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!

 

I’m editing an anthology!

I can finally share the news I’ve been sitting on for a while! 
I’m super excited to announce that I’ve been asked to edit a collection of essays from marginalized game developers and folks adjacent to the industry by CRC Press. The book will be available in 2018, exact date to be determined. 

Submission information will be available soon. 

To get an idea what type of stories have been published in a similar work by CRC check out Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level Cap edited by Jennifer Brandes Hepler

Thank you to Jennifer Hepler for the chance to work on this anthology and thinking of me as someone to trust with this. 
I’m looking forward to reading your stories and as the book takes shape, a release date is confirmed and the cover is finalized, I’ll be sharing with you over the coming months.

My @WisconSF3 schedule for #Wiscon41

So many panels, much moderation, oh Andraste kick me in the ass now. But if you wanna see the whole shebang, here’s the full Wiscon Schedule [Grid format] Panel moderators are denoted with [M] below.

Destroying the Mythos Around Female Gamers and Games for Women

Friday 2:30 pm University B / Ann Lemay, Ceri Young, KJ, Tanya DePass [M] & Kate Lansky Panel Hashtag: #FemaleGameWriters

There is a continuing false perception that video games are thoroughly dominated by male gamers and male developers. However data disproves this fallacy. This panel will discuss the actual demographics of gaming, and how to buck the idea of “appealing” to women with old stereotypes and tropes. I.E women are all casuals, and games like FFXV with an all male cast supposedly appeal to women for a change. We’ll also look at how narrative can drive an audience to or away from a game series such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.

Queer Eye for Sci-Fi Friday 4:00 pm Assembly Panel Hashtag: #QueerEyeForSciFi

Mark Oshiro [M], Jennifer Cross, Tanya DePass, & Suzanne Walker

There is a long and complex history of queerness in science fiction, from queer-coded villains in pulp novels to the more diverse spectrum of characterization in the last decade. Join panelists as they discuss the history of queerness within the genre, both the good and the bad.

Finn is Not Your Son Saturday 12:00 am Assembly Panel Hashtag #FinnIsNot

Mark Oshiro [M] Tanya DePass, Maia Mrkvicka

Characters of color are often reduced to the background, de-centered even when they have a prominent place in a film, game, book, etc. There’s a trend of calling characters “my problematic son” or “my helpless child.” When applied to characters of color that are already pushed to the side, this turns to a trope of infantalizing non-white characters. How do we stop this? How can we talk about characters of color without calling them children?

You Can’t Force Load A Canon Saturday 8:30 am Caucus Panel Hashtag: #NoForceloadCanon

Tanya DePass [M], Sunny Moraine, Mark Oshiro, Saathi P.

Let’s have a discussion about fan entitlement across all forms of media. It isn’t just limited to games. Why are some fans this way? Does it harm a fandom when fans go beyond head canon into demanding their ship become canon? (Inspired by this post: http://tmirai.tumblr.com/post/155653724789/rant-on-fan-entitlement-shipping)

Following and Friendship: Social Media Etiquette for Fans

Saturday 10:00 am Capitol A Panel Hashtag: #SocMedFanEtiquette

Tanya DePass [M], Michi Trota, Caitlin Rosberg, Kelly Sue DeConnick

When our faves share their thoughts and give us a peek into their personal lives, it’s enticing to engage as much as possible, but when we’re one of their thousands of followers and they’re likely to receive several notifications at once, where should we draw the line? As creators and creatives, the tenuous balance between being approachable and setting boundaries can take a huge emotional toll on us. How do we encourage fan interaction while holding a reasonable amount of space for ourselves to exist as humans? This panel will explore the nuances of being an inclusive, friendly internet community while still being respectful of the privacy and dignity of people with large public platforms.

There is No ‘Ideas Guy’: Actual Jobs in the Video Game Industry Sat. 7:30 pm Conf. 1

Tanya DePass [M], Maurice Broaddus, Ann Lemay, Ceri Young Panel Hashtag: #JobsInVideoGames

People from a wide variety of career paths collaborate to make video games, including producers, programmers, directors, artists, and writers. However, the mythic ‘Ideas Guy’—the lone visionary genius at the center of a project—simply doesn’t exist. In this panel, video game developers will discuss their jobs and other jobs in the industry—and offer an inside look at how games are made.

F*ck You Pay Me: Equally Compensating Marginalized Creators Sunday 1:00 pm  Caucus

Jennifer Cross [M], Ariela Housman, Suzuanne Walker  Panel Hashtag: #FckYouPayMe

“Do It for the exposure! Aren’t you just grateful to have this opportunity?” Too often, marginalized creators are thrown these aphorisms as compensation for their hard work and creativity instead of receiving financial compensation for their endeavors like their privileged counterparts. In this panel, we’ll discuss the importance and obligation of equal compensation for equal work. We’ll also discuss the benefit of outreach, and how that’s led to opening geek culture markets to creators and consumers who don’t look or think like the “good ol’ boys.”

