Woot! @GXAustralia videos are up!

This year all the panels at GX Australia were recorded! Now they’re all up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.  Footage is uploaded into six playlists; one for each panel room on each day. The schedule from the weekend is here in case you’re trying to look up a specific panel.

Day 1 (Auditorium)

Day 1 (Big Ant Panel Room)

Day 1 (Developer Panel Room)

Day 2 (Auditorium)

Day 2 (Big Ant Panel Room)

Day 2 (Developer Panel Room)

Here’s the panels I was on and my Boss of Honor Talk (video is linked on the title)

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER. — SELF-CARE TIPS FOR DIVERSE PEEPS
Emilie Poissenot Wren Brier Snow McNally Tanya DePass Dameyon Bonson

As part of an underrepresented group in the games industry, our careers are harder than the norm. Our actions and words may be used as a blanket representation of our whole group. The knowledge of biases against us can lead to increased self-doubt and distrust of our coworkers. All these experiences take their toll on our well-being. How can we get better at recognizing these side-effects and alleviating them faster? The panelists discuss experiences and tips that have helped them get stronger to broaden your own set of tools for similar situations.

BUILDING BETTER GAMERS
Ashton McAllan, Tanya DePass, Dr. Jennifer Hazel, Alayna Cole, Adam Koebel & Mavis Chan

Can games be used to build better gamers? Can game design improve the outlooks and behaviours of the people that play them? Can we utilise this power to make our gaming spaces and communities safer and more inclusive? Come along and see our panelists discuss who is already doing this in their games, what they are actually doing, and how we can work this kind of magic in our own games.

DIVERSITY 404: WHAT NEXT? (PRESENTED BY THE IGDA FOUNDATION)  

Tanya DePass,Felix Kramer, Katherine Cross & Rami Ismail

Diversity and inclusion is at a crossroads, with lots of performative diversity and well-intentioned-yet-ineffective strategies being touted as the Big Thing. But where are we, really? And what’s next?

My Boss of Honor talk! ❤  WHY A CUSTOMISABLE CHARACTER ISN’T DIVERSITY (PRESENTED BY THE IGDA FOUNDATION)
Tanya DePass


One of the responses that calls for better representation is often, you can customize your character in GAME! Well that’s not actually diversity, nor inclusion or an acceptable response to not thinking about inclusion in the first place. Through examples, and discussion let’s dispel this notion that customization characters = diversity.

DESTROYING TROPES AND STEREOTYPES IN GAMES
Tanya DePass, Lee Flores, Adam Koebel & Ken Wong

A look at the harm that using stereotypes and tropes does to games narratives, and why they need to be stopped.

WRITING THE “OTHER”
Anna Irwin-Schutze, Jody Toomey, Katherine Cross, Tanya DePass

At first glance, it seems obvious; Writers need to write about people and places they haven’t experienced directly for themselves. Most crime writers have not personally killed their victims. This panel is all about discovering how can write diverse and interesting characters while at the same time respecting where they come from. How do we be inclusive without having to save the whole world with every game narrative we design? What can we do to write the other to actually make a positive impact on the world and keep our stories awesome and engaging and inclusive at the same time?

HOW TO BROADCAST SAFELY AS A POC/LGBT/FEMALE ID’D STREAMER
Tanya DePass, Lee Flores, Adam Koebel

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.

My Updated @GXAustralia schedule!

me-gxaus-boh

In a couple days I head over to Sydney Australia for the second, and sadly last GX Australia. 😦

We’re gonna make it a great time despite that y’all. I also promise not to fall for the whole Drop Bears thing 😉

Anyway, here’s my schedule for GX Australia, panels and talks in the auditorium will be streamed to Twitch (twitch.tv/gxaustralia) All times are AEST [Australian Eastern Time Zone] Convert to your local time via this handy time zone converter

The full GX Australia schedule: http://www.gxaustralia.com/schedule/ 

FRIDAY 7pm – ?? VIP Event Buckley’s

SATURDAY, 12pm, BIG ANT PANEL ROOM

“Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. – Self-Care Tips for Diverse Peeps”

Emilie Poissenot, Wren Brier, Snow McNally, Tanya DePass & Dameyon Bonson

As part of an underrepresented group in the games industry, our careers are harder than the norm. Our actions and words may be used as a blanket representation of our whole group. The knowledge of biases against us can lead to increased self-doubt and distrust of our coworkers. All these experiences take their toll on our well-being. How can we get better at recognizing these side-effects and alleviating them faster? The panelists discuss experiences and tips that have helped them get stronger to broaden your own set of tools for similar situations.

SATURDAY, 2pm, AUDITORIUM*

“Building Better Gamers”

Ashton McAllan, Tanya DePass, Dr. Jennifer Hazel, Alayna Cole, Adam Koebel & Mavis Chan

Can games be used to build better gamers? Can game design improve the outlooks and behaviours of the people that play them? Can we utilise this power to make our gaming spaces and communities safer and more inclusive? Come along and see our panelists discuss who is already doing this in their games, what they are actually doing, and how we can work this kind of magic in our own games

SATURDAY, 3pm, AUDITORIUM*

“Diversity 404: What Next?”

Tanya DePass, Felix Kramer, Katherine Cross & Rami Ismail

Diversity and inclusion is at a crossroads, with lots of performative diversity and well-intentioned-yet-ineffective strategies being touted as the Big Thing. But where are we, really? And what’s next?

SUNDAY, 11am, AUDITORIUM*

“Why A Customisable Character Isn’t Diversity”

Tanya DePass – Boss of Honor talk

One of the responses that calls for better representation is often, you can customize your character in GAME! Well that’s not actually diversity, nor inclusion or an acceptable response to not thinking about inclusion in the first place. Through examples, and discussion let’s dispel this notion that customization characters = diversity.

SUNDAY, 12pm, DEVELOPER PANEL ROOM

“Destroying Tropes and Stereotypes In Games”

Tanya DePass, Rae Johnston, Adam Koebel, Ken Wong

A look at the harm that using stereotypes and tropes does to games narratives, and why they need to be stopped.

SUNDAY, 3pm, DEVELOPER PANEL ROOM

“Writing the ‘Other’”

Anna Irwin-Schutze, Jody Toomey, Katherine Cross & Tanya DePass

At first glance, it seems obvious; Writers need to write about people and places they haven’t experienced directly for themselves. Most crime writers have not personally killed their victims. This panel is all about discovering how can write diverse and interesting characters while at the same time respecting where they come from. How do we be inclusive without having to save the whole world with every game narrative we design? What can we do to write the other to actually make a positive impact on the world and keep our stories awesome and engaging and inclusive at the same time?

SUNDAY, 4pm, BIG ANT PANEL ROOM

“How to Broadcast Safely as a PoC/LGBT/Female ID’d Streamer”

Tanya DePass, Lee Flores, Adam Koebel

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

 

Pics and such as I can because I’m going to try and get a SIM card once I’m there cause int’l data on my carrier is highway robbery y’all.

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.”

aelahi@chicagotribune.com
Twitter @aminamania

Catch @qgcon panels via Livestream this weekend!

Folks are always asking me if panels will be streamed when I go to conventions and conferences. Well luck is with you, as Queerness and Games Conference has you covered! They have two twitch channels:

twitch.tv/qgcon

twitch.tv/qgcon2

If you want to catch a specific speaker over the weekend, the schedule is below. Remember all times are in PDT (Pacific Daylight Savings Time) so -2 hours from CDT, -3 hours from EDT, -1 hour from MDT.

Saturday, 4/1

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Opening session: “Queerness and Video Games Today” – 2017 QGCon Organizers – SCI 106

11:15 am – 12:30 pm

Panel: “Getting Games Made (Right)” – moderator Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz – SCI 106
– Ashley Brown, “Cultural Differences in Creating and Financing a Serious Game for Sexual Health Project”
– Mo Cohen, “Navigating Self Care While Making Queer Quest
– Tanya DePass, “Gaming as POC: Where the Industry Has Failed Us, Where It Hasn’t and What to Hope For”

Panel: “Consent and Control in and around Gaming” – moderator Josef Nguyen – SCI 108
– Stephanie Boluk, “Feminist Killjoys and Magic Circle Jerks
– Josef Nguyen, “Reframing Consent through Debates on Control in Games”
– Amanda Phillips, “Unruly Bodies: The Queer Physics of Fumblecore”

Workshop:Making the LGBTQ Games Archive” – Adrienne Shaw, Alayna Cole, Evan Lauteria, Christopher Persaud – SCI 206

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Break (light lunch provided for speakers and volunteers in SCI 201)

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

Panel: “Games and Community” – moderator Andreas Kratky – SCI 106
– Evan Conway, “Proud Labor: the Visual, Material, and Social Branding of a Queer Gaming Community”
– Amanda Cullen, “Who Watches the Overwatchmen? A Digital Ethnographic Case Study of Queer Overwatch Fans”
– Kate Ringland, “Minecraft as a Site of Sociality for Autistic Youth”

