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

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

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!

Excited to visit University of Oregon this week!

It’s my last speaking gig where I have to travel in 2016! Excited to visit with Edmond Chang at his campus.

Keywords for Video Game Studies: Diversity

 

Speaker series

Date: November 30, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm

“Why Diversity and Intentional Inclusion Is Needed in Our Games” with Tanya DePass

A brief talk followed by Q&A with students, staff and faculty on why diversity and inclusion in video games and tabletop is not just important but vital to keeping the genre alive.  From Street Fighter to Mafia III, games are slowly getting better about who’s in the lead, who lives, who dies and who’s story is told; but it’s still moving at a snails pace.  This talk will go into why representation is important for the player base that is not reflected in advertising, or who we see as the “industry” versus who is actually making, playing and researching games.  The history of why #INeedDiverseGames, where it started, where it’s going and why it’s important to bring diversity of race, gender, sexuality and ability to the table along with the latest killing everyone simulator will be threaded throughout the talk.

Tanya DePass is the founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a not-for-profit foundation based in Chicago, that is dedicated to better diversification of all aspects of gaming.  She’s also the founder and Editor In Chief of  Fresh Out of Tokens podcast where games culture is discussed and viewed through a lense of feminism, intersectionality and diversity. She’s also the Diversity Liaison for GaymerX and often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality and other topics at multiple conventions throughout the year. Her writing about games and games critique appears in Uncanny Magazine, Polygon, Wiscon Chronicles, Vice Gaming, Paste Games and other publications.

uofo-event-poster

Series made possible by Women’s and Gender Studies, English, Environmental Studies, the Center for the Study of Women in Society, the New Media and Culture Certificate program, the LGBTQIA Scholars Academic Residence Community, LGBT Education Support Services, UO Housing, the UO Residence Hall Association. and UO Think.Play.
Contact Dr. Edmond Y. Chang for more information at echang@uoregon.edu.

MY @GaymerX East schedule!

gxeast

Not long until GaymerX East in NYC!  Here’s my panel schedule which is much lighter than it was at GX4!!

Saturday November 12th

1:oo pm: Gaming Journalism from an LGBTQ Perspective

TimesOUT the LGBTQIA affinity network for The New York Times would like to moderate a discussion about the LGBTQIA perspective in gaming journalism.

2:30 pm: How to Twitch Safely as  POC/LGBTQIA/Female ID’d streamer 

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.

4:00 pm: Miss Representation

Women from diverse backgrounds discuss the terrible job that media does of representing us and others from marginalized backgrounds. We focus on discussing women, but we’ll discuss all genders, and sexualities.

Sunday November 13th

12:30 pm What Playing RPG’s Can Teach you About Yourself

Playing an RPG is a great way to explore someone else’s mindset for a few hours a week, but the characters we make can teach us about ourselves too. A bard might show you love helping people out, or a sorceress might help you realize you’re a woman.

2:00 pm Your Story Doesn’t Need Cis Straight White Dudes

Tired of hearing about how some setting has no one like you because “the lore?” Let’s talk about stories where people like you (or like someone else) get to be the default, and straight white cis men are rare or not even present for a change of pace!

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

I consulted on Paper Drumpf and I’d like you to try it out #indiegamedev

I was approached to be a consultant on Paper Drumpf by Buchanan productions a little while ago. I admit I had a split second of hmm, what’s this then? When I got the DM.

However, the game isn’t simply a LOL Trump sucks, quick and easy game to run through in a few minutes. It’s satire but it’s smart satire that has a message about choices, hard ones that shape a person throughout their life, and through a job that changes everything about them.

It’s not kind to any of the candidates but it’s not an endorsement of anyone either. It’s an exercise that made me think about choice, the choices facing the country I live in come November and beyond. It’s about one staffer who gets to see the dark underbelly of politics, and who has to know when to make the right call versus the easy one.

 

Don’t take my word for it, check out this trailer then continue on, but first trigger warnings:

THIS GAME IS A SATIRE. THE CHARACTERS DEPICTED IN THIS GAME ARE WORKS OF FICTION, DEPICTING EVENTS THAT ARE NOT REAL AND NEVER HAPPENED. NAMES, CHARACTERS, PLACES, AND INCIDENTS ARE THE PRODUCTS OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION AND ARE USED FICTITIOUSLY. OBVIOUSLY NONE OF THIS COULD EVER POSSIBLY HAPPEN, THAT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS.

WARNING: Depending on your choices, this game can contain scenes depicting implied physical threat, online harassment, and characters with homophobic, misogynistic, and/or Islamophobic views.

The game isn’t easy, especially if you choose the option to play as a black character. It’s…reflective of some truths in our world for black people encountering law enforcement. I suggest you try that path first, before re-rolling with the white character.