When Fandom Ain’t Fun: A Frank Talk by QPOC Sunday 2:30 pm Assembly

Mark Oshiro [M], Jennifer Cross, Katherine Cross, Tanya D Panel Hashtag: #WhenFandomAintFun

Queer fans of color are often left out, pushed out, and talked over in our chosen fandoms. A lot of times the discourse becomes more about hurt feelings than actually listening to those affected by the racism and racist actions.

Decentering Whiteness in Fandom Sunday 10:00 pm University C

Tanya DePass [M], Mark Oshiro, K. Tempest Bradford

A more in-depth look at how whiteness is always the focus in fandom, fan works in particular. How POC characters are forgotten, written out, killed off by fandom so their white faves who do no more than glance at each other can be together in fanon bliss. How do we de-center the narratives built around minor white characters and problematic faves versus existing POC characters? A hard topic and not for those who think this doesn’t happen.

Woot! @GXAustralia videos are up!

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

Day 1 (Auditorium)

Day 1 (Big Ant Panel Room)

Day 1 (Developer Panel Room)

Day 2 (Auditorium)

Day 2 (Big Ant Panel Room)

Day 2 (Developer Panel Room)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tanya DePass,Felix Kramer, Katherine Cross & Rami Ismail

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to me trying out #TorgEternity by @USNAGames on @OneShotRPG!

So I have been getting back into tabletop lately and with that came a chance to help test out Torg Eternity, by USNA Games! We recorded a session for One Shot RPG, which you can check out on the One Shot site, i.e a game in four parts.

Check out USNA Games on twitter and online: https://t.co/Qe4ALjKM5Z  

James hosts Eric Simon and some friends to preview Torg Eternity which will be up on Kickstarter soon.

After earth has been invaded by a host of hostile dimensions a braves group of heroes has banded together across timelines and realities to defend humanity: The Storm Knights. Thier resistance to extradimensional influence is small yet determined.

Recently a group of their operatives went missing in the domain of the tyrannical Cyber Pope. Command has put together a colourful crew of operatives to tray and rescue their missing team.

TORG: ETERNITY
Site
Twitter

TABLETOP ARTISANS
Site

TWITCH SCHEDULE
Dragoon 8:00 PM CST 4​/19
Twitch.tv/OneShotRPG

TAKE ACTION
Find your Senators
Find your Congressmen
Make 5 Calls

Torg Eternity Part 1: After earth has been invaded by a host of hostile dimensions a braves group of heroes has banded together across timelines and realities to defend humanity: The Storm Knights. Thier resistance to extradimensional influence is small yet determined.

Recently a group of their operatives went missing in the domain of the tyrannical Cyber Pope. Command has put together a colourful crew of operatives to tray and rescue their missing team.

Torg Eternity Part 2After a slightly rocky demon-summoning start to their covert search and rescue mission, our Storm Knights head further into the domain of The Cyber Pope to gather information and allies.

Torg Eternity Part 3: The storm Knights go on a wild chase through the domain of the dreaded Cyber Pope. What should be a simple task grows drastically out of control as ill-timed failed rolls compound. Will our knights make it to their safe house in time, or will the game take a drastic turn?

Torg Eternity Part 4: All that stands between our Storm Knights and rescuing their comrades is an army of police, cyber papacy drones, and a massive holographic angel with a flaming sword. It actually doesn’t seem so insignificant when I lay it all out there. Well, let’s hope they don’t all unexpectedly die!

My Updated @GXAustralia schedule!

me-gxaus-boh

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

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

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

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

FRIDAY 7pm – ?? VIP Event Buckley’s

SATURDAY, 12pm, BIG ANT PANEL ROOM

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

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

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

SATURDAY, 2pm, AUDITORIUM*

“Building Better Gamers”

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

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

SATURDAY, 3pm, AUDITORIUM*

“Diversity 404: What Next?”

Tanya DePass, Felix Kramer, Katherine Cross & Rami Ismail

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

SUNDAY, 11am, AUDITORIUM*

“Why A Customisable Character Isn’t Diversity”

Tanya DePass – Boss of Honor talk

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

SUNDAY, 12pm, DEVELOPER PANEL ROOM

“Destroying Tropes and Stereotypes In Games”

Tanya DePass, Rae Johnston, Adam Koebel, Ken Wong

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

SUNDAY, 3pm, DEVELOPER PANEL ROOM

“Writing the ‘Other’”

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

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

SUNDAY, 4pm, BIG ANT PANEL ROOM

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

Tanya DePass, Lee Flores, Adam Koebel

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

 

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

Heading down to @C2E2 later! Who’s around?

