focus on the past, present and future of the black nerd girl and her place in the ‘Verse. This Panel is sponsored in part by the Chicago Nerd Social Club.

@ANerdCalledRage (Mod), @karnythia, @kdc, @karlyn_darlin & me! @cypheroftyr

Full Schedule is now live at C2E2’s website