So give it a try, it’s free but if you can spare $5 the devs (including me!) would appreciate it. You’ll also get the great soundtrack which really helped set the tone of each scene as I played through it.

Download Paper Drumpf – Name your own price

“Why shouldn’t a president serve himself?”

Welcome to PAPER DRUMPF, a game about two fictional presidential candidates (Daffy Drumpf and Killary Blinton) vying for the nation’s votes in the week before election day 2016. You play as Abigail Thoreau, one of many campaign managers working for Drumpf.

The goal? Make America Win Again.

  • Eleven chapters of a combined 1-3 hours length, with save points for you to take a break between each chapter.
  • Choice-based text adventure with original art and music, developed using Inkle Studio’s ‘Ink’ scripting language and Elias’s adaptive music technology.
  • Your choices will affect the fate of America and your character’s future.
  • An immersive story putting you up against the police, protestors, a nice guy, cold call recipients, and other key threats facing America.
  • Featuring the latest in anti-tunnel-from-Mexico-through-the-wall technology and blast-processing*

* May not actually feature either of these things.

Whilst PAPER DRUMPF is being released for free, please consider supporting us by paying the suggested $5 tier or more to help support the decidedly not-free development of this game and those like it!

In return, you will receive:

  • a high-quality downloadable copy of Seb Peters’ fantastic soundtrack [due to be uploaded within a week or two, so check back soon for your copy]
  • karma / universal good-will for paying for something you enjoy!
  • a free copy of a much longer, paid-for game in a few months, either with a Steam Key or itch.io copy depending on how our Steam Greenlight goes! Think of this game as an early access copy, my friends.

If you enjoy PAPER DRUMPF, vote for our longer anthology, 2016: GAME OF THE YEAR, on Steam Greenlight now!

If you play this and like it and would like to see more from the team then please give it a Yes vote on Steam Greenlight and comment. I’m over there keeping an eye on things as well as the Musician Seb Peters.

DIRECTOR/WRITER: Greg Buchanan (@gregbuchanan)
MUSIC: Seb Peters (@soundofseb)
PROGRAMMING: Matt Nichols (@pollkem)
ART: Adam Coburn (@curbychup)

CONSULTANT: Tanya DePass (@cypheroftyr)
BUCHANAN PRODUCTIONS TITLE ANIMATION: Rex Smeal (@rexsmeal)

 

Final @PAX West schedule!

PAXWest

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

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

Diversity Lounge PAX West

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

Friday September 2nd, 12:30 pm Sasquatch Theatre

Ask the Game Masters

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

Panelists include:

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

 

Friday, September 2nd 4:30 pm Chipmunk Theatre

Challenging Assumptions about Diversity with Data

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

Panelists include:

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

 

Friday September 2nd 7:30 pm Sphinx Theatre

Get your politics out of our games!

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

Panelists include:

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

 

Friday, September 2nd 9:30 pm Chicken Theatre

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

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

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

 

Saturday, September 2nd 2:00 pm Hippogriff Theatre

Making and Promoting Non-Traditional Characters in Games

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

Panelists:

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

 

Sunday September 4th, 4:00 pm Chipmunk Theatre

Git Gud, Ally

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

Panelists:

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

Registration now open for @orcacon! I’m a Guest of Honor

I’m super, super excited for OrcaCon next January! This will be my first time being a guest of honor at a convention and it’s all about gaming and diversity!! So if you can make it, I’d love to see you there! ❤

There’s so many cool GoH’s too! Check out this line up and come get your gaming geek on with us!

2017orcacon_title

Standard Memberships:
OrcaCon Memberships are $55.00 for a Standard 3-Day Membership and $45.00 for children 7-17 years of age. These prices will continue until December, when we cut off online sales or if we sell out. We plan on selling 3-day Memberships at the door for $65.00 adult / $45 child. If we do not sell out before December, we will be offering single day Memberships. We’ll have more information later in the year regarding day passes.

VIP Memberships:
Our VIP Memberships are $250.00 each. VIP Membership holders will get special VIP badges, ribbons, an OrcaCon T-shirt, a pair of OrcaCon dice, an OrcaCon Swag bag full of games and other surprises. Plus, you also have access to the VIP Lounge & Green Room, which is specifically for you to hang out, grab a snack, and mingle with our Guests of Honor and Special Guests.

Children memberships (Ages 7-12):

Children age 6 and under receive a complimentary membership with their family, and will still require a badge. If the memberships you purchase are for attendees under the age of 18, you will be required to bring the OrcaCon Parental Authorization form. Please refer to our Minors Policy.

