✊🏿 Letter From The Editors
We are outraged by the murder of George Floyd and the continued violent, anti-black injustices by the police. As a media publication, and as human beings, it is our moral responsibility to bring to light and condemn the dehumanization and inequality that black people face in our communities every day. Let’s be clear — there is no place for racism in the world and in games.
Diversity in all facets of gaming — content creation, hiring and recruiting, professional esports athletes — is severely lacking. Only 1-3% of gaming industry employees identify as black. This runs antithetical to the very thesis of games, which champions accessibility and inclusivity, socializing and community. It’s saddening that games, played by billions globally, don't have diverse representations of writers and creators. Anti-black racism pervades into games as well — in their plots, in their companies, and most visibly in their player base. This is a problem that we can help fix: hire diverse designers, engineers, and employees; uplift underrepresented creators; and educate ourselves on the adversity that our friends and colleagues face on a regular basis.
This Pause Button edition is different. We’ll be highlighting our colleagues of color and the black gaming community. We included content that identifies how gaming is playing a role in supporting change. We also provided resources to understand how we can be active allies. In the future, we’ll be making a more intentional effort to bring on a more diverse team of writers to contribute to The Pause Button and to spotlight writing and content from them.
Finally, we stand with the protesters marching for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others who have lost their lives to the hands of racism.
Black Lives Matter.
Max & Fawzi
Actions Speak Louder Than Words: In the wake of the ongoing injustices in the United States, many brands have issued official statements denouncing racism and injustice. Gaming companies are no exception, with organizations like EA, Square Enix, and others pledging to use their resources to help create change. But what are they actually doing? Kotaku examines the statements and actions taken by the biggest gaming brands. Take note of who is silent during these times, and who is taking tangible action to better the world. Link
I Am Black And Tired: Kotaku Staff writer, Ash Parrish offers a perspective into how she’s feeling as a black woman in the midst of this ongoing global outcry. Listen to those around you whose lives are impacted by this. Make space for them. Be an ally. Link
The Gaming Industry Has No Clue How to Respond to Protests: Many of the statements and donations made by gaming organizations are emblematic of a larger problem in the corporate world. Large organizations are slow to vocalize support for the injustices we're seeing. When they do, they release carefully crafted statements that ignore the core of the issue entirely in order to appease fans. With such massive and devoted followings, brands should use their reach (and finances) to do more. Urge your favorite organizations to act, to learn, and to educate. Link
African American Portrayals in Gaming: This is an interesting piece that highlights the dearth of diverse characters in gaming and calls game developers to action. Lots of resources and examples here. Link
✊🏾 Creators & Organizations
Spawn on Me Podcast: Spawn on Me is a podcast spotlights people of color in the gaming industry. In this week’s episode, a panel of industry creators and experts shares how they’re feeling in the wake of this senseless police violence. Link
Black Girl Gamers: Black Girl Gamers is an organization focused on highlighting the voice of black women in gaming. They are actively working with creators across the industry to spread awareness, fundraise, and support through platforms like Twitch. Link
Game Devs of Color Expo: Game Devs of Color Expo facilitates an annual event focused on putting creators of color at the forefront, creating a space where people from all backgrounds can come together to build, connect, and learn about games. Link
✊🏿 Actions You Can Take
Follow a diverse array of people on Twitter: Black Game Developers is a great place to start. Talk with them, promote their content, buy their games! Below is a thread of a wonderful slate of games journalists to follow, check them out!
Rod "4475 SR & Immortal peak" Breslau @Slasherfreelance black+poc writers+hosts sum1 let dan know @erinasimon @imad @writewellalways @malik4play @xd1x @Kahjahkins @rodneyconyersjr @blackkrystel @CedricAPhillips @micaburton @TKbreezy @briggsycakes @amandatnstevens @narz @godfree @vicious696 @REDinFamy @garyswaby @richbaileyjr https://t.co/Z3KajO6625
Use your Twitch Prime Subscription: If you have an Amazon Prime account, that’s a quick and easy way to support your favorite content creator of color. Link
Call out Racial Gaslighting Where You See It: Infinity Ward announced that they would be adding additional resources to monitor and identify racist content, making it easier to report offenses and intensifying repercussions to offenders. Next time you find yourself queuing up in a League or Overwatch game, be active in reporting offensive and racist language when you see it. Link