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

TONIGHT: Fight Hate. Drink Geek Cocktails with Bellydancing Super Mario

Raks Geek: Ready Player Two

Friday, March 24 at 8pm (Doors at 7:30pm)
Uptown Underground
4707 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL
Ages 21+

TONIGHT: Join firespinning Mortal Kombat fighters, bellydancing Wookiees, and a sword-wielding Sephiroth!

Raks Geek presents an unforgettable night of nerdiness and dancing paying homage to The Last Starfighter, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Bros, Star Wars, Bioshock Infinte, Lemmings, Batman, and more. We’ll even have specially-crafted geek cocktails!

Tickets will be available at the door. Don’t miss out!

GET YOUR TICKETS

A portion of proceeds from this show will go to I Need Diverse Games.

The first 70 attendees also get free goody bags from Cards Against Humanity!

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.

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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.

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

So you want to describe a POC character…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I finished @unravel_game today… my heart

I finished @Unravel_Game today by Coldwood Studios so here’s a mostly complete playthrough.

XB1 early Access play – First 3 hours, pre-release

 

Playstation 4 Play – Exported to YT from Twitch:

and finally, the last few levels April 12th, including tears at the end.

 

Thank you Unravel team for a long, hard romp through a lot of feelings. Thank you for giving us Yarny and a wonderful story. Also for breaking my heart and putting it back together with a bit of red wool stitching.

 

 

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

Hi all,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tanya

My Updated @GaymerX Schedule

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

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

 

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

Regarding interacting me with conventions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to seeing you all there! ❤

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.