Those who attended the FiG Workshop may know that we invited participants to submit proposals for projects that would receive incubator funding. After a few rounds of submissions and revisions, the FiG Folk have chosen 5 projects that will receive funding this year. Below is a description of these projects. We can’t wait to see how they progress!
By Mitu Khandaker and Emily Flynn-Jones
Dear Ada is a website making a space for feminine (though not necessarily female) voices to talk about & explore their thoughts, feelings and experiences with gender issues and the epistemic community of games. This site will give women from all areas of experience and all angles of expertise in games and feminist discourse the opportunity speak. We want to hear from players, hardcore fans, feminists with valuable perspectives for application to the culture of games, men with feminist messages, indie start-ups, industry professionals and all the in-betweens. All these voices together can give a greater representation of the diversity of females and perspectives in games and gaming culture today. The diversity can hopefully reach a greater audience, make space for all kinds of perspectives and opinions so as not to alienate anyone who already feels marginalized and provide variety enough of content for individuals to relate. This space can also provide the anonymity for those who feel they need to speak out but might be compromise by doing so. From the contributions to the site we also hope to be able to study the demographics of contributors (even those that are anonymously published) and track themes that might be useful in pushing forward feminist agendas in the games community and acting for equity.
By Heidi McDonald
Dragonspeech is a game that was invented by a workshop group during the inaugural Feminists in Games workshop, in an effort to:
1) demonstrate the efficacy of the FiG organization;
2) address the important issue of harassment in the gaming community;
3) address harassment in society at large.
The game will raise awareness about the effects of all types of harassment in games (as a metaphor for harassment in real life), and will prescribe an effective remedy for harassment in both virtual and real spaces. Dragonspeech will call out game harassment and demonstrate its effects in a visual, tangible way. It also provides a practical solution for harassment in the form of coalition building and peer support. As a secondary agenda, the game will bring awareness to the Feminists in Games group and be a tangible example of the kinds of work done by us, at our conference.
EXPANDING AND STRENGTHENING THE DAMES MAKING GAMES NETWORK
By Cecily Carver, Jennie Faber, Alison Harvey & Helen Kennedy
Building on past success: The New Game Makers/DMG Incubator 2
The New Game Makers is a series jointly presented by Bento Miso and Dames Making Games. The series will bring women working in diverse roles within the games industry to Miso for a 1-hour lecture followed by a 2–3 hour hands-on workshop where participants will work on a small project with the assistance of the guest speaker and other participants. The series will run in conjunction with a six-week Dames Making Games (DMG) incubator based on the model of the Difference Engine Initiative (DEI) and the first DMG incubator, which will guide and support a small group of women through the process of creating a small, complete game.
DMG Toronto’s second incubator will run from July through mid-August (six weeks), in conjunction with a speaker series (The New Game Makers) featuring women game professionals. The guest speakers come from a wide range of roles, from producer and management positions to design, music, art, and development; and from organization sized from small indie companies to triple-A studios. Incubator participants will be selected from an application pool, with the goal of creating an enthusiastic and committed group with a diverse mix of skills and interests who might not otherwise have the opportunity to develop their interest in games in this way. While the incubator will be limited to six participants, the speaker series will accommodate a larger group (up to 30) for each presentation.
Extending the network: DMG Montreal & DMG Bristol
Working in collaboration with DMG, Alison and Helen will organize incubators in two novel contexts: Montreal, Quebec and Bristol, UK. Both of these settings feature growing independent game communities that would greatly benefit from context-specific feminist interventions aimed at encouraging more female-identified people to feel confident in the process of games design. Like DMG and DEI, the purposes of these context-aware interventions will be to facilitate community building, networking, skills development, mentoring, and personal growth among participants, as well as the creation of games by novice developers.
We will make interventions in our respective communities with the comprehensive documentation and feedback generated in DEI and the activities of DMG, by past facilitators, embedded academics, and current organizers. Using these best practices as guidelines, we will then consult with constituents in the local communities (via indie game collectives, local academics, developer hubs) about ideal locations, promotions venues, showcase locations, etc. Structurally, incubators will be run in the format of DEI, with six 3–4 hour sessions run over 6 weeks and capped off with a showcase to demonstrate the completed games.
PsXXY¥borg (pronounced “cyborg”)
By Hannah Epstein
The purpose of this game is to emancipate a domestic game designer, so that she can create a game that is beautiful, immersive and transcendent of gender normative representation. Through using Unity and the Kinect, PsXXY¥borg will come to life as multi-player game, suited for public installation, as the more people playing, the more complex the game play will become, all in the name of redefining the social and political importance of games. The game, PsXXY¥borg, will be inspired directly by the writing of Donna Haraway and her proposed post-gender cyborg. It will be designed to contain these elements of theory, putting into practice and artistic expression the very ideal beliefs housed within the post-gender cyborg framework.
WOMEN IN THE GAME INDUSTRY – LESSONS TO LEARN
By Sonja Ganguin and Anna Hoblitz
Gender differences are typically discussed when it comes to the use of computer– and video games. However, today, the typical gamer is not male. In Germany, for example, 10.8 million women play regularly – these are 44 % of the gamers (BIU 2012). Yet this positive development cannot be seen in the videogame industry, which is still a male-dominated field. Why only few women work in this creative and challenging area is not quite obvious. At the same time there are successful women in the game industries as producers, developers, publishers, etc. However there is little known about their biographies, careers, points of views and attitudes. What was their specific way into the industry? How would they describe their own role in the business? Are they confronted with gender differences in their daily work and what are their strategies to deal with it? To answer these questions we plan to develop a basic study that focuses on the perspective of women working in the game industry by interviewing them as experts. With guided expert interviews, the women’s biographical status as well as key factors for success could be determined. The identification and analysis of success factors and strategies, for example in the arrays of education, social networking and projects, will indicate possible starting points for supporting female students getting started their career.
On the one hand, the aim of the study is to describe a status quo of the actual situation of women working in the game business. On the other hand, it is necessary to deduce recommendations for effective and appropriate promotional measures to strengthen women’s position and especially to reduce the barriers that prevent them from joining the game industry. This cooperation and the subsequent study intend to take concrete measures, for example a mentoring program for women could be developed which is based on the results of the survey. Female students could get into contact with a female mentor working in the games business and their communication could give some insights into the industry and facilitate young women’s entry into this profession.