Memberships are subject to acceptance and adherence to OrcaCon Convention Policies and our Anti-Harassment Policy. Memberships are not allowed to be transferred or sold and are non-refundable. Registered Members are entitled to attend all three days of OrcaCon 2017.

Picking up your Membership badge

Registration will be located inside the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett lobby. When you enter the hotel, take a left and you will see Registration. Badges can be picked up at any time during open Registration hours. We do not mail badges. Valid government-issued photo identification is required for all adults. There will be no exceptions. This does not include school IDs. Minors do not need to have photo identification. However, they must have a signed Parental Permission form in hand, a registered adult member with them, and their registered adult must have a valid government-issued photo ID with them in order to pickup a minor badge.

Children’s Badges

Adults can pick up badges for their minors without their minors being present. Please make sure you have the appropriate Parental Permission Form(s) with you when you come to Registration. Parental Permission Forms are required for all minors that are attending with anyone other than their legal guardian. All Minors MUST have a legal adult attending with them, and on premises at all times.

If you have any further questions, or would like more information or clarification on anything, please email our Registration Team at registration@orcacon.org and we would be happy to assist you!

We look forward to seeing you at the convention!

Upcoming Convention Shenanigans…

I’m finally slowing down, a bit on the convention circuit. In a couple of days I’ll be on my way to CONvergence with GeekMelange & JesseLex for a few days of fandom, friends and tomfoolery.

If you like seeing me on panels, or hey just want to see what these are about, here’s a link to my CONvergence panel schedule.  You can follow along via twitter, @cypheroftyr and the official convention hashtag is #cvg2016

I get back for a couple days rest, then Podcast Movement! I’m going mostly because it’s in my city and I don’t have to travel far, pay for a hotel or anything like that. It’s also going to be awesome to go to a convention and not be a panelist. Excited to go and learn from folks, learn more stuff to make Fresh Out of Tokens better for y’all.

That’s it until September 2nd when I head to Seattle for PAX West; where #INeedDiverseGames will join the Diversity Lounge and (hopefully!) I’ll be on panels for  stuff besides diversity 101 chat. I get a couple weeks off, then off I go back to the west coast for GaymerX 4 in Santa Clara.

I’ve got a week or so till I head back to Cali for Big Bad Con where I’m a Special Guest and I’ll be doing some panels, and hanging out with cool folks. Super excited for a panel on the Fake Geek Girl fallacy I proposed.

That will pretty much round out 2016 for my convention attendance, and I start it all over again in 2017 with OrcaCon and my first Guest of Honor gig! ❤

Stream update for week of June 27, 2016

taloscat

Just one stream this week, as I’ll be away at a convention again. The awesome Vahn J gifted me with The Talos Principle on steam, so I’ll be streaming it on Tuesday June 28th approx 7pm CDT. This will be a totally blind playthrough, never seen a stream of it or much game play.

After that, streaming will resume on Tuesday, July 5th with game TBD, or perhaps more Talos Principle depending on where I get with it. Mass Effect will resume once I figure out what I did to the game by modding it so I could use a controller on PC.

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

I’m going to be a guest at @BigBadCon!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1157274964/big-bad-con-2016/widget/video.html

So, I was invited to be a guest at Big Bad Con and their Kickstarter is not just live but doing damned well! They’ve already blown their stretch goals out of the water, one of which was having me there 😀

There’s still time to back the conventions Kickstarter and see what new stretch goals are added before it ends on June 2nd!

Update #3 May 4 2016

Tanya, Jason, James, and more!

In just two days, we’ve blasted through another three stretch goals. I’m so excited we’re going to have these wonderful people at the con running stellar events!

Tanya DePass will be hosting panels on:

  • Diversity in Gaming
  • The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy
  • Toxicity in Tabletop

Jason Morningstar will be running these amazing events:

  • Panels for both Big Bad Teens and adults!
  • The Grand Warren: a multi-table multi-warren game of the Warren with over-arching threats affecting all the rabbits in the field!
  • Apportionment, a diplomatic parlor larp (the sequel to Sirai: Civil War)
  • A deep dark cobwebby game of The Skeletons late at night

James Mendez Hodes will be running sessions of these awesome games at the con:

  • AfroFuture
  • Katanas & Trenchcoats
  • Shinobigami

ICYMI – How can we find Community as Gamers? – @UncannyMagazine

Issue10_MayJune16_coverFINAL_MED

ICYMI, I’ve got an article in the May/June 2016 issue of Uncanny Magazine! You can read it in full at uncannymagazine.com!

Gorgeous Cover art: “Bubbles and Blast Off” by Galen Dara

Here’s a snippet for you, please check out the rest on the site!