My 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 [M], Me, Michi Trota, Mikki Kendalland Mary Anne Mohanraj

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

Up next for me, @ecgconf

ECGC17

Why stereotypes and tropes are not representation of the “Other”

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Tuesday April 18th 

We’ve all seen and played games where People of Color (POC) are often stereotypes, or LGBTQIA characters are one-dimensional, and other identities don’t even get to exist for long. These portrayals are often flattened versions of what could have been a great character that added to the narrative of a story or the characters relationship to the world, the player and other characters. Using examples both good and bad, I’ll talk about why it’s better to do the hard work of fleshing out your characters rather than giving us flattened versions to play with.

Women in Gaming Tell All – Panel

6:15 pm -7:15 pm – Tuesday April 18th 

Panelists:
Heather Albano
Scarlett Dangerfield
Gina Grahame
Tanya DePass
Gabriela Aveiro

Women in Gaming is a trendy and important topic in the gaming industry. During this panel discussion, we will explore how the field is changing and will hear the personal success stories of five women working in gaming.

Sponsored by the Consulate General of Canada, this panel seeks to inspire the audience and encourage women to embrace all roles in the gaming industry. There are no limits to how far women can go and no assumptions on what positions they’re supposed to take on. Come hear five successful women speak about their work that is actively changing and improving the gaming industry for gender equality. This will be a panel discussion with Heather Albano, Scarlett Dangerfield, Gina Grahame, Tanya DePass and Gabriela Aveiro.

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

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

Amina Elahi Amina ElahiContact ReporterBlue Sky Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

aelahi@chicagotribune.com
Twitter @aminamania

Catch @qgcon panels via Livestream this weekend!

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

twitch.tv/qgcon

twitch.tv/qgcon2

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

Saturday, 4/1

10:00 am – 11:00 am

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

11:15 am – 12:30 pm

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

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

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

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

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

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

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

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

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

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

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm

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

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

4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

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

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

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

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

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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

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

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

Sunday, 4/2

10:00 am – 11:00 am

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

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

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

11:15 am – 12:30pm

Academic KEYNOTE: T. L. Taylor – SCI 106

“Play as Transformative Work”

12:30 – 1:00pm

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

1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

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

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

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

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm

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

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

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

4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

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

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

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

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

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

Next weekend kicks off a super busy month for me!

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

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

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

I’m doing three things!

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

2) Microtalks: Out of Sheer Spite

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

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

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

April 17: Guest Lecturer at NCSU

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

April 21-23: C2E2, Panelist  Chicago, IL 

My panel schedule for C2E2

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

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!

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

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

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Monday – Attending the Gaming Accessibility Conference! #GAConf

About the conference:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dnd-podcast

 

TANYA DEPASS ON CREATING D&D CHARACTERS

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

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

00:00 – Intro with Greg Tito and Bart Carroll

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

20:37 – Interview with Tanya DePass

01:13:08 – Outro with Greg and Bart

Take a listen!

My @PAX East Schedule

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It’s that time of year again, for shenanigans in Boston! Here’s my panel schedule and for the first time, I Need Diverse Games will be in the Diversity Lounge!

Why It’s Awesome Being an LGBTQ Ally

Friday March 10th,  8pm Arachnid Theatre

2017 with a new goal: bringing folks together and speaking on the importance of being an LGBTQ ally. With a straight ally moderating and a panel touching on all bases of the LGBTQ spectrum, this panel hopes to educate, motivate and answer all questions the community may have.

PANELISTS:

Tatjana Vejnovic [Contributing Editor, The Koalition], Johnathan Gibbs [Founder, Edugaytion], Sarah LeBoeuf [Writer, Freelancer], Sabriel Mastin [Social Media Manager, Overbuff], Amanda Farough [Writer & Editor, Freelancer], Tanya C. DePass [Freelance Game Critic & Diversity Consultant, I Need Diverse Games]

Inner Demons: Anxiety and Depression in Gamers

Sunday, March 12th, 11:00 am Arachnid Theatre

Anxiety and depression are inner demons you can’t always vanquish, but you can learn to keep them at bay. You are not alone in this fight! Join tabletop game designer Brian Liberge as he and industry guests share their mental health stories and strategies to beat them back.

PANELISTS:

Brian A. Liberge [Tabletop Game Designer, Beer Star Games], Ashley Barry [Writer/Podcaster, Hyrule Hyrulia], Kaitlyn Chantry [Writer, Freelance], Tanya DePass [Director, I Need Diverse Games]

How to Broadcast Safely as a POC/LGBTQIA/Female ID’d Streamer

Sunday, March 12th 12:30 pm Arachid Theatre

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.

PANELISTS:

Brandon Stennis [Community Manager, XSplit], Nikki-Colette Manzie [Community Outreach Coordinator, Gamers Outreach], Adam Koebel [GM In Residence, Roll20.net], Tanya DePass [Director, I Need Diverse Games]

I’m part of the Fireside chats happening at the Blacks in Gaming event during @Official_GDC

If you’ll be at GDC, I’m speaking at the Blacks in Gaming event, sponsored by Xbox! details and RSVP link in this post. Excited to have Kahlief Adams host this event and chat with him again!