Post Mortems: “Making Queer Games” – moderator Archie Prakash – SCI 108
– Josie Noronha, “Consideration In Your Core: A robo-tea! Postmortem”
– Yifat Shaik, “Humor on Behalf of the Ridiculous”
– Kara Stone, “Ritual of the Moon Post-Mortem: Queer Narratives, Mental Health, and Time”

Workshop: “Creating Positive Queer Characters” – Michael Wilde – SCI 206

Round table: “People of Color in Game Development and Community” – facilitator Tanya DePass – SCI L114

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm

Design KEYNOTE: John Epler, introduced by Jasmine Aguilar – SCI 106

“The Privilege of Default: Unconscious Biases in AAA Games”

4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Panel: “Queer Movements through Space and Time” – moderator Alenda Chang – SCI 106
– Maureen Engel, “Go Queer: A Ludic, Locative Media Experiment”
– Miguel Penabella, “The Politics of Driving Queerly: Policing Movement and Urban Spaces in Roundabout
– Lisa Yamasaki, “Playing Queerness in Life Is Strange

Open microtalks: You! Any and all attendees are invited to sign up to speak for 5 minutes on the topic of their choice. – SCI 108

Workshop: “Pedagogy for Social Change” – Irene Chien, Jen Malkowski, Jane Pinckard – SCI 206

Workshop: “Make a Zine with the L.A. Zine Fest” – Rhea Tepp and Kenzo Martinez, L. A. Zine Fest – SCI L114

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Micro-talk session: “Out of Sheer Spite” – Kris Ligman, Tanya DePass, Innes McKendrick, Zoe Quinn, Dietrich “Squinky,” Squinkifer, Carli Velocci – SCI 106

Post Mortems: “Queer Game Creation” – moderator Gordon Bellamy – SCI 108
– J.C. Holder, “Jamming Along to Game Jams: An ILU Game Jam Post-Mortem”
– Emilia Yang, Downtown Browns: Diversifying Interactive Media and Mapping Oppression”

Info Session: “Getting into Queer Game Studies” – Bonnie “Beaux” Ruberg, Teddy Diana Pozo, Whitney Pow, Claudia Lo – SCI 206

Sunday, 4/2

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Post Mortems: “Gender, Identity, and Game Design” – moderator Allison Comrie – SCI 106
– Michael Annetta and Erin Reynolds, Nevermind Post-Mortem: How a Cis Team Approached a Trans Story”
– Steve Cha, “Design as Drag: Performing Identity via Autobiographical Game Design”

Talk: “Orcs and Bowsers and Bara, Oh My: The Complicated Case of Monstrous Queer Male Bodies,” Todd Harper – SCI 108

Round Table: “Invisible Gender and Sexual Identities in the Queer Community” – moderated by Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifer – SCI 206

11:15 am – 12:30pm

Academic KEYNOTE: T. L. Taylor – SCI 106

“Play as Transformative Work”

12:30 – 1:00pm

Break (light lunch provided for speakers and volunteers – SCI 201)

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

Panel: “Representation and Character Creation” – moderator Melinda Stang – SCI 106
– Dan Gardner and Josh Tanenbaum, “Charting Performative Possibilities in Games: A Large-Scale Census of Characters and Representation”
– Rebecca Stimson, “Beautiful Monsters: Building Space for Queer Gaming in Monster Factory”
– Aaron Trammell and Nicole Crenshaw, “The Damsel and The Courtesan: A History of Gendered Game Design”

Panel: “How Queerness (and its Intersectional Themes) have Shaped our Experiences as Student Game Developers,” Ryan Bobell, Jocelyn Kim, Heather Robertson – moderator Margaret Moser – SCI 108

Workshop: “Imagining LGBTQ History through Games: A Game Design Workshop in Collaboration with the ONE Archives” – Loni Shibuyama and Chelsea Howe – SCI 206

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm

Panel: “Identity and Resistance” – moderator Richard Lemarchand – SCI 106
– Gabriela Aveiro-Ojeda, “Resistance through Play: Latinx Indigenous Culture”
– Niamh Schönherr, “Cute Games: Using Icelandic Krútt Music to Understand Revolution and Resistance in Alt/Queer Games”

Panel: “Academic Perspectives on Development, Industry, and Code” – moderator Derek Burrill – SCI 108
– Eric Freedman, “Engineering Queerness in the Game Development Pipeline”
– Aleah Kiley, Cheerleaders and Martyrs: Feminists and Queer Women in the Indie Industry
– Claudia Lo, “How RimWorld‘s Code Defines Strict Gender Roles”

Workshop: Supporting Queer Students as Game Makers & in Games Studies in the Age of Trump, Amanda Phillips, Alexandrina Agloro, Rachel Burton, Jezz Lucena, Hong-An Wu, Klew Williams, Josef Nguyen – SCI 206

4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Panel: “New Queer Perspectives” – moderator Vicki Callahan – SCI 106
– Emily Marlow, “Subverting the Heteronormative (?) Jesus in Video Games”
– Kaelan Doyle Myerscough, “I’m Taking Care of You: Pharmercy and Sensation in Video Game Romance”
– Whitney Pow, “I’m sure your woman-arms will be able to lift it: Queering affect, interface and phenomenologies of privilege in Anna Anthropy’s Realistic Female First-Person Shooter

Panel: “Queer Design” – moderator Virginia Kuhn – SCI 108
– Matthew Balousek, “Racist Bridges and Smelly Horses: What Is a Queer Game?”
– Heidi McDonald, “Don’t Fear the Queer: Audiences Are Ready”
– Klew Williams, “Trojan Horse Narratives: Sneaking in Queer Stories”

Workshop: “Diversity Backwards and Forwards” – Sarah Schoemann – SCI 206

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Closing Session: The Future of Queerness and Games2017 QGCon Organizers – SCI 106

Next weekend kicks off a super busy month for me!

I’m doing sooo much stuff in April, but it’s cool and I’m excited even if I’m a little tired just thinking about it. That means streams will be sporadic and not on the usual Tues/Thurs/Saturday schedule.

Here’s what I’m up to starting next Friday:

April 1 & 2: Queerness and Games Conference  Los Angeles, CA

I’m doing three things!

1) Gaming as POC: Where the Industry Has Failed Us, Where It Hasn’t and What to Hope For 

2) Microtalks: Out of Sheer Spite

3) Facilitating a round-table on POC in the industry

April 8: GenVidCon, Gender and Videogames  Keynote speaker, San Jose, CA

April 12: Let’s Talk Gaming!  Montreal, CAN

April 17: Guest Lecturer at NCSU

April 18-20: East Coast Games Conference, Speaker in Career track. Raleigh, NC

April 21-23: C2E2, Panelist  Chicago, IL 

My panel schedule for C2E2

29 & 30 April: GX Australia, Boss of Honor , Sydney, Australia

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

Almost time for @Official_GDC! Here’s all the things I’m up to

Here’s things what I am doing at GDC & Adjacent spaces!

gdc17_logo_year_bug_bw

Monday – Attending the Gaming Accessibility Conference! #GAConf

About the conference:

Disability is a mismatch between a person and their environment, resulting in barriers performing day-to-day tasks, including gaming. These barriers are often unnecessary. Accessibility simply means avoiding those unnecessary barriers. This often means reinforcing how information is communicated, and offering players some flexibility, both of which often translate into a better experience for all players.

Understanding and implementation of these principles has been growing at an exponential rate, making 2017 a perfect opportunity to take stock and exchange experiences and expertise.

Attendees can expect a wide range of topics from all sectors of the industry – indie to AAA, academia to accessibility specialists – and leave with inspiration, new contacts, and practical knowledge of how to ensure their vision is able to reach as wide a range of players as possible, so no player is unnecessarily excluded from the access to culture, recreation and socialising that gaming brings.

Tuesday – Going to panels and I’ll be on the One Life Left & Gamasutra Live stream at 1:15 PST! Check it out at twitch.tv/gamasutra

Wednesday – LGBTQIA in Gaming lunch sponsored by Xbox  and going to talks.

Thursday – ALL THE THINGS! Attending the Women in Games lunch sponsored by Xbox, then I’m co-facilitating  a Roundtable for Diversity Advocates & Community Organizers with Rebecca Cohen-Palacios of Pixelles!! my first time speaking at GDC!!!

Then I’m attending and speaking at the Blacks in Gaming Green Room event sponsored by Xbox, hosted by Kahlief Adams of Spawn on Me podcast.

Friday – I may just collapse in a heap after such a full week, but there are talks I wanna see and take notes on!

I leave omfg why did I ever book a flight so fucking early on Saturday morning but I am trying to change my flight to a decent human hour. If I can’t oh well.After a few days home, I head for Boston and PAX East on March 9th.