Community is a word that doesn’t always come to mind when one talks about gaming. When you ask what gaming is like these days, you’ll get a variety of answers. Sharing a knowing smile when you see someone else in a Mass Effect N7 hoodie, or catching a glimpse of a Legend of Zelda Triforce necklace, reminds you that you’re not alone. Sometimes, you may get a not–so–welcoming look like Oh, you’re one of those people, when someone notices the pretty necklace you’re wearing and you tell them it’s from your favorite game.

You can also support Uncanny by subscribing, supporting them on Patreon, the Uncanny Magazine store; and they’ve got a page where you can support contributors to this great issue!

Uncanny is also nominated for a Hugo Award for best Semi-Prozine!

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.

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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!

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.

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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.

 

The @Offworld Collection Kickstarter is live!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1315256652/the-offworld-collection/widget/video.html

About this project

The Offworld Collection is a beautiful hardcover book that contains some of the best and most insightful writing about video games ever printed on a page. It features a tremendously diverse roster of contributors, writing about everything from the fascinating world of women’s pinball, to the lingo of Chinese games culture, to the small, intimate games that explore how young adults deal with sex and technology. It’s a book for anyone with a passion for design, play and criticism, and we need your help to bring it to life!

The awesome book you'll get (mockup)

When editors Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson relaunched Offworld, our goal was to build a website that focused on the writing and game design work of women, people of color and other marginalized folks. We wanted to create a space that actively welcomed perspectives that are often ignored by mainstream game culture, a place where where we could share our expertise and insight into the art of game creation and the culture of play.

After a year of publishing incredible content from an all-star roster of writers, we’re running this campaign to pay for the cost of publishing a book collection—and to monetarily reward the people who have done this important work. We want to make a lovely, wonderfully-designed object to celebrate the excellence of Offworld and its contributors, a physical thing we can hold up any time anyone says “there just aren’t” people like us working in this space.

 

 BACK THIS PROJECT

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The Offworld Collection is a sophisticated but accessible look at an amazing landscape, where small, simple experiences can reflect our humanity. We hope it can introduce more people to the full breadth of what games, technology and play can mean, and who can participate in them.

We’re so proud of all the features in the book, which are just as varied as its contributors: Daniel Starkey delves into a game that reimagines Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying through the lens of Native storytelling traditions; game developer Catt Small writes about how designing a black woman protagonist mattered—even in a shooting game set inside tiny spaceships; Soha Kareem writes about healing trauma by making text games; Katriel Page explores how game-making is like poetry, while Shareef Jackson explains how it’s like hip hop.

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Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson also contribute features on everything from games where you can empathize with monsters to the tragic mortality of virtual pets. And we’re especially proud that Gita Jackson’s essay “We Are Not Colonists” was highlighted as one of the year’s best articles by the website Critical Distance.

CONTRIBUTORS

Here’s a full list of writers who appear in The Offworld Collection:

EXPENSES

The primary cost of the campaign will simply be publishing and shipping an 8.5 x 11″ buckram hardcover book. We’ve also got to pay for book design, video editing, administrative costs, sticker art and printing, contributor copies, and fees for both Kickstarter and the fulfillment company Make That Thing. And of course, we’re going to be paying all the writers off the bat for every feature we include.

STRETCH GOALS

As far as our stretch goals, they’re simple: The more money we make, the more money we give back to our writers:

  • If we reach $40,000, each writer receives $50 more per feature.
  • If we reach $50,000, each writer receives $100 more per feature.
  • If we reach $60,000, each writer receives $150 more per feature.

If we go past these goals, you guessed it: we’ll just keep giving everyone more money.

 BACK THIS PROJECT

REWARDS

If you decide to back us (and we hope you do!) we’re keeping your options pretty simple as well:

  • DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT — $15: The PDF edition of the collection.
  • HARD COPY — $40: The hardcover and the PDF. A simple but elegant option.
  • BONUS ITEMS — $50: A hardcover edition, the PDF, AND two die-cut stickers by artistElizabeth Simins: a cosmically beautiful Offworld design as well as her popular and instructive BLOCK sticker.
  • FRIENDSHIP MODE — $75: Two (2) copies of the hardcover, the PDF and the stickers. Give the second copy to someone you care about!
  • ILLUMINATI LEVEL PATRONAGE — $100: One hardcover, one PDF, the stickers, and your name emblazoned on a very special thank you page in the book. (We reserve the right to edit for appropriateness.)
  • NUCLEAR FAMILY — $110: Three (3) copies of the hardcover, plus the PDF and the stickers.
  • OFFWORLD QUEST — $500: A tier for true pioneers. You get the stickers, the PDF, five copies of the book, and a very spe custom Twine game created for you by the Offworld team. Also a place in our hearts.