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Xbox is once again proud to partner with the Blacks in Gaming (BiG) organization to host the 12th annual BiG Green Room during the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco . Join us to connect & network with other game creators, developers, writers, artists, and more. Enjoy private listening sessions with industry veterans as they share insights from their work on popular games and gaming technology. We look forward to seeing you there!

Register on Eventbrite today!

FIRESIDE CHATS

Hosted by:
Kahlief Adams
Host, Spawn on Me Podcast
Kahlief was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. As an avid technophile and lover of all things videogames, he set his career path in the direction of a life making games until he found out his arch nemesis, “Math,” had other plans in store. So instead of making the next Tetris, he found himself writing and talking about games on his website The Spawn Point Blog and The Spawn On Me podcast.

Kahlief and the Spawn On Me podcast have been featured on Fast Company, Black Enterprise, Kotaku, IGN & Gamespot for their discussions around race, politics, and people of color in the videogame industry.

Featuring:

Tanya DePass
Founder & Director, I Need Diverse Games
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. I Need Diverse Games serves the community by supporting marginalized developers attend the Game Developer Conference by participating in the GDC Scholarship program, helps assist attendance at other industry events, and is seeking partnership with organizations and initiatives.

Tanya is a lifelong Chicagoan who loves everything about gaming, #INeedDiverseGames spawn point, and wants to make it better and more inclusive for everyone. She’s the founder and 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 & 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.

Gordon Bellamy
Visiting Scholar, University of Southern California
Advisor, The Wave VR
Previously, Gordon served as Chair of the Board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) as well as the Executive Director of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS), the game industry’s trade organization. Gordon has also worked at Tencent, THQ, Activision subsidiary Z-AXIS, and Electronic Arts, where he was named the company’s Rookie of the Year for his work on the best-selling Madden Football franchise. He was recently honored by Nickelodeon for his lifetime of contributions to the video game craft.

Gordon develops strategic business partnerships with video game publishers, social media developers, and technology partners. He earned a BA degree from Harvard College in engineering, where he was also a John Harvard scholar and an AT&T/Bell Labs Engineering scholar.

Trammell Ray Isaac
Art Director, BossKey Productions
Trammell is currently an Art Director at BossKey Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is gearing up for the release of “Lawbreakers”. Also known as T-Ray, he started his career as an animator on Blood and Magic and as the lead artist on Fallout and Fallout 2. Among other things, he is responsible for designing the Vault Boy in Fallout. He has worked at Sony Online Entertainment as art director on the original Planetside series and on PlanetSide 2 at Daybreak Games. In 2005 he joined Obsidian Entertainment, where he worked on Neverwinter Nights 2 as lead artist. After leaving Obsidian, he joined 3DRealms to work on Duke Nukem Forever in 2006.

Craig Campbell
Director of Talent Acquisition, Microsoft
Craig is the current Director of Talent Acquisition for the Microsoft Windows Devices Group, which includes product groups such as Xbox, Surface and Hololens, to name a few. In his current role, he leads the strategic direction and execution to connect the dots between business priorities and talent priorities that put his business partners in scoring position.

With more than 15 years of experience with companies including Amazon, Dolby Laboratories, Starbucks and MGMMIRAGE, Craigs diverse range of experience has allowed him to develop a strong recruiting acumen, grounded in data driven insight and inclusive hiring sensibilities.

Favorite Game: Currently working on the development of party game called “That’s My Jam!”

My @anomalycon schedule!

One of my other guest gigs this year is at the final Anomalycon held in Denver, CO March 17-19, 2017. If you’re able to join for this great con, it would be awesome. Really affordable steam punk y’all. Come through. Registration is still open. 

Long schedule is long, so it goes under the cut.

Continue reading “My @anomalycon schedule!”

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

.@OrcaCon is in a few days!

Ahhh it’s finally almost here! OrcaCon is this weekend in Everett, WA! It’s my first time being a Guest of Honor and I’m super excited. 

2017orcacon_title

Here’s my schedule:

Friday, January 13th, 2017

AVOIDING RACE FAIL AT YOUR TABLE – 8:00 PM

A brief primer aimed at players in case they want to RP a character outside their experience. (I’m moderating)

Saturday January 14th, 2017

IT’S OK TO NOT UNDERSTAND: IGNORANCE CAN BE CURED 12:00 PM

A lot of designers, GMs, and players feel uncomfortable with issues about sexuality, inclusivity, and anything else that goes past their world view or experience level. Let’s talk about how to help people learn, and more importantly, feel comfortable about what they don’t know or understand.