Remember no livetweeting of talks this year, sorry but not. It’s too stressful, and I don’t need to be harassed on twitter when I’m trying to enjoy a talk.

ICYMI – I was on @Wizards_dnd to talk about diversity, D&D and more!

dnd-podcast

 

TANYA DEPASS ON CREATING D&D CHARACTERS

Tanya DePass (@cypheroftyr) has played D&D for years and she brings her experience in talking about diversity in gaming to creating D&D characters and her shared love of Dragon Age 2 with Greg Tito. Lore You Should Know – Matt Sernett (@Sernett) and Chris Perkins (@ChrisPerkinsDND) discuss the iconic Tomb of Horrors adventure in Tales from the Yawning Portal. Plus, guest host Bart Carroll joins the podcast to talk about Dragon+.

Here’s a guide to when each segment on the podcast begins:

00:00 – Intro with Greg Tito and Bart Carroll

05:35 – Lore You Should Know – Today’s Topic: Tomb of Horrors

20:37 – Interview with Tanya DePass

01:13:08 – Outro with Greg and Bart

Take a listen!

On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

web-analytics-my-1-if-you-built-it-they-will-come

See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

fuckyoupaymeartprintfromgeekcalligraphycom

 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

Marking a year of…changes.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of getting canned from my day job. At 1 pm this day last year, I was in tears, unsure about everything. I’d not been back one day from GX3, before I got that call to come into a conference room. Where I was given a bullshit reason & let go.  When I say BS, I mean ex-boss tried to reach back 3 years to justify her actions. If I’d been that bad an employee for that long…wouldn’t I have been gone long before that? Even if she thought she had given me so many chances, or whatever lie she told herself to justify what she did.

No one would let someone in my position screw up that long term & still have a job. Also who cans someone 10 days before xmas? But yeah, I was in tears in a cab that I shouldn’t have gotten but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Was too angry & frankly? Hurt.  It also didn’t help that I’d just got back from a trip, didn’t have a lot of extra money & due to timing? My last check was for 6 days. I had to go through a bunch of hoops with unemployment too. It took a month but finally got that going.

No lie, though I was gonna be homeless once unemployment ran out or before. Those two weeks right after we’re pretty bad.Worse than I let on in public that’s for sure. But y’all came through. People who believed in my work helped me out. Always grateful. I looked for work for a while before I realized I could try to do full time. It had become a second job anyway.

So I did the thing, and it’s worked. Somehow, it’s worked. Patreon is covering rent & a couple bills. Been very lucky to have travel paid.It’s been hard and I’ve wanted to quit so many times over the past year. So many. But I’m still here. I’ll stay here too cause I’m ornery and it’s been too much work put in to give up. Long as I can I’ll fight.

Thank you, every single one of you who’ve held me up when I’ve fallen or stumbled. Who’ve been a voice of reason when I was lost. Thanks to those who pushed against me. Can’t grow without a bit of pain or misstepping. Not perfect & I’m doing the best I can. Thanks to anyone who’s invited me to panel with them or accepted an invite from me to join a panel with me. To anyone who’s taken a pitch and published me.

Thanks to all my Patrons, those who’ve sent some much needed funds my way in the clutch. Or bought me a ko-fi. Thanks for a year of support that I would haven’t thought possible before. For tears, laughter & friendships made & lost.

Thank you. Here’s to another year. Thanks y’all, I mean it from my heart 💜💜

On the value of black women’s work

So yesterday I couldn’t sleep and twitterpated all over about the Safetypin box and the reactions to it. Notably that some dude bro who didn’t know anything about the creators (Leslie Mac and Marissa Johnson)

I collated those over on Medium for anyone who wants to peep  that first. On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Today, I had more twitterations on the idea that Safetypinbox HAD to be a 501 c 3 charity or people felt uncomfortable with where the money was going. IE These two black women can’t be trusted. Those thoughts and some more to follow because I am fed the entire fuck up with how people want the benefits without realizing the human cost behind it. What follows are my tweets c/p from 12/6/2016.

I keep seeing people throw out that *should* be a 501(c)(3) charity. Because that gives *them* comfort somehow. Let’s talk.

One, if this was charity work then fine. It’s a service however. Says so right on the website.

spb-not-a-charity

Go read it over, then come back.

Two, do any of these people talking about how easy it is to become a 501(c)(3) know anything about the process? At all? Guessing that’s a no. If you have to file the 1023 form, (30 pages long btw)have the $400 or $850 filing fee & get it done quickly? 180 day window for decision.If you qualify for 1023 EZ filing? Still $275 & 180 day decision window. So it’s not easy to start a charity. But that’s not the issue here.

The real issue is two black women have done the same thing white activists are lauded for & y’all mad.

They are putting a dollar value on the free emotional labor that people expect of black women all day, every day. I should just start posting the requests to pick my brain, get a cup of coffee to get a read on something I get re: games diversity. Y’all expect black women especially to do this heavy lifting for the good of the community, for free cause it’s better for all.

Fuck that

It’s unsurprising to see who has some shit to say in the face of black women going fuck you, pay me for my time & knowledge. Like people who go follow black women, expect to be educated & have their ignorance lifted but won’t drop a tip or support their Patreons. Out here treating us like Hazel, like we’re supposed to hold your fucking hand & let you sip from the Chalice of Wokeness for free!

Nah, we all gotta live. Stop devaluing our labor, our knowledge & expecting a handout to rise beyond your ignorance. Google is free y’all. So stop acting like we’re asking for too much when we say pay up for that time you asked us for. We value our work, our expertise. Since you asked for our help? You must value it too. So put your money where your mouth is or be quiet.

I salute you y’all for getting that money

That said, I had the usual rando’s and well, actually’s roll through my TL. Once I was properly up and about, I had a few thoughts on the people who follow me on various sites, say they learn from me etc. Yet, people don’t value work all the same. Even had someone who inferred I was saying pay me to tweet.

I got nothing to say about that except that added 2+2 and got yarn. If anyone following me thinks that’s where I was going, then leave now. Ain’t nobody said pay me to tweet. For those curious I said the following:

So I’m up and I been thinking. Remember when I asked people why they follow me? Realize what the majority of answers were? To recap: Because they learn something, because they get a POV unlike their own. I.E they get value from my tweets.

Or the articles I write and share here, or the collated, nicely bundled and edited twitterpations I put out on Medium. Still with me? I have over 6700 followers (for now, watch I drop some after this tweet). Some are bots that will drop off & don’t count. Let’s be generous and say 1500 are not real accounts that haven’t dropped off. That leaves over 5500 people reading what I have to say daily.

If half those folks dropped a donation or even supported my Patreon at $1 each? I’d be A-OK. But I guess there’s a line for some. Ok. Same for other black women on here & other platforms. People listen but they ghost out when we pass the hat or ask to be compensated. [this is where some people got stuck and probably thought I was saying pay me to tweet. Which I wasn’t but whatever]

I’m mad but I’m also tired, tired of the expectation of free labor from some. Not everyone does this but it happens too often.

Here’s the thing, no one is obligated to do a damn thing. Ain’t nobody gotta follow me, or donate or support me on Patreon. Point was it would be great if the same people who say they learn from what I say, who say they enjoy my work and consider the other things I do off twitter to be important would throw some coins my way.

It’s been almost a year since I lost my day job, just 9 days away from that anniversary so I’m probably noticing this more keenly than usual. But I’m real tired of black women’s work not being valued. For POC/LGBTQIA/Disabled/Neurodivergent folks to have the burden of free emotional labor dropped on them but when they ask for compensation? Then they’re greedy, not helpful, scamming… it goes on and on.

Just tired and full of thoughts that needed to get out. Consider what you are asking when you ask us for that coffee chat, a quick lunch or a few minutes of our time. The cost is usually higher than what you think.

 

 

Asking for a little help to extend my trip after @GXAustralia next year

I’m a Boss of Honor at the second GX Australia taking place in Sydney, 29 & 30 April, 2017! It’s my second time begin a guest of honor at a convention and will be my first time in Australia!

me-gxaus-boh

Donate help me spend some extra time in Sydney

GX Australia is covering my flight and hotel. So I’ve reduced my goal by half.

I’m my own boss, but being in charge of a non-profit means little money to spare aside from operating expenses and my Patreon doesn’t have enough wiggle room to save any extra money for a holiday.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to spend a little extra time there, since who knows when or if I’ll ever be able to get back to Australia!

So I’m just looking to raise $1500 USD which will be for additional nights in the hotel, so I can get a mini-holiday in before returning state-side.

When do I need the funds? Not for a couple of months now.

Thank you for helping out with this once in a lifetime chance.

Hey y’all @GXAustralia 2017 KS needs a bit of love, just 3 days left!

Hey, hey you awesome person reading this post! Psst, come here. Did you know about GX Australia? That it’s returning in 2017 to Sydney? Well it is and the KS could use some love. They’re over the 50% point, but need to reach $60K AUD to roll over!