Behold, our stickers:

The last year at Offworld has been unforgettable, and we can’t wait to transform the work that made it so special into a beautiful, tangible thing and share it with all of you.

Risks and challenges

All of the content has already been written, and we’ve hired the fulfillment company Make That Thing to work with us at every step of the process. They’ve helped us structure our budget for both the initial goal and the stretch goals, and will ensure that the book is published and shipped to our backers as quickly and professionally as possible.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn’t help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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

A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!

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

GeekShow VideoGame Edition

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

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

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

—- VStheUNIVERSE includes:

Aaron J. Amendola
Chris Chapin
Sam Begich

—- and are joined by:

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

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”

I visited with the fine folks at @OneShotRPG!

128. Fool’s Journey/Tanya DePass

This week ONE SHOT is offering a double feature!

Podcast Episode

Next up, James talks with Tanya DePass of the “I Need Diverse Games” hashtag. #INDG Together they try to clarify what folks mean when they ask for diversity and how that could have a positive impact on the gaming community.

CHEYENNE WALL-GRIMES
TANYA DEPASS

More streaming to come…

So with all this time on my hands, I’m going to do more streaming.  I’ve made some updates to my Twitch page and will work on some mod bots (Night!Bot/Moo!Bot) as well as try to get some things set up so donations can be acknowledged in stream. I’ll probably even put myself on cam more often too. When I’m streaming from PS4 or PC anyway. I don’t have a Kinect and don’t plan to get one.

I usually stream on Twitch: twitch.tv/cypheroftyr or over at twitch.tv/INeedDivGames which will get it’s own post over at that blog.

Twitch update image

In case the image is too small to fully read; here’s the Panel text for each one:

Where to find me!

Hello! you have stumbled across cypher’s twitch channel. When I broadcast, I’ll tweet out to @cypheroftyr

Want to drop me a line about a stream? You can do so at cypher.of.tyr@gmail.com

Missed a stream and want to see what I played? I upload my sessions to my youtube channel: http://bit.ly/1vqk3u8

Thanks for stopping by!

Rules:

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

1 – Profanity allowed, within reason

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

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

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

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

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

Questions? Comments? Whisper during streaming or message me.

Tip Jar:

So I suddenly lost my job on December 15th, right after a convention and a few days before the holidays. Normally I wouldn’t ask for tips, but right now every little bit helps.

Thank you in advance for keeping me on air. Donations will go towards paying the internet, and game purchases for streaming.

Schedule: 

So schedule, I’m going to try the following to see how it works out:

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: 11am CST – 3:00 pm CST

Special streams will be announced on Twitter and my site: cypheroftyr.com before they happen.

Become my Patreon:

For those folks who may want to support my work as a streamer, game critic and maybe soon video blogger, on a monthly basis.

You can support for as little as $1 USD per month, and every single Patreon is deeply appreciated.

Thank you.

It’s @GaymerX go time!

GX logo

By the time this posts I’ll be in San Jose, CA for GX3 aka GaymerX –  December 11 – 13, 2015

Here’s my GX3 schedule!

I’ll be speaking briefly about my role as Diversity Liaison & on why it’s important to GX to be diverse during the opening ceremonies, Friday, December 11th, 10:00 am GX Talks A

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!

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

Why #INeedDiverseGames Wiscon 39 Panel – Audio

Audio of the Wiscon 39 panel on Why #INeedDiverseGames.

Featuring:

  • shareefjackson –  Shareef’s work on STEM diversity, including video games, has appeared in sources such as Scientific American, NPR, and Jet Magazine.His work can be found at ShareefJackson.com.  He also hosts the Operation Cubicle podcast with JP Fairfield, and is a frequent guest on the Spawn On Me podcast..
  • lifeinneon –  Autumn is the creator of Player 2, a game that helps players resolve real-life interpersonal conflicts, and Reset, an interactive fiction game about cyborg kink in a transhuman future. She wanted to participate because as a gamer since childhood, Autumn has never seen games reflect her own experiences.
  • quinnae_moon – Katherine Cross  Katherine is a scholar-critic who writes about online culture and video gaming for various academic and popular publications, from Women’s Studies Quarterly to Polygon and Offworld. She wanted to be on the panel because she believes games should be for everybody.
  • raevenx is a long time member of the gaming community playing a variety of console games and MMOs over the years. She is an avid member of many aspects of fandom and an active cosplayer. Renee wanted to participate in this discussion because the community is in trouble and also because she greatly respects the work that Tanya is doing on our behalf.

  • Ajit George – Ajit is the co-founder of the emerging advocacy group “Gaming as Other” that consults with game design companies and conventions on diversity, safety and inclusion in geek interests and spaces.
  • Spawn point of the hashtag Tanya D. aka cypheroftyr. whose work has appeared in Offworld BoingBoing, coming soon to MOTD Media, as well as multiple guest appearances on gaming and diversity related podcasts.