BEYOND THE 101: A DISCUSSION OF DIVERSITY IN GAMING – 7:00 PM

We know diversity is an issue in gaming, so let’s move beyond the 101 and talk about some practical ways we as a community can move from theory into action. (I’m moderating)

GENUINE REPRESENTATION: RESPECTING CULTURAL IDENTITY – 9:00 PM

The topic of Cultural Appropriation and Minority Representation is a daunting subject to broach. But it is a worthy discussion to have. With people’s identities at stake, emotions can run high and it is easy to get disheartened. This panel discusses what it means to be a writer in these times of heightened cultural awareness.

Creators walk a thin line, they have to balance their vision to the potential offense of others. But we don’t have to sacrifice artistic freedom in the process. How do we represent culture genuinely? And how that is distinct from an “accurate” representation? We will discuss the answers to these questions, as well as talk about what approach Warding Circle took when developing Mysteries of the Yōkai as a group of non-Japanese creators.

Sunday January 15th, 2017 

TWITCH 101 AND STREAMING SAFELY – 1:00 PM

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

 

My @OrcaCon schedule!

Here’s the panels I will be for OrcaCon next January 13-15, 2017. It’s my first Guest of Honor gig and I’m excited and nervous for it.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Avoiding Race Fail at your Table – 8:00 pm

A brief primer aimed at players in case they want to RP a character outside their experience. (I’m moderating)

Saturday January 14th, 2017

It’s OK to Not Understand: Ignorance Can Be Cured  12:00 pm

A lot of designers, GMs, and players feel uncomfortable with issues about sexuality, inclusivity, and anything else that goes past their world view or experience level. Let’s talk about how to help people learn, and more importantly, feel comfortable about what they don’t know or understand.

Beyond the 101: A Discussion of Diversity in Gaming – 7:00 pm

We know diversity is an issue in gaming, so let’s move beyond the 101 and talk about some practical ways we as a community can move from theory into action. (I’m moderating)

Genuine Representation: Respecting Cultural Identity – 9:00 pm

The topic of Cultural Appropriation and Minority Representation is a daunting subject to broach. But it is a worthy discussion to have. With people’s identities at stake, emotions can run high and it is easy to get disheartened. This panel discusses what it means to be a writer in these times of heightened cultural awareness.

Creators walk a thin line, they have to balance their vision to the potential offense of others. But we don’t have to sacrifice artistic freedom in the process. How do we represent culture genuinely? And how that is distinct from an “accurate” representation? We will discuss the answers to these questions, as well as talk about what approach Warding Circle took when developing Mysteries of the Yōkai as a group of non-Japanese creators.

Sunday January 15th, 2017 

Twitch 101 and Streaming Safely – 1:00 pm

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

 

My talk at @UbisoftMTL !!

Ubisoft Montreal Diversity Tuesdays

I had a chance to speak at Ubisoft’s Montreal studio last month. They were kind enough to get me a copy of the video so here you go! Here’s the deck I used, in PDF format. Note the YouTube link is unlisted.

It makes me really happy that they gave me a chance to come and speak on short notice. Big shout out to UbiGabe for making it happen and being a great host during the day spent there.

I hope this leads to more opportunities to visit with studios and talk about why diversity and inclusion is not just important, or needed but vital in the industry.

Marking a year of…changes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the value of black women’s work

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

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

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

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

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

spb-not-a-charity

Go read it over, then come back.

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

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

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

Fuck that

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

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

I salute you y’all for getting that money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

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

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

me-gxaus-boh

Donate help me spend some extra time in Sydney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

GX Australia 2017!

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

BACK THIS PROJECT!

About this project

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

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

GX AUSTRALIA IS RETURNING IN 2017!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

New venue!
New venue!

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Bosses of Honour!

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

Added in Update #8 (Oct 21 2016):

Casey Conway
Casey Conway

 

Adam Koebel
Adam Koebel

Added in Update #5 (Oct 17 2016):

Tanya DePass

 

Felix Kramer

 

Brett Leavy

 

 Kickstarter launch Bosses:

Katherine Cross
Katherine Cross

 

Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen
Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen

 

Kim Allom
Kim Allom

 

Jordan Raskopoulos
Jordan Raskopoulos

 

Eve Beauregard
Eve Beauregard

 

Tim Cain
Tim Cain

 

Lucy O'Brien
Lucy O’Brien

 

Rae Johnston
Rae Johnston

 

Ken Wong
Ken Wong

 

Backer rewards!
Backer rewards!

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

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

 

Stretch goals!
Stretch goals!

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

$65k – HOLY FOOD TRUCKS, BATMAN!

$70k – EXTRA BOSS OF HONOUR!

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

??? – ??? We’ll get here when we do!

Why Sydney again?
Why Sydney again?

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

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

 

Let's do it!
Let’s do it!

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

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

Special Shoutouts

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

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

Risks and challenges

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

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

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

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

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

I’m a guest at @BigBadCon next week!