Full details in this very long post, but the long and short is:

Please donate even if you can’t attend, even a few dollars will help them reach the goal. If you have the means, you can also help someone else attend with the pay it forward option!

GX Australia 2017!

There’s just 3 Days left for the GX Australia Kickstarter to reach it’s goal of $60,000 to make the convention happen in 2017!!

BACK THIS PROJECT!

About this project

Want to spend an incredible weekend hanging out with the friendliest bunch of geeks you’ll ever meet? Are you passionate about video games, or dreamed of making one yourself? Do you like to cosplay? Or are you an avid fan of card or board games?

Well listen up, because we’ve got some great news for you!

GX AUSTRALIA IS RETURNING IN 2017!

After our first hugely successful event in February, 2016, we’re super excited to be able to bring the convention to Sydney again for a second year. At the debut convention, nearly eight hundred attendees trekked out to the Australian Technology Park for two days of geekery and fun. For our second year, we’re making awesome changes and taking on board requests, considerations, and feedback from the first event.

So here it is, GX Australia 2017! Lock in the 29th and 30th of April, 2017, because we’re going on an adventure!

If you didn’t make it out to GX Australia 2016, you missed a fabulous weekend full of tournaments, tabletop gaming, awesome and insightful panels and talks, and even an escape room! But that’s okay, because you’re getting a second chance in April 2017.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Wait, what's a GX thingy?
Wait, what’s a GX thingy?

GX Australia is the country’s most inclusive convention for video gamers, board gamers, tabletop and card gamers, cosplayers, comic book nerds, sci-fi film buffs — everything geeky and nerdy! It’s a weekend long celebration of what brings us all together in the first place. It’s a weekend where Star Trek and Star Wars fans can set aside their differences and make friends, where you’re appreciated and loved no matter what mana colour your Magic: The Gathering deck is, and where you’re accepted for who you are even if you prefer the PS4 to the Xbox One. It’s an event for you — yes you! — if you share in our vision that geekery and video games are for everyone.

Our first event was such a blast, and we’re dedicated to making sure Year Two is even better.

Didn’t come last year? Here’s some highlights of what you missed out on:

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s4425185.htm

https://digitalwindow.co/2016/03/03/gx/

http://playwrite.com.au/gx-australia-and-safe-places-in-gaming/

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/sexuality/article/2016/03/01/inside-australias-first-queer-gaming-convention

http://www.nerdvana.tv/nerd-gamer/gx-australia/

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.
Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

 

New venue!
New venue!

GX Australia 2017 will be taking place at the Sydney Showground! This venue is hugely experienced when it comes to video game events, hosting everything from Supanova to the EB Games Expo. We’re thrilled to be adding our name to their impressive roster, and the new venue comes with a tons of improvements over our old location:

  • Accessibility! While the ATP itself was fully accessible, unfortunately Redfern Station was not and this presented a challenge for our attendees with mobility considerations. Fortunately, there are lifts at the Olympic Park station and we’re only a short distance from the train. Further, this time around all of our event spaces are on the ground floor so there’s no fiddling about with lifts once you’re at the venue itself.
  • Bigger, but a better use of space! The ATP was an awesome venue, but given how large the complex was unfortunately we got spread out quite a lot — this gave the convention a very chill and relaxed feel, but you probably are surprised to know how many attendees we had! At the Sydney Showground, our convention space is fully enclosed and self-contained, meaning that it won’t be confusing or difficult to move between panels, or around the expo hall! All facilities and meeting areas  are within a short distance of each other, logically laid out and easy to find.
  • Air conditioning! Need we say more?
  • Lower costs! Because we aren’t holding the event around Mardi Gras this time, and because we’ve been able to secure more competitive pricing for hiring the venue, we’re able to pass savings on to attendees and bring the overall cost of tickets down as a result. While we gave away many tickets last time and remain committed to making GX Australia as accessible as possible, ultimately every ticket purchased ensures that we can run the event at its best and we’re happy that we’re able to bring costs down to make that easier for guests.
  • Streaming AND Recording! This was something we wanted to do last time around and while we were able to stream the Main Panel Room, panels didn’t get recorded. Thanks to Twitch, This time around we’re going to make sure that you can participate by watching panels online as they happen, or later on when convenient to your schedule.
  • Even MOAR diversity! Our biggest objective for Year Two was to make GX more diverse and representative. This is reflected across not only our amazing lineup of kickass Bosses of Honours, but the speakers we’re working with to develop incredible panels. Plus, due to our lower costs, we are able to splurge a bit more on helping people of colour and indigenous speakers to make it out to Sydney for the event.
  • 15+, or all ages with a parent or guardian! Another big commitment towards accessibility and access was to ensure the event could be open to people as young as possible. Like last year, you’re welcome to attend the event if you’re fifteen or older and have proof of age available. If you’re younger, just come with a parent or friend over 18 who will watch out for you!
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

What will be at GX Australia 2017?
What will be at GX Australia 2017?
  • Incredible guests! You can see our initial guests below, but trust, we have some even more amazing guests yet to announce! One of our favourite things about GX Australia was how accessible guests were, and our feedback from guests was how wonderful you all were. More of that!
  • Amazing panels! Last year we were lucky enough to host some absolutely incredible panels, and we intend to do the same again this year. Check out our schedule from last year to see what kind of awesome content you can expect in 2017! http://www.gxaustralia.com/panel-schedule/
  • Bigger tabletop space! This was hugely requested, and we’ve already started thinking about how we can make our tabletop section bigger, better and more exciting! With scheduled games, a library of games to choose from and brilliant hangout times, we can’t wait!
  • More games and experiences! We’ll have a play section this year with wonderful Australian, queer and diverse games, and plan on having some awesome physical group games to participate in!
  • An awesome show floor! We’re taking all of the incredible feedback from 2016 into account and making the show floor for 2017 more intimate, varied and fun!
  • Exciting VIP events! Based on this year, our VIP events next year will be TOTALLY MATHEMATICAL. We can’t wait to see you there!
What's at the Sydney Showground?
What’s at the Sydney Showground?

This historic venue hosts everything from the Easter Show to big events like Supanova. We’re super excited to be using them for GX, and think you’ll agree that our new location is a huge step up from our first year. We’re booking out space for panels, a return of our “GX Campfire” chillout space, plus rooms for meet & greets, media, and more!

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Bosses of Honour!

We’re super excited to make the initial announcements of our incredible Bosses of Honour. These are some of the amazing people we’ll be featuring at GX Australia, and stay tuned since we’ll have more names to announce as our Kickstarter campaign progresses.

Added in Update #8 (Oct 21 2016):

Casey Conway
Casey Conway

 

Adam Koebel
Adam Koebel

Added in Update #5 (Oct 17 2016):

Tanya DePass

 

Felix Kramer

 

Brett Leavy

 

 Kickstarter launch Bosses:

Katherine Cross
Katherine Cross

 

Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen
Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen

 

Kim Allom
Kim Allom

 

Jordan Raskopoulos
Jordan Raskopoulos

 

Eve Beauregard
Eve Beauregard

 

Tim Cain
Tim Cain

 

Lucy O'Brien
Lucy O’Brien

 

Rae Johnston
Rae Johnston

 

Ken Wong
Ken Wong

 

Backer rewards!
Backer rewards!

Depending on your pledge, your support for GX Australia 2017 also includes a choice of the awesome games below! We massively appreciate the developers who have donated keys for us to give to our backers, and we hope you enjoy the games as well!

ALL THESE GAMES CAN BE YOURS!
ALL THESE GAMES CAN BE YOURS!
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Stretch goals!
Stretch goals!

$60k will allow us to handle the costs involved in hosting the event, hiring furniture, and some other minor costs. If we surpass that, we’ll be able to extend the convention even further. Here’s how!

$65k – HOLY FOOD TRUCKS, BATMAN!

$70k – EXTRA BOSS OF HONOUR!

$75k – GX AUSTRALIA PARTY, with SWEET LIVE MUSIC!

??? – ??? We’ll get here when we do!

Why Sydney again?
Why Sydney again?

We’re eager to make GX Australia as accessible as possible. We’ve run extensive public polls both before the 2016 event even happened as well as after to see what factors encouraged or discouraged attendance, and it became resoundingly clear that most of our audience wants the event to remain in Sydney. We’re hoping that by holding it a little later in the year when the calendar is less full, we’ll be able to ensure people can afford to travel if they aren’t already nearby.

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.
Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

 

Let's do it!
Let’s do it!

In February 2016, we managed to bring GX to life with a small handful of volunteers, tons of support from the Australian indie scene, and awesome people like you. We want this convention to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, energised and inspired, but most importantly loved and welcomed.

We can’t do the convention without you, so please spread this campaign far and wide; if you came to the first one, we hope to see you next year. If you didn’t make it before, we hope to meet you as a brand new friend!