How to support #INeedDiverseGames

Ways to support #INeedDiverseGames Initiatives:

Money wise: Post on passing the hat and transparency re: donations

Social Media:

  • Follow on twitter and @ us when you find diverse game info
  • Follow us on Facebook, send us links and articles relevant to diversity in gaming
  • If you make games, send us a note! We love hearing from you! We want to promote game makers that are widening the pool
  • Submit links and articles you see on gaming, diversity, gender and lgbtqia issues. We can’t do everything by ourselves. This is a group effort
  • Be a force for good in the world, seriously. Spread the word on kickstarters, indiegogo’s and other diverse projects

Be an INDG Ambassador when you go to conventions:

  • If you plan to attend geek/gaming centric cons, let us know so we can send you swag to distribute. We can’t go to every convention so we need folks to spread the word for us!
  • If you buy #INeedDiverseGames merchandise please wear it at cons & take photos that are spread around social media.
  • Talk about this at cons, go forth and panel on diversity in gaming, please!

@NYMGamer #102 – Tedium In Games

Episode 102: Elfroot, Bells, and Potato Crops, or Pick, Plant, Repeat Forever: Tedium in Games

A very quick, run by post-C2E2 update

So both panels went well, both:   “Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey” where I had the honor of sitting alongside Keidra Chaney, Mikki Kendall, Karlyn, and moderated by the wonderful Jennifer Cross. We had a full-house and, and also, Gail Simone attended & live tweeted! Mikki ran off the stage to hug her. It was so gratifying to see so many POC in that room.

Then I was asked to sit on #YesAllTrolls: When Trolling goes too Far, moderated by Mikki Kendall, along with TheWayoftheId, Jennifer Cross, Molly E, and PDilla. It wasn’t a packed house but that’s ok. There was a high percentage of white dudes that were getting up and leaving the panel room. I don’t know what they expected from the panel, but clearly we weren’t giving them what they wanted.

Sunday was a day to roam around the exhibitor hall and get stuff. I missed out on the talking Elcor plush, but I did get an N7 scarf. I got to see awesome people too. I got to hug Lauren Jankoswski! She is a sweet person and I’m glad I’m her friend. Met the awesome, awesome person behind the KeystrokeBlog who was livetweeting many of the panels I went to as well.

All was not 100% awesome in C2E2 land however. I did spot a “Basic Bitches Read Marvel” shirt in the artist alley which I have tweeted at C2E2 (as of yet no response). So yeah, that’s not really making me feel welcome at what should be a local, welcoming, happy place of geekery among my folks. More on that in it’s own post.

But day$job beckons and I must away from the blogosphere for a bit. A full write up of panels I went to  and was on as well as a requisite loot-haul photoset.

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!

Repost – BGG (Black Girl Gamer)–LFG, PST!

Snagged from Geek Feminism’s Blog. Reposting since it reached in and grabbed me by the heart.

Women, feminism, and geek culture

2011 April 8

Cori Roberts is founder of Gameinatrix.com and remaining founding member of Gamer Girls Radio, and has been involved in gaming media for over 8 years. She’s currently obsessed with the MMO Fallen Earth and anything involving vampires in the world of Second Life.

This post was originally published at The Border House.

A well-dressed black woman holds a machine gun.African American (black) woman from the recent Call of Duty commercial. One of the very few times a black woman has been used in the marketing of any game.

While several gamers are fighting for the right to game with all the controversy surrounding the community as of late, there are a few of us women gamers waging another kind of war in our own respective communities. It’s not just the standard girl gamer war, where there is incessant name calling, references to genitalia or even the normal male chauvinist crap. The battle is having to defend why we are even playing games, in the first place. Why would “we” be playing games, because black women don’t play games.