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

Friday, October 14th

Real talk on Tabletop toxicity

4-6pm

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

Saturday, October 15th

Destroying The Fake Geek Girl Fallacy

10am – 12pm

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

Diversity in Gaming Discussion

2-3 pm

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

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

My Day 2 of @GaymerX aka I’m on ALL THE PANELS

gaymerx_yearfour_logo_web-768x684

Saturday, October 1

When Fandom Ain’t Fun – A Frank Talk by QPOC 12:00 pm Panels Room B

Queer fans of color are often left out, pushed out and talked over in our chosen fandoms. A lot of times the discourse becomes more about hurt feelings than actually listening to those affected by the racism and racist actions.

(Unofficial description: SALTIEST PANEL EVER)

Panelists: Bianca Anderson, Katherine Cross, D.J Kirkland, Rokashi Edwards, and I’m moderating.

Playing With Pride 2:00 pm Panels Room B

Join us for a group discussion on coming out, finding community, creating avatars, hosting inclusive events, & more. The conversation will also feature video clips of diverse LGBTQ gamers sharing their stories from across the country.

Panelists: Matthew Baume (Moderating), D.J Kirkland, Lauren Comp, and me

Creating Inclusive Gaming Groups & Events 4:00 pm Panels Room A

Want to know how to find inclusive groups for gaming? How do you create your own gaming meet-ups? Many game groups play in public, but they’re not welcoming.

You need anti-harassment policies, a game host welcoming the new players, and relationship building with the business owner. You can do it! Our panelists will give you tips on creating safe & welcoming spaces for new players in public places.

Panelists: Joseph Carriker, Donna Prior, Jessica Price, and me

Gatekeeping and Geek Policing  5:00 pm Panels Room B

Geek policing and gate-keeping happens when someone shows interest in something of the nerdy persuasion, and “true fans” chase them away or “cred check”, especially towards marginalized groups.

You’re not a REAL geek if you don’t like Firefly” “FEMALES don’t like strategy games” “OMG WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOVE 4TH EDITION, IT SUCKS”. These are all examples of gatekeeping & geek policing.

Panelists: Donna Prior and Tanya DePass (moderating)

How to Twitch Safely as a POC/LGBTQIA/Female ID’d Streamer 6:00 pm Panels Room C

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.

Panelists: Simply Undrea, D.J Kirkland, Carolyn Petit and I’m moderating

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

My @GaymerX 4 Schedule

Unless something changes in the next two weeks, here’s my schedule.

gaymerx_yearfour_logo_web-768x684

Friday September 30

 

Podcasting for a Gamer Audience 5:00 pm Panels Room B

Podcasts are as varied as the wind, but what about those of us who want to address other gamers? You’ll get some basic how to start a podcast tips, then more focus on crafting your podcast for a gaming audience.

Panelists: Laura Kate Dale & Jim Sterling* , I’m moderating

Saturday, October 1

When Fandom Ain’t Fun – A Frank Talk by QPOC 12:00 pm Panels Room B

Queer fans of color are often left out, pushed out and talked over in our chosen fandoms. A lot of times the discourse becomes more about hurt feelings than actually listening to those affected by the racism and racist actions.

(Unofficial description: SALTIEST PANEL EVER)

Panelists: Bianca Anderson, Katherine Cross, D.J Kirkland, Rokashi Edwards, and I’m moderating.

Playing With Pride 2:00 pm Panels Room B

Join us for a group discussion on coming out, finding community, creating avatars, hosting inclusive events, & more. The conversation will also feature video clips of diverse LGBTQ gamers sharing their stories from across the country.

Panelists: Matthew Baume (Moderating), D.J Kirkland, Lauren Comp, and me

Creating Inclusive Gaming Groups & Events 4:00 pm Panels Room A

Want to know how to find inclusive groups for gaming? How do you create your own gaming meet-ups? Many game groups play in public, but they’re not welcoming.

You need anti-harassment policies, a game host welcoming the new players, and relationship building with the business owner. You can do it! Our panelists will give you tips on creating safe & welcoming spaces for new players in public places.

Panelists: Joseph Carriker, Donna Prior, Jessica Price, and me

Gatekeeping and Geek Policing  5:00 pm Panels Room B

Geek policing and gate-keeping happens when someone shows interest in something of the nerdy persuasion, and “true fans” chase them away or “cred check”, especially towards marginalized groups.

You’re not a REAL geek if you don’t like Firefly” “FEMALES don’t like strategy games” “OMG WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU LOVE 4TH EDITION, IT SUCKS”. These are all examples of gatekeeping & geek policing.

Panelists: Donna Prior and Tanya DePass (moderating)

How to Twitch Safely as a POC/LGBTQIA/Female ID’d Streamer 6:00 pm Panels Room C

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.