Special Shoutouts

We’d like to make a special shoutout to Marcomatic, the creator of our fantastic logo and animated spiel, to Jack Huddo Photography for the brilliant photography from last year, and to Steph Westwood, who donated her time to create our amazing Kickstarter video!

Additionally, we’d like to thank ALL OF YOU for helping us make GX Australia 2016 happen last year. We literally couldn’t have done it without you, and we’re so excited to be able to do it all again for 2017!

Risks and challenges

While GX Australia 2016 took place to great success, we certainly did have some challenges! Our biggest was unexpected expenses and bills with regards to hiring the ATP that hadn’t been communicated to us early on.

To avoid that stress this time around, we’ve clearly and specifically sat down with the Sydney Showground to be as detailed as possible for our expenses and any additional costs. We’re confident that we won’t have unexpected bills sending us scrambling for cash, and our costs for running the convention have come down a lot from the final amount we had to spend just to book the ATP.

Contracts have been signed and the date is locked down. We’ve ensured that our space will feel comfortable if we have the same number of attendees as last time, but of course we’re eagerly hoping to smash that record!

As before, all of our rewards are digital and what physical items we do have are very limited so we aren’t spending funds on shipping or production.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I’m a guest at @BigBadCon next week!

I’m pretty excited to go to Big Bad Con next week and get back to my tabletop roots y’all. I’m doing three panels, all with people I admire and love to collaborate with.

Friday, October 14th

Real talk on Tabletop toxicity

4-6pm

Tabletop has a toxicity problem and it should be discussed, like adults in an open forum so we can move forward to fixing rather than having the same old is there a problem or not, it’s you not the community BS we see crop up over and over. Join our discussion for an open discussion on what to do. If you think there is no problem in the table top community and think this is the time for 101 discussion? This won’t be for you.

Saturday, October 15th

Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy

10am – 12pm

Tanya DePass, Donna Prior, and Jessica Price will tear apart the fallacy of the Fake Geek Girl. We’ll spend a bit of time on why this trope is harmful to women and to the gaming community at large. Panelists will be from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and knowledge of geekdom. Find out if it is ever ok to question someone’s geek cred.

Diversity in Gaming Discussion

2-3 pm

A discussion on why diversity in gaming is important and needed. This will be more of a conversation between Special Guest Tanya DePass of I Need Diverse Games alongside Katherine Cross, and participants.

Those attending should understand that this is not going to be a 101 conversation about diversity, i.e. “what is diversity?”. Participants should be there to discuss this topic in good faith with the speaker and other attendees.

A reminder of why I’m on @Patreon

Hi y’all, just a quick post on why I’m on Patreon, and why support to do the work of I Need Diverse Games non-profit without a day job is important. I was working a full time, very demanding job for the first year and some months of #INeedDiverseGames going from a viral hashtag, to a community that grew quickly thanks to many of you.

However, I was burning out fast; and while it was a huge blow to lose my main source of income when I lost my day job in December 2015, that allowed me the freedom to pursue this work full time, and with a lot of support of people who didn’t give up on me I’m able to do this but it’s still a struggle. As of this post I’m at about 1200 a month which covers rent and a couple bills.

As I explain below, ideally a monthly patronage of about $2-$3K a month would help me do all this work, not have to fret about literally keeping the lights on, or the internet paid which I need in order to do this work.

If I could hit my next goal of $1,750 a month, which isn’t that far from my current level of patronage, I could breathe easier next month.

Some perks you get include early access to episodes of Fresh Out of Tokens podcast before the general public, updates on what I’m doing regarding I Need Diverse Games, blog posts (which will resume more regularly after fall conventions are done) and now a Patreon only Discord channel on my server.

So please consider supporting my work so I can continue to run the I Need Diverse Games non-profit, have the flexibility to attend conventions and write for places such as Vice and Polygon when they take pitches. Unvarnished truth is that if I have to go back to a regular 9-5 job? INDG will die because it’s not in a place to be handed off, and with almost two years of work under the bridge, it’s got a lot of potential to grow. Being here instead of in cubicle hell means I have the time, I just need the support.

Thank you for reading, sharing and supporting ❤

I Need Diverse Games is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015, but also because I Need Diverse Games has become a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization as of August 13th, 2016. Because of this change, I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money to keep the lights on, pay for miscellaneous things that you need daily. In fact, keeping I Need Diverse Games afloat would cost me what little I had to spare when I was employed.

To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, 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 $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:
Rent $950 a month
Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)
Pet costs ($125)
Groceries ($300)
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)

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 so I can continue to do this full time. Please note, that there is a separate Patreon for I Need Diverse Games, found at patreon.com/INeedDivGms

Survived my first(?) PAX West (cross post from Patreon)

PAXWest

(originally posted on 6 September on my Patreon)

So I did the thing, all the things at PAX West this year. Apparently it’s the first year it’s being called West instead of Prime in an official capacity. So I was on six panels! Four of them in one day and survived. if I ever, ever say that kind of thing again, check me and remind me how it’s a bad idea. Remind me of how damned exhausted I was on that first night of PAX and could barely put one foot in front of another by the end of the ay.

Overall panels I was on went well, we had surprisingly great numbers for all of them, even our panel on making the case for diversity with data. I assumed that at a gamer/nerd convention anything with data in it wouldn’t draw a crowd but happily, I was wrong! We got great questions too!

There’s only audio for one panel I was on, Git Gud Ally, thanks to Bryce Johnson, who co-moderated with me. The lovelyStormka uploaded our deck so you can get our tips and such. That was the last panel for me on Sunday, and we had a great time.

I know folks live tweeted some panels I was on, if they could get a signal. A lot of those rooms had no reception or really spotty if you moved a hair to the left or right you lost 4G or WiFi.

Our table at the Diversity Lounge went well, we made some loot thanks to having the game dev Barbie to raffle off and some people just being generous. That was a good thing that came from me being on so many panels I think. A lot of people seeing the work, hearing about I Need Diverse Games so much over the weekend. Also realizing we’re a non-profit seemed to get a lot of connections made too.

On a personal note it was nice to see some of the Bioware folks again, I got to panel with Patrick Weekes, and see Eplerj, Mel Fleming, met Cam Harris (former Bioware) and a lot of community of folks I knew only via twitter. Got to see Sa Roux in her fabulous Tal-Vashoth Inquisitor cosplay and tweeted it out! 

I was able to periscope one panel I attended, Playing with Pride by Matt Baume and James Morris,  Great to see their work progress, loving the documentary. I also tried to meld into the floor during sections where I was shown.

Still working on that being known thing. One last, sweet thing before I tie up this post. Three young folks came up to me after the last panel I was on Friday night and said they were glad to see me on it. That they were worried about it being kind of bro’ish because of the title. But they told me that because they saw my name, it would be ok. That the panel would be good. That’s so humbling, and heartwarming.

It also reminded me that you never know what impact you, your work and your words have on people. I have never been to PAX West in my life, yet these three folks who came to PAX, and saw my name felt good about coming to panels I was on! So yeah, that made me very happy and humbled all at the same time.

Now to relax today before a full day of meetings and then I go home for three weeks then GaymerX 4 in Santa Clara!

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

moon-hunters-is-brown-and-beautiful-body-image-1471446995-size_1000

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 

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.

 

Well, shit

So I guess I’m at the end of my unemployment benefits as of this week. I certified, did my due diligence and today only got paid out one week of unemployment instead of two as expected. I got no warning letter that hey, your benefits are ending soon, I wasn’t warned that I was at the end when I logged in to certify on Monday. The payment history even says I was paid for two weeks, but I wasn’t.

This is spectacularly bad timing as I leave for a convention tomorrow and I have to pay for a hotel room and the usual con expenses. I’ve got a bit in savings but it’s not going to carry me for long. I can’t even call IDES until 8:30am CDT to find out what’s up or if I can get an extension on benefits.

So I’m going to be in a bit of a money panic until I find out if I can extend my unemployment benefits at all. Considering my state hasn’t had a budget in almost a year, I am not hopeful of that happening. Worst case scenario, I cash out my 403B, but that means a trip back to effin past work place to get the paperwork.

For now, I’m putting my Patreon back out there, especially since a new month is right around the corner. If I can’t get an extension on unemployment benefits, or find something even part time, I’m up the creek without a paddle. So if you can signal boost, or spare even $1 a month, I’d greatly appreciate it.

patreon.com/cypheroftyr

Why Tanya DePass is on Patreon

#INeedDiverseGames is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015. I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money, it usually costs me what little I had to spare when I was employed. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in at least $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, 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 $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:

Rent $925 a month [Goes up October 1st]

Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)

Pet costs ($125)

Groceries ($300)

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)

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 so I can continue to do this full time.


June Update – xposted from Patreon

INDG Twitch Banner

Hey y’all,  hope everyone is well out there. First off thanks for the support especially those who stayed around through the ups and downs of end of May/beginning of June. Support was close to $1200 a month, then dipped dramatically after signal boosting some other folks, which I can’t control but it’s really saddening to have support yanked from me for merely linking to others work.