I’m one of these elusive, mythical, Black (African American for you new kiddies) women gamers who purportedly do not exist. While this particular battle is not a boss battle for me, it is an annoying and repetitive battle. It’s one I have to wage most every time I encounter a new “sistah” who can barely operate her iPhone, but thinks she is somehow more versed in games and who should be playing them, than I am. The first thing I’m asked is how I ended up even playing games, like it’s a disease I somehow contracted. Then I’m told how “different” and “odd” I am. My mother bought me my first console at age six and I never knew I was any different from other little girl. Never knew I was a geek, a nerd, or any other derivative until I was much older. However, after I realized I was one of these beings, referred to as a geek, I kept it secret and tried hard to suppress it. I can tell you I use to rent games at Block Buster and often lied about who they were for. Once out on my own, gaming became part my regular daily routine. Get up, school, work, come home, game. When I couldn’t afford to go clubbing, you’d find me on the floor of my furniture-less apartment, head propped up with pillows, faithful dog at my side, playing games. The only thing I bought other than games was clothes. Come on, I’m still a girl! It should suffice to say, I obviously don’t fit the mold of fat white guy, with glasses. I was a thin shapely black chick with glasses (used to wear glasses anyway), who spent her free time perusing not only Cosmo magazine, but strategy guides in now defunct Electronics Boutique. The guys began to love when I came into EB every Friday, because other guys followed me in and they stayed to chat when they realized I actually loved games just as much as they did. Me, wearing my designer perfume and clothes, could take a guy down in Tekken in 30 seconds flat. After getting over the shock of being beaten by me, I always had a new friend and finally there in EB I stopped feeling odd and out of place. I fit in somewhere. However the older I got, the more dissonance I noticed with other black women once I mentioned video games or anything geeky for that matter. All of those silent lunches finally lead to me speaking up and a mini-battle royale about the Lifetime Network and gaming where I schooled my “sistah” on the world of gaming and technology. I also shared with her that technology is an area where black women were being left in the dust. Most of us are still taught and truly believe as black women, it’s just our not our place to be “smart”. Before the eye rolling begins, this is not true of all women of color, but it’s true enough. So true that I still have yet to pick up an Essence, Ebony, or Jet magazine and see an entire tech section (not to pick on Essence, this is true of a lot of women’s magazines). Hip Hop mags like XXL do share some tech info with its readers, but tend to have more male readers than females. It’s also still true that most black women tend to steer clear of the whole technology thing and can barely use an iPhone, let alone know which cables go where on their Xbox. While we’re excelling in other areas, still some black women view the gaming industry as a childish and MALE one. As a result, our presence in the world of tech and gaming is lagging far behind the rest of the world.

As a Black woman (I prefer being called Black to African American, I didn’t move here from Africa and become American, I was born here), I find it disheartening that even so many of our notable Black public figures and role models don’t even acknowledge the gaming culture unless it’s the latest fad. For instance Oprah Winfrey has had a show or two about gaming addiction and how horrid gaming is, only to give away the Kinect on her show later. As a gamer I was not impressed or fooled. I once heard Tyra Banks say on her show something akin to she thought men were so childish playing games, and she hated when her man did it. Women don’t wanna play games, chile! These women are considered great role models and several young women look up to them. I wonder if they know the message they are sending to young black women. Yes you’re teaching them that beauty is subjective, but are teaching them that technology is for those other folk. This, in my opinion, will lead to a nation of beautiful black women who are technologically incompetent. They will know the best way to maintain their weave but not how to change out a faulty hard drive. Or even how to do something as simple as defrag a hard drive.

Take note, most of the women you’ll see fighting for a place in the gaming industry usually are not of ethnicity. I explained to my friend the facts and figures of the gaming industry, and how our lives as black women should not be all about being a nurse (this is a common thing in the black community, pushing daughters to be nurses or get into law, go after the money), but instead embracing a new culture, a culture that does in fact make a LOT of money, a culture that, though considered controversial at times, is indeed the future. A culture where most times, our differences are celebrated, not hated. Ok, perhaps I’m pushing the Utopia envelope here, but aside from a very few assholes, I’ve NEVER been called out for the color of my skin. Admittedly, I hail from several racial backgrounds, but I identify as being your average garden variety, Diva, black, woman. I pointed out to her that I’ve never been told I wasn’t dressed appropriately to game. That my manicure to was too old to game. That I wasn’t black enough to game. The only thing that has ever held me back is not having the SAME game as a gamer buddy.