Panelists: Simply Undrea, D.J Kirkland, Carolyn Petit and I’m moderating

Sunday, October 2

Fans Vs Creators: Is there a better way? 2:00 pm Panels Room B

Whether we’re talking about the 100, Ghostbusters, or your favorite video game series, there’s a sense that fandom spaces have become armed camps rather than spaces for discussion. Creators are suddenly backed against a wall feeling as if they must now justify their choices. Is that justification truly necessary? Where does the line exist between listening to one’s audience and caving to their demands? Is there such a thing as a ‘good fan’ and a ‘bad fan’, and how does one walk that line in order to participate in a healthy conversation with creators about things like representation? Is that even possible anymore?”

Panelists: Crystal Frasier, David Gaider (Moderating), Donna Prior, Katherine Cross and me

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

PAXWest

(originally posted on 6 September on my Patreon)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Semi-infrequent reminders of how to support my work

Hey y’all! Here is a handy post on how you can support my work. A lot of people say they love what I do, and want me to keep doing it, but hey bills don’t pay themselves, Comcast won’t wait for their money and the cat needs kibble, I need food, y’all know how it goes.

The straight up, no bullshit thing is; if I have to go back to a regular 9-5 gig then I Need Diverse Games will die off. I cannot maintain that work, do conventions and other things with a regular gig AND do the level of work for INDG that I am now and have it still be a thing I am proud of, that I got to where it is now along with friends and supporters. There’s a separate patreon for I Need Diverse Games, but this post is about ways to keep a roof over my head so I can continue to do this full time.

Luckily, there’s a few ways to help keep me afloat.

               patreon_logo_black Patreon – patreon.com/cypheroftyr

Why I’m on Patreon:

#INeedDiverseGames is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015. I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money, it usually costs me what little I had to spare when I was employed. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in at least $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month. I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.

Ideally I would need at least $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:
Rent $925 a month [Goes up to $950 on October 1st]
Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)
Pet costs ($125)
Groceries ($300)
Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)
INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

If you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give so I can continue to do this full time.

I’ve got a decent social media presence, almost 5900 followers on twitter, over 1500 on tumblr, the I Need Diverse Games tumblr has over 7K followers. If even half my twitter followers pledged $1 a month, I could do this without worrying too much about money and keeping a roof over my head.
Maybe you’re thinking a monthly commitment to $X in support isn’t your thing, you can’t but you still want to help? I’ve got a paypal.me button (and no shame) if you’ve got some loot in your pocket that would help out I can give it a good home.
paypal me logo
paypal.me/cypheroftyr

 

Lastly, I like to write! I’ve written quite a bit and if you’re in a position to pay for articles, opinion pieces or maybe need some diversity consulting done, that’s another way to help support & keep me working! I also go to conventions, and if you have a local con and/or a way to get me to a not-so local event, you can send that info to me via this page on my site.

 

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]

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

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

When I first played Kitfox Games’s Moon Hunters, it reminded me of the 16-bit games I’d grown up with, RPGs where you had to run for your life from wildlife, or duck into caves to find treasure, or save up to buy the best weapon in the game.

But while I loved RPGs from a young age, characters who looked like me didn’t exist. If I was lucky, I might get a NPC that was a sort of ambiguous, video-game brown—not explicitly black but (probably) not white. Unlike those games of my youth, though, Moon Hunters has both playable characters and NPC’s that are unmistakably people of color. Best of all, there’s no exoticization or fetishization of these characters, and no unnecessary explanation for why they’re there. They just are.

That prompted me to ask developer Tanya X. Short a few questions about the game’s diversity, guiding mythology and the reaction it received from the gaming community.

VICE: So you can choose from four different character classes at the start of Moon Hunters. My first time playing through the game, I chose the Witch, and was happy to find that she was a woman of color. I did have a moment when I thought, Why is the witch a WOC, why are we always the exotic or the mystic? But her character is well done, clothed pragmatically, has an interesting backstory that fits with the mythology you build up as you play. Did you have any concerns with how her character could be received since she’s a witch and uses blood magic?

Tanya X. Short: We were briefly concerned about fundamentalists being upset about a few things [like blood magic] in the game, but we figured we could probably handle a little criticism on that front. After all, we at least tried to be inspired by aspects of of ancient Assyrian and Sumerian traditions—we weren’t literally glorifying demon-worship and necromancy, unlike, say, Diablo. There are a few themes you could say were not just pre-Biblical but maybe even anti-biblical, but they’re fairly subtle and (I like to think) reasoned.

I did worry about the Witch (since she’s a woman of color) being perceived as some kind of throwback stereotype of a vodun priestess or something, but we didn’t really have to change much about her, honestly—she was always a spear-wielding, defined character in her own right, not a reference or callback. It probably helps that she’s not the only person of color around.

Read the rest over at Vice.com 

I’ll be at @BitBashChicago and #ChiNerdFest this weekend!