So what have I been up to? Too much actually 😦

March, April and May were pretty non-stop including PAX East, Penguicon, Wiscon, a local Star Trek pop culture conference, speaking at a class at my alma mater along with Jenn C, paneling at the Science Fiction Writers Association  (SFWA) conference in Chicago and the Chicago Video Game Law Summit; also in Chicago.

Thankfully June is much quieter, with just CONVergence at the end of the month, and Podcast Movement at the first weekend of July and I’m pretty much done with conventions until PAX Prime in September, Praise Andraste.

There’s been other stuff going on, least of which is some severe burnout, thus the slowing to a crawl progress on a lot of things I’m doing. I put out a call for help on the #INeedDiverseGames side and have gotten some offers which I need to reply to this week.

ICYMI, one article I did put up here and eventually out in the gen population of my social media is So You Want to Describe a POC Character?

So what’s coming in June on here in terms of writing and such? Not sure actually, I’ve been really struggling with that lately even when given a topic. I’m working on a paid piece so that’s taking my focus a bit.  I’m trying to do more original video content, but that’s a steeper learning curve than I expected 😦

So if you’re supporting at the $10 level and above, drop requests below and now that I am not so omgwtf I just need  ten naps busy I should be able to write something if not by the end of June, then definitely in July.

So that’s what’s up with me and life right now. To be frank, I’m burned out at both ends but I’m muddling through and without everyone’s support I couldn’t keep a roof over my head for the last six months. So thank you, thank you for your continued support.

It means the world to me and is literally keeping me safe, dry and housed.

*Header image by Alamarri on tumblr. Please give her a shout and if you need artwork done, she’s lovely.

So you want to describe a POC character…

13585928389458551554

Ok, so I get asked for advice and my thoughts on a lot of things relating to diversity and representation. Lately I’ve been getting asked about the proper/authentic/least offensive way to describe or write POC characters.

There’s been a tumblr post going around about not using food as descriptors for non-white characters. Some people don’t understand why this offensive and a racist action. There’s so much to unpack in why you shouldn’t use food words as a descriptor of POC characters, that this could be a long post; but here’s trying after a disclaimer.

DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to speak for all POC, all black people, all women. This post is informed both by my personal experiences as a US born and raised black woman who has spent a lot of time discussing, writing about, talking about race, feminism and representation. Do not take this post as your get out of fuckery free card, with the claim a black woman said X so it’s ok! I will not be happy with you at all and woe unto you if you do this and try to use my words as a pass to be wrong.

Take my words as you will, understand that I, as a marginalized person have experiences that you (privileged folks reading this) do not. This is not a time or a place for well, actually in the comments. Nor is it the time or place for countering with your one black friend said Y in response to my Z. So with all that being said, here we go.

So I often get asked about describing POC accurately, authentically and the like.  What follows is an excerpt of an inquiry, with no names attached as the net can be vicious. But I wanted an example. This is a great question, it wasn’t worded in a way that screams EDUCATE ME, (well not to me, but YMMV)

“…on the description of skin color/tone while avoiding anything that might end up being racist. For example, some sites I’ve checked have said to stay away from food related analogies (“caramel colored skin” for example) while others have said that describing it that way is fine. In the absence of using food related descriptors (unless that’s acceptable) what WOULD be acceptable? Or should you always stick to literal colors?”

So let’s break this down. First and foremost, do NOT describe people of colour with food words. Just no, not coffee, caramel, cafe au lait, chocolate, cinnamon, or other descriptors such as that. Let’s leave dusky off that list too, or tanned. We’re not tanned, sun kissed, toasted. We’re lovely, lovely shades of brown, you can use that word as a descriptor.

Why not you ask? I mean people like food right? Well, let me tell you a thing.

Well, to describe People of Color, going forward referenced as POC, emphasis on the PEOPLE part, at the least it is othering non-white characters in your narrative, and at the worst, you are fetishizing non-white characters by giving them exotic descriptors that don’t tell you anything about them besides they remind you of a favorite desert or your am cuppa.

It’s tied in to the dehumanization of people of color in media, in life and history. If you can imagine for a moment,   (assuming you are not a POC and reading this post) how would you feel if you were always described as milky, mayonnaise, mashed potato, and other kinds of food words as stand-in’s for your skin colour? You wouldn’t would you?

I know some white people get bent out of shape when described with such words, even as inoffensive as ‘mayo’. I mean mayo isn’t a great condiment, but no one has died from being called mayo-white. So consider the weight of words, the cultural ramifications tied to describing a POC as sinful as cinnamon, luscious as dark chocolate, or worse, tying food descriptors to moments of intimacy in a work.

I’ve seen too many people describe fair skinned POC (assuming they actually are writing them as a POC) as lapped up like cafe au lait, devoured like a chocolate bar, etc etc. Just stop. Additionally, it’s tired, it’s cliched and shows me you can’t play with words well enough to come up with a new way to describe people. It’s laziness, and if you as a writer can’t come up with something better, it makes me wonder about the rest of your word crafting.

Secondly, there are plenty of ways to describe POC with words like brown, dark brown, light brown, sandy brown, so many words that can be used to describe us that don’t need to be related to food, again it’s delicious but we’re not edible. We’re people, people! That would like some depth in our descriptions.  We’re not coffee brown either, considering coffee can be had from a milky white with enough extra cream to a very, very, dark black. We also don’t taste or smell like chocolate, coffee, or cinnamon. No person does, even if they work in a coffee factory with a chocolate shoppe across the way.

Third, and it might seem repetitive but this is important. Do the work, look to authors you feel have done character description well and learn from how they do it. Look up resources on writing the other, especially if you get a second or hell a third set of eyes on your work and get feedback on the descriptions. Or use Google, it’s there for a reason. It’s a SEARCH engine, so search things. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus bookmarked for your use.

That doesn’t mean use 10 dollar words and three paragraphs to lovingly attempt a non-racist description of your POC characters. A few words will always do instead of purple, flowy, overdone prose.  Lastly, ask a POC to review your work. If you don’t have any POC friends that’s another matter for a different post. But if you don’t have someone you can trust to review your work? Pay someone to do so, because this is one of those free emotional labor things we often get asked to do.

Speaking of resources, here’s a few to get you started:

10 Great Resources for Writing Cross Culturally (which has it’s own listing of good resources)

Relevant to this post: Writing with Color Tumblr: Description Guide, Part I – Food descriptions

Writing with Color tumblr: Description Guide, Part II – Describing Skin Tone

Writing the Other: A Practical Approach- Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward

Writing the Other workshops – Nisi Shawl and K. Tempest Bradford Brownpaper tickets. Check their sites for up to date schedule and availability

cypherPatreonBanner

Support the work of POC, bi, trans, non-binary, other LGBTQIA folks signal boosting edition

Cross Posted from my Patreon, where it originally appeared on 9 May 2016.

Another signal boost post, this time to focus on the works of POC, Bi, non-binary, trans and other marginalized creators. Re-using my caveat from my women’s work post because it is what it is. I lost some of my own Patreon support after that post, so oh well.

Caveat , because well people. I took in names and suggests from all over my social networks. I’m sure that means there will be someone listed below that you may not particularly like or feel deserves support. Well too bad, this isn’t high school and I’m not here for infighting, If you see someone you don’t care for, there’s a simple solution… don’t support their work. 

I do not, under any circumstances want messages, DM’s, etc with OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT HER/THEM/HIM! This is a post to boost others work and help others get their work seen via the little bit of social capital I have.  

Not Patreon:

Mel Fox: makes a zine about identity and grief after a divorce –

Bi’s of Colour:  

http://bisofcolour.tumblr.com/ 

Tauriq Moosa: Tip Jar

http://freethoughtblogs.com/indelible/2015/10/06/tip-jar/

IsaJennie

Radically inclusive Disabled activist w/ against all oppression.

Creator of 

  

Riley

https://www.youcaring.com/my-own-and-other-similar-projects-527012

Fund Better Tech/Fundclub

http://joinfundclub.com/

Patreon: 

Rex Magnus

https://www.patreon.com/rexmagnus?ty=h

Nino Cipri

https://www.patreon.com/ninocipri?ty=c

MakoFury

https://www.patreon.com/Makofury?ty=h

Sydney/BeautifulDad10

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2302765&u=2302765&ty=h 

Arkady Rose

https://www.patreon.com/arkady?ty=c

Davy Shirley –

Keffy

https://www.patreon.com/keffy?ty=c

Tab Kimpton –

Dina/Petite Mistress

https://www.patreon.com/dinadraws?ty=h

Lynne Triplett –

Harry Bentley –

Asheville Blade

https://www.patreon.com/AvlBlade?ty=h

Silvyen –

Nia King

https://www.patreon.com/artactivistnia?ty=h

Amy Letts –

Christian Beranek –

Alex Herberling –

Erika Moen –

Sfe –

Christine Smith –

Kat Tanaka Okopnik

https://www.patreon.com/ktokopnik?ty=h

Rose Lemberg

https://www.patreon.com/roselemberg?ty=h

My @Penguicon schedule, revision to interacting w/me guide

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.