Said friend turned her head to look out the window and quietly said to me, “I just don’t get it…you gamers…” But she did call a few months later sounding bubbly and told me she’d bought her first console. Yes it was a Wii, but she was planning on getting an Xbox, as well. She’d seen some ‘interesting’ things at Game Stop that she actually wanted to play. But I dare say if I hadn’t opened my mouth, if I hadn’t in essence said that gaming as entertainment is okay, she would never have played. Though I’ve managed to bring some of my friends to the dark side, I still have to deal with strangers form assumptions based on the fact that I’m a gamer. If I’m in Best Buy or any store’s PC section, I still get the tech behind the desk who feels the need to try to explain to me every detail of my video card and how it works, where to install it on my motherboard. I hate the condescension in their voice and this is after I’ve told them a million and one times that I’m a gamer. I have every console, (except the 3DS, but give me time) and even a gaming PC, that I built myself, from scratch, even after I tell them I run a gaming website and podcast and have for 8 years. They don’t hear me until I get a little belligerent and then they are shocked and awed. The next thing is to test me, because it’s just impossible to them that black woman as a gamer exists. I am always told that of course I must not be hard core, no woman is. I can tell you that I am indeed as hardcore as they come. And just because I may wear a weave, wig, extensions or like shoes, doesn’t detract from that. I’d like to tell my fellow “sistahs” that yes, you can be fabulous, and play games, and know how your iPhone works. I do not find it cute or charming when you have a beautiful piece of technology and you use it more as a status symbol and can’t even figure out how to make a simple call. You can be smart, and know how to fix your own PC, iPhone, or hook up your own HDTV and then feel extra proud to sit down and watch your Sex in the City re-runs, without having to call your man over to do it for you. I am hoping one day to be in the store and not have to tell another black woman to buy games for her daughter, not just her son, and not hear the mother say she won’t like it, when clearly the little girl is interested. I’d like to see more black women put their daughters in front of a computer and push them to learn more math, science and physics. But sadly I see this particular battle as a very long one. While I am graced to have a few black women who do share my passion for gaming, my white girlfriends (whom I love just as much) far outnumber the black ones. I do wish I had more black gaming girlfriends (and in the same city would be nice) so this black girl can stop constantly LFG.

I miss shooting Floaters and Lobster Men

I’m not sure who remembers X-Com UFO defense *… but this game UFO Aftermath made me think of what X-Com ** could have been if it had remained a viable title past Win98.

I loved X-Com and wish I could find a copy of it for the Playstation. I have it for PC still, but it won’t run under Windows XP [I haven’t been able to get it to run anyway].

But I think I’m back in the alien killin business! And I’ve found that there’s a sequel to Aftermath, called UFO Aftershock.

Now off to kill some alien scum. Edit: Found X-Com UFO Defense for download =) if anyone was interested

/nostalgia flashback

Jack Thompson thinks Rockstar is trying to get people to kill him

Bwahahaha… this made me laugh. Jackie boy is at it again. This time he’s accusing Take Two of encouraging people to kill him.

Gamepolitics already covered this issue, so I’m a little late to the game. But this is freaking awesome! I now really want a 360 just so I can vicariously give Thompson something back for all of his buffoonery.

I love it… I just love it!

On the casual use of the word rape when playing MMO’s

I play City of Heroes and City of Villains, an online massively multiplayer game or MMO. Recenty while doing some PuG [Pick up Group] missions the word rape was tossed around quite casually as an equivalent of really kicking some ass in the game. Now as a female player, it really bothered me and for the most part the team members were ok when I voiced a complaint about the casual tossing around of the word.

I was surprised that this kept happening all weekend while I played. I don’t know if this is a common occurence in online gaming now, but have people just lost all sense of propriety when interacting in an online environment or are more idiots just getting into online gaming?

I don’t want to come off as some over sensitive, whiney woman who can’t take the heat of the online gaming kitchen but since when was it ok to just casually toss about the word rape, fag, or use that’s so gay as replacements for beaten, destroyed, or that’s stupid.

I guess a part of me wants to believe its just the stupidity of teenagers or idiot frat boys that are usually playing online games, but if this trend continues I may just have to play solo all the time.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

I got my usual EB Games email newsletter today… someone explain to me what the hell the highlighted text is supposed to mean? [All emphasis is mine]

Nariko, a fiery redhead with a cursed ancient sword, takes on thousands to save her clan. Although we wonder where she managed to find L’Oréal’s Ruby Rush hair color in old-world Japan, we’re willing to overlook that because of the cinematic-quality animation and context-sensitive action.

Much more than a mere button-masher, Heavenly Sword rewards you for using the style and grace of a feminine heroine, rather than just stomping about. However, you’ll still be able to run up a substantial body count with a variety of fighting stances and attacks.

Trailer page for Heavenly Sword

From today’s Washington post…about those illustrious game careers

washingtonpost.com

 

An Inside Play To Sway Video Gamers
By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 3, 2007; D01

In his career as a game reviewer, Ghislain Masson has been to Russia twice, and once to Chernobyl for a promotion of a computer game set in that area’s nuclear meltdown zone.

His other junkets include trips to India paid for by Microsoft and a five-day extravaganza in Las Vegas funded by Midway. There was also the shindig near his home base in Paris to promote a game in the Rayman series that included juggling lessons from circus performers.

A little validation from Masson, a writer for the French game magazine PC Jeux, and others like him can help tip the scales in the competitive game industry, where a cutting-edge title takes many years and millions of dollars to develop. That’s why game designers, like movie studios, have learned to lavishly court such tastemakers, the guys who write for the major blogs and magazines and play a key role in today’s big-bucks video game industry.

Continue reading “From today’s Washington post…about those illustrious game careers”