I’ll be around Bit Bash Chicago as a volunteer on Saturday, August 13th! If you haven’t gotten a ticket yet you can snip $5 off with code INeedDiverseGames5 when you buy a ticket online.

BitBash

Learn more at BitBashChicago.com

2016’s event includes a selection of games created by Chicago developers, games dealing with socially relevant issues, and a selection of games that deal with often taboo topics for the 18+ audience. We’ve also got C418 (Minecraft) and Chipzel (Super Hexagon) as part of our amazing music line up.

You can check out the full list of games here: bitbashchicago.com, and also feel free to watch our trailer for a taste of the festival: https://vimeo.com/173723080

Sunday, August 14th, I’ll be at #ChiNerdFest for the first time!

Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival

Come see me talk about podcasting, I’ll talk up Fresh Out of Tokens & podcasting 101 along with Aaron Amendola of the Geek Show, James D’Amato of One Shot RPG and Cody Melcher of Tomefoolery at 5pm, Theatre 773

You should come earlier for the great comedy and other panels going on with some really cool folks that I recommend you see on stage. Best of all? These are free panels, so come on through, get some good information and see awesome folks.

4:00-5:00 pm LGBTQ+ in Nerd Culture & Media Panel moderated by Cody Melcher – Jackson Bird, Brittany Meyer, Devon Maggie
6:00-7:00 pm Building Communities moderated by Jackson Bird – Matt Peters, Michi Trota, Tamara Lynn Chambers

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!

PAX West Panels, oh my

PAX West Panel approvals are in and these are the ones that I’ll be on!

PAXWest

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]

 

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 [N/A, N/A]
  • Zachary Alexander [N/A, N/A]

 

Friday, September 2nd 9:30 pm Chicken Theatre

Sexy or Stupid? The Great Video Game Sex Scene Debate

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 include:

  • 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

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 include:

  • 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, 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 include:

  • 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]

Well, shit

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

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

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

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

patreon.com/cypheroftyr

Why Tanya DePass is on Patreon

#INeedDiverseGames is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015. I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money, it usually costs me what little I had to spare when I was employed. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in at least $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month.I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.

Ideally I would need at least $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:

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

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

Pet costs ($125)

Groceries ($300)

Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)

INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

If you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give so I can continue to do this full time.


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! ❤

My @ConvergenceCON Schedule

cvg-2016-web-header-a

So next week (OMG how did the time fly?!) I will be an Invited Guest at CONVergence! I’ve got a light schedule of panels (thank you Sigrid & Programming!) but I’ll be there Thursday (6/30) – Monday (7/4) and these are the panels I’ll be on:

Resetting the Default – Friday July 1, 12:30 pm, Edina

Diversity (or lack thereof) can be painful and messy. In movies, games, TV, etc., what are some successful examples of getting away from the default white male character? Panelists: Michi Trota, Tanya DePass (mod), Briana Lawrence, Jonathan Palmer, Trisha Lynn

Token for your Thoughts – Saturday July 2, 11:00 am, Atrium 6

There’s a fine line between diverse representation and tokenism, but where is that line? The panel discusses how to make inclusion of non-white/non-male characters substantive, and whether highlighting diversity bolsters or undermines the effort. Panelists: Tanya DePass, Jonathan Palmer, Mark Oshiro, Ytasha Womack, Rob Callahan (mod)

Your Online Persona – Saturday July 2, 3:30 pm, Atrium 7

Does your online persona affect your book or art sales? What are some basic principles for creators to craft a persona that is both genuine and audience friendly? Panelists: Adam J. Whitlatch, Kavin Senapathy, Melissa Olson, Tanya DePass, Tactical Pinup (mod)

One on One with Cam Banks – Sunday July 3, 2:00 pm Plaza 1

A One on One conversation with Cam Banks, RPG Director at Atlas Games.

If you want to meet up for coffee or a meal, a twitter DM will likely be the best way to get me, or just @’ing me on there. My twitter is @cypheroftyr, and if we know each other well enough that you have my #, then text me.

As always, here’s a 110% free guide to interacting with me at conventions, now a handy page on my site.

 

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!

SammusInfusion.jpg

 

My @WisconSF3 schedule

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.

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 meat space 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.

Here’s my Wiscon 40 schedule, full panel schedule is up online.

Friday, May 27th

HeQuisitor, SheQuisitor, TheyQuisitor: The Queer Gaming Experience 

Saturday, May 28th

Podcasts for Beginners

Sunday, May 29th

Women Can Be Evil Too

There’s No Such Thing as Aging Out of Fandom

I Need Diverse Games, Year 2

Queer Eye for Sci Fi

Guest of Honor Speeches & Desert Salon (Introducing Nalo)

Monday, May 30th

This Is Not a Petting Zoo: An Introspective Look into Black Women’s Hair

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

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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!

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. ❤