Revision: Due to the incident (being filmed w/o my consent with intent to intimidate) at PAX East, I am even more twitchy about interaction with people I don’t know at conventions. I’ve also just come off a three day HUGE convention so I’m going to be even more introverted than usual when I’m not on panels, it’s not you.

If we are twitter/tumblr/Online friends but have not met offline, 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 real 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, flickr etc. I don’t mind being in photos, but ask me first before posting them online.

2016-penguicon-web-site-title

April 29th, 7:00 pm – When Being ‘On’ Is what people Expect

A panel where Mark Oshiro (Mark Does Stuff) and Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games) speak about the performative aspects of their work, including the need to entertain while doing blind reads and reactions to media and for Tanya; while streaming on Twitch/YT Gaming.

April 30th, 3:00 pm – Creating Safer Spaces

How do we define a “safe space” in fandom and at conventions? How can we work to create safer spaces for all attendees at Penguicon and other conventions, and in our lives outside of fandom? Join a discussion with Penguicon staff (including the con chair) and our guests about how the Penguicon community can work toward greater safety, diversity and inclusivity to make this a space where all feel welcome.

April 30th, 6:00 pm – Diversity in Geek Media

The push for more diversity has become a regular topic in the world of genre media and games, from calling out instances of white-washing and queer-baiting, to protesting the inevitable and often inexplicable deaths of queer characters and characters of color. It’s an exhausting road, but is it actually leading to more diverse and inclusive media?

April 30th, 8:00 pm – Geek Girls are here to stay

Every few years it seems there’s a rash of discussion, usually shocked, that women create and consume all the things long considered the domain of men: science, technology, science fiction, comics, games and more. But women have always been there, from the earliest Worldcons to the Save Star Trek campaign, from fan fiction and fanvids, from Ada Lovelace to Shirley Ann Jackson, from Frankenstein to our awesome slate of Guests of Honor. Will we be stuck having this conversation forever?

May 1st, 11:00 am – Crowd & Alternatively funding your career

Our panelists discuss their experiences using entrepreneurship opportunities like Startup Weekend and Global Startup Battle or crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon, to supplement or make a living, or start a new project.

The full Penguicon schedule is available online, so choose sessions! Hope to see you all there!

I’m a Spotlight Guest at @AnomalyCon in 2017!

You read that right, I’ll be at AnomalyCon in 2017 as a Spotlight Guest!

Check out the convention, see the other fine folks I’m going to be there with, and hang out in lovely Denver, CO with us next March 17-19, 2017

AnomalyCon Mission:

AnomalyCon was formed by members of the Colorado Steampunk community, but embraces all Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction in its programming.

Our mission is to provide a safe, fun, and creative educational entertainment space for geeks and fans that represents the intersectionality and diversity of experience in our local community and the world.

Our policies, programming, guests and themes reflect this mission to Steampunk (and SciFi) Better!

AnomalyCon 2017 registration is live!

Also, check out the conventions policies! Great to see their Anti-Harassment policy as well as knowing there is no filming or photography allowed without consent.

A big thanks to Kronda Siebert for the invitation. So excited to be a guest next year and to revisit Colorado. ❤

Updated guide to interacting with me at 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 twitter/tumblr/Online friends but have not met offline, 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 real 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, flickr etc. I don’t mind being in photos, but ask me first before posting them online.

I’ll be at two conventions in the next couple of weeks, so here’s my schedule under the cut for PAX East and Penguicon.

tumblr_o5li84ccqk1u0ikk9o1_540

How I got into Games Journalism 11:30 am (PST) Bobcat Theatre

Continue reading “Updated guide to interacting with me at conventions”

My @Penguicon schedule!

2016-penguicon-web-site-title

April 29th, 7:00 pm – When Being ‘On’ Is what people Expect

A panel where Mark Oshiro (Mark Does Stuff) and Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games) speak about the performative aspects of their work, including the need to entertain while doing blind reads and reactions to media and for Tanya; while streaming on Twitch/YT Gaming.

April 30th, 3:00 pm – Creating Safer Spaces

How do we define a “safe space” in fandom and at conventions? How can we work to create safer spaces for all attendees at Penguicon and other conventions, and in our lives outside of fandom? Join a discussion with Penguicon staff (including the con chair) and our guests about how the Penguicon community can work toward greater safety, diversity and inclusivity to make this a space where all feel welcome.

April 30th, 6:00 pm – Diversity in Geek Media

The push for more diversity has become a regular topic in the world of genre media and games, from calling out instances of white-washing and queer-baiting, to protesting the inevitable and often inexplicable deaths of queer characters and characters of color. It’s an exhausting road, but is it actually leading to more diverse and inclusive media?

April 30th, 8:00 pm – Geek Girls are here to stay

Every few years it seems there’s a rash of discussion, usually shocked, that women create and consume all the things long considered the domain of men: science, technology, science fiction, comics, games and more. But women have always been there, from the earliest Worldcons to the Save Star Trek campaign, from fan fiction and fanvids, from Ada Lovelace to Shirley Ann Jackson, from Frankenstein to our awesome slate of Guests of Honor. Will we be stuck having this conversation forever?

May 1st, 11:00 am – Crowd & Alternatively funding your career

Our panelists discuss their experiences using entrepreneurship opportunities like Startup Weekend and Global Startup Battle or crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon, to supplement or make a living, or start a new project.

The full Penguicon schedule is available online, so choose sessions! Hope to see you all there!

Doing all the things! March update [Reposted from Patreon]

Hi all,

First off thank you for your support this past month, I appreciate every single Patreon, from everyone at the $1 and up helped keep me housed, the cat fed, internet and electricity on so I can do this work.

So what have I been doing eh? A lot more streaming for one thing. I’m up to 3 times a week on my main, personal channel [twitch.tv/cypheroftyr] and 1x a week over at I Need Diverse Games. [twitch.tv/INeedDivGames] Much streaming, many hours with a controller in hand. I also made aDiscord server/community so if you want to hang out you can!

I set up a GameWisp subscription thinger on Twitch, but I’m not sure what to do to entice people to subscribe to me there. From what I understand it’s like Patreon for Twitch. You have levels, and people can sub starting at $3.99 a month up to whatever levels and rewards you put up.

I’ve also been prepping for GDC because it’s the first time I’m going with an All Access pass and having to be, I dunno I guess present and accounted for to make sure our #INeedDiverseGames scholarship recipients get there, have a good and educational time, etc. It’s a bit daunting to do this but it’s really gratifying to know that 25 people got to go to GDC via INDG! 😀

Still podcasting with a great lineup of guests in the coming month or so. Martin Sahlin from Unravel Game, Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds, Mel Fleming from Bioware who does localization, Elsa Henry who does game dev and is a GoH for OrcaCon 2017! I did get a better mic for podcasting and streaming, so improved quality for the win.

Also, thanks to the funding we got in January, I’m able to go to a lot more conventions this year. This personal patreon is strictly for living expenses, and the INDG Patreon + funding is for expenses there so no worries on that front about where you money is going.

Conventions I’ll be at this year [confirmed]:

  • PAX East – Doing two panels
  • Penguicon – Paneling, Featured Guest
  • Nebulas – Local, Doing panels
  • Podcast Movement – Local, attending only
  • DePaul Celebration of Star Trek – Local, Paneling
  • WisCon – Paneling, Guest of Honor Liaison, Programming Co-Chair
  • CONVergence – Paneling, Invited Guest

Unfortunately I won’t be at MidAmerica Con II aka Worldcon, because of money and uncertainty about where things will be later in the year.

Writing is the one thing I’ve failed at doing, especially posts for folks at the $10 level and up. Doing the prep for a lot of things has sucked up my time but I’ve also been stressed about …everything. It’s not an excuse, it’s what’s kept me from even fulfilling a couple paid writing things for publication.

I’m looking into alternative rewards for folks at the $10 level, so suggestions welcome. Its that or I need to put write rewards for Patreon on my calendar and not let it budge no matter what.

It’ll be a bit quiet here in the next couple of weeks as I prep for travel to SF for GDC, then spend a couple extra days crashing on a friends couch to have some downtime before I get back to Chicago and two conventions back to back in April, a lot of travel and socializing.

Thank you again, all of the support, kind words and signal boosts are appreciated ❤

Tanya

Double the Streams on Tuesday 2/9!

So Tuesday is usually the day new releases drop. This week however there’s two highly anticipated titles coming out!

I’ll do an AM Stream of Unravel Game; starting at 10am CST – 2:00 pm CST, take a break then stream Firewatch by Campo Santo from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm CST  at twitch.tv/cypheroftyr

Unravel Game by Coldwood Studios 

Yarny_HYPE

I’ve already streamed some Unravel via EA Access on the XB1 which you can see below.

