Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins* – Call for Submissions is Open!

In case you missed the announcement, I am editing an anthology for CRC Press, due out in 2018. Submissions open on June 12, 2017 and end on August 15, 2017. Contributors whose work is selected for publication will be paid.

I am writing/editing a book for Focal Press about marginalized folks in games. It will be a series of essays by game developers whose identities intersect and for lack of a better phrase, fall outside the margins of those who usually get to talk about their experiences.I am also seeking people who are adjacent to gaming who could contribute personal essays about their experiences as marginalized gamers.

This book would be a follow up to Jennifer Brandes Hepler’s Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level Cap, released last year.

For details on the submission process, and more about the book, bop on over to this page and if you’re interested, please send in an essay!

 

My @qgcon schedule!

I’m excited to give a talk at this year’s Queer Games Conference in LA!

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

Abstract:

The games industry has not done POC players, or characters well since the first square smacked a paddle in Pong. As the industry has grown, non white characters have been left behind, or left out entirely. From being absent in genres outside of sports and first person shooters; the gaming landscape has been very pale outside of 2016, where we finally get three black leading men.

However, the reception to the three whole black leads we’ve gotten in games has shown that while the industry has slowly begun to join the rest of us in realizing they are not just leaving money on the table, they are ignoring a large part of their player base that is clamoring for representation from smaller indie studios all the way to AAA blockbusters.

I’ll examine who’s playing games, and dissect responses to the very slow creep towards more diversity by looking at Hangar 13’s Mafia III, UbiSoft’s Watchdogs 2 and EA’s Battlefield 1; how they represent POC and attempt to find out why we’re just getting black men as leads in some franchises, but not women of color, LGBTQIA or other marginalized identities in the lead role.

11:15 AM 1 April, 2017

Micro-talk: Out of Sheer Spite

Abstract:

The title “Out of Sheer Spite” is meant to evoke a line from Maria Bamford’s stand-up routine: “If you stay alive for no other reason at all please do it for spite.” It’s intended to capture not only the feelings of hopelessness that often accompany being a queer person in games (or anywhere) but also the frustration and anger that many of us transmute into motivation to keep going.

In this session of micro-talks, speakers are invited to interpret the theme in any way they like. Coping strategies, abstract musings on the long arc of human history, personal narratives, etc. Speakers include: Kris Ligman, Aevee Bee, Innes McKendrick, Zoe Quinn, Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifer, and Carli Velocci

5:30 PM 1 April, 2017

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.

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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 💜💜

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!

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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! ❤

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

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. ❤

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

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!

I’m paneling at Wizard World Chicago with @geekmelange and other awesome folks :D

Wizard World Chicago – August 20-23, 2015 – Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL

Thanks to the lovely @GeekMelange, I will part of the panel below!

SATURDAY 8/22 3:30-4:15PM

So You Want to Be a Nerd Organizer: Whether you’re starting a podcast, a meet-up group, an online community, a con, a magazine, or a social movement, being a nerdy organizer of any kind means figuring out a lot of logistics.

How do you choose who to work with? Where do you get started? How do you implement rules? How do you choose guests? Come hear some experienced locals chat about how they got started, what’s worked, and what hasn’t.

With Michi Trota (M), Megan Byrd, Sondra de Jong, Tanya DePass, Thomas Glen & Matthew Peters.

I’ll be dashing away right after to Bit Bash Chicago! Hope to see some of you there! ❤