Not Your Mama’s Gamer also published a great piece on the happiness Unravel and it’s wooly star, Yarny has brought already.

Firewatch by Campo Santo

Firewatch is a mystery set in the Wyoming wilderness, where your only emotional lifeline is the person on the other end of a handheld radio.

maxresdefault

The year is 1989.

You are a man named Henry who has retreated from your messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched atop a mountain, it’s your job to find smoke and keep the wilderness safe.

An especially hot, dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you

at all times over a small, handheld radio—and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind.

But when something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world below, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making interpersonal choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have.

 

ICYMI – I’m in this @Offworld piece by @sangfroid_san

alreadyheroes

What can game developers do to better represent black women in games?

“They need to get some fucking empathy,” says Tanya dePass, a campaigner for better representation inside game worlds and among those who create them. She curates websites, hosts podcasts, maintains the#INeedDiverseGames tag on Twitter, works as a diversity consultant andspeaks at conventions and panels.

Work is steady, but change is slow. For critics and activists, the pushback on inclusion is constant, from other gamers and the industry itself. DePass finds it baffling: “why don’t you all like money?” she asks.

One of many black women disrupting an insular culture, DePass critiques games and offers an alternatives to often-toxic online communities. Hashtag activism this is not. As DePass notes, “change needs to happen from the ground up.”

Lauren Warren is a contributor to Black Girl Nerds, an online community “devoted to promoting nerdiness and Black women and people of color.” In addition to panel appearances, cosplay showcases, TV spots and endorsement by Shonda Rhimes and others, BlackGirlNerds launched two new series profiling women and people of color.

“I hope that the Women in Gaming and Diversity in Gaming series reach people who are interested in pursuing careers in the games industry, but may be hesitant because they don’t “see” themselves fitting into the existing corporate culture,” Warren writes. “It’s no secret that our presence is lacking behind the scenes on the game development side, on streaming sites and at major industry events and publications. The larger the community, the more visibility we have and the bigger our impact will be in the future.”

Warren says that substantive progress towards inclusion requires changing corporate culture, but also its perception by prospective employees. It’s cyclical: the more resistant toward change the industry becomes, the less that women and people of color will want to invest their time and energies into a potentially unwelcoming space. This breeds further insularity. The cycle continues—unless it’s disrupted.

Samantha Blackmon is one of the creators of Not Your Mama’s Gamer, a feminist gaming community made up of podcasts, livestreams, critical essays and their latest project, Invisibility Blues, a video series exploring race in gaming.

Blackmon told me that issues have gotten better over time, but many mistakes are still being made.

Infamous_2_Nix“When I look at playable women of color in games now I have more hope, but I still cringe at the characters that fall back on old racist stereotypes and add things like “tribal” costumes and “urban” language patterns,” Blackmon wrote, “or some clueless writer’s take on what those language patterns are.”

Color has meaning. And without people of color involved in the designing process, games are routinely unaware of these meanings. For Black women, this problem arises in a very specific way. DePass used the phrase ‘fantasy-black’ to describe the “not too black” design trope in games. As DePass notes, women in gaming designed to read as “Black” frequently have blue or green eyes, straightened or silver hair, or lightened or red-tinted skin. Preferencing black women who read as biracial or display some otherwise exoticized trait has troubling overlaps withcolorism, discrimination based on skin color. Colorism is a serious societal issue, evinced both by the disparity in punishment for black girls with darker or lighter skin and the huge industry of harmful skin-bleaching creams.

kara

So while all women in games are subject to staid metrics of desirability, black women have their blackness negotiated in a way that assumes blackness itself is undesirable. (Conversely, black men in games are almost uniformly depicted as having very dark skin—their color is ostensibly measured according to metrics of threat and physicality.)

“I know the lack of options is often the result of a lack of diversity amongst the development teams and there is no one present to advocate for creating and pushing these choices,” writes Warren. “Real change would need to start there and then consumers will ultimately reap the benefits of having more realistic images to choose from in their gaming experience.”

But instead of a robust and dynamic experience, players are instead faced with repetitive, one-dimensional and largely overlapping portrayals of Black women. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the overreliance on the “strong Black woman” trope. This derisive meme limits portrayal of black women in pop culture to, as author Tamara Winfrey-Harris writes, “indefatigable mamas who don’t need help [and] castrating harpies.”

Continue reading “ICYMI – I’m in this @Offworld piece by @sangfroid_san”

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.

indg3

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.

ICYMI – 13 Games Paste Games writers & Editors are thankful for

A lovely list where I am thankful for #DragonAgeInquisition & other Paste writers gave game thanks ❤

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/11/13-games-were-thankful-for.html

The internet fuels negativity. There’s so much cynicism and pessimism about games online that it can be hard to remember why we play them in the first place. This Thanksgiving we asked some of the contributors to our games section to write about a game they’re thankful for, something that cuts through the bad vibes and reminds them why they love games. Thirteen writers participated, writing about everything from a massive RPG released two weeks ago to a handheld classic older than some of our readers. Join us in reflecting on these games that matter to us, and let us know in the comments what you’re thankful for.

I’m thankful for Dragon Age:Inquisition because it gave me a lot more of Thedas to explore, and learn and love. Getting to meet and welcome back companions over the course of the game made that week of vacation I took worth it. Getting to know their backstories, how Josephine was going to be a Bard at one point, filling in the blanks of what had happened since Kirkwall with Cassandra and Varric. Getting to see my Hawke again, and letting them have a last run of it with the Inquisitor and company was a bit painful but totally worth it.

Since I’m a lore nerd, getting those little codex pages from everywhere we went made me happy, and gave me a bit more knowledge to run around with as I met others that helped to tell the Inquisitions story. Lastly I’m thankful for Trespasser, a DLC that gives me an ending for my Inquisitor as well as a hint as to what could come in the future. It was good to have an ending for everyone, no matter how friendships lasted or shattered.

So thank you Bioware for making me love Thedas, while breaking my heart, making me cry and laugh usually all at once. —Tanya DePass

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! ❤

I got a chance to chat up the lovely folks at @CastletoCastle! Disney Podcast :D

Episode 55: Emily, Mike and Tanya Need Diverse Disney (and Games)

I HAD SO MUCH FUN Chatting with Mike and Emily! I can’t wait to come back and visit, hang out and talk about Disney, diversity and everything in-between. Listen, subscribe, say hello to the hosts. They are lovely folks and you should follow them on twitter and catch up on the podcast.

Another full episode!,

This time around, Emily and Mike are honoured to be joined by the originator of the I Need Diverse Games hashtag initiative, Tanya! We do, of course, discuss videogames and diversity – there is some Disney in there, too – as well as the un-reality of some holiday destinations, the loveliness of Chicago, the strange fear some folks have of diversity, and why YOU should go ahead and do a podcast.

Yes, YOU.

Only if you want to, y’know.

If you enjoyed our discussion as much as we enjoyed having it – and Tanya WILL return to the nebulous Castle to Castle studio – you can let us know through a Like on Facebook, a Follow on Twitter and Tumblr, a (100% free!) subscription on iTunes, and/or an email, to disnerds@gmail.com – and, as always, enjoy!

Links ‘n’ Stuff:

#INeedDiverseGames on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook

Tanya on TwitterTwitch and Offworld (a fantastic article on the lie of ‘historical accuracy’ in fantasy)

Some of Tanya’s favourite folks:

Emily on TwitterTumblr  Mike on Twitter

Direct download: Episode_55_-_Emily_Mike_and_Tanya_Need_Diverse_Disney_and_Games.mp3
Category:general — posted at: 12:01 PM

I got to hangout with the fine folks over at the Dialogue Wheel Podcast!

I recently had a chance to join the folks over at the Dialogue Wheel podcast to talk about #diversity in #DragonAge. This is a short episode, Part 2 will be about an hour long.

Welcome to Date Night with the Dialogue Wheel episode 25, “Diversity in DAI.”

Chachi, Tyler, Evan, and guest Tanya D (@cypheroftyr) discuss diversity in the Dragon Age series of games. This is the first of two installments.

Tanya D’s art is done by the wildly talented @KivaBay as part of her #FeministDeck series. The article mentioned in our podcast can be found here: http://boingboing.net/2015/03/23/in-f…

Tonight’s cast includes Chachi (@ChachiBobinks), Tyler (@Remilbus1138), and Evan (@KllrMannequin).

The Dialogue Wheel theme song is “Please Mind the Dubstep” by Bit Basic. Channel art by Chachi. Original cast art comissioned by @Dinomyte203. All other Dragon Age-related information is property of @BioWare.

A big thanks to Allan Schumacher for pointing me to the Dialogue Wheel. I had a great time hanging out with everyone and can’t wait to revisit with the cast. 😀

I’ll post Part 2 when it’s up!