Gaming’s response to BLM: Louder than expected, but just the bare minimum | Summer of Gaming

by birtanpublished on November 27, 2020

hello my name is Jeffrey L Wilson lead analyst at PC Mag comm and I welcome you to the first episode of PC Mag and Mashable's summer of gaming video series this episode is going to be more of a serious tone we're going to discuss the George Floyd murder by the hands of police and how it's impacted the gaming community I have to to guess here Jordan and jump and Jess are you guys doing 10 reason within reason it's been a lot of things happening in the world right now we went from colvett to george floyd and the protests and a lot of gaming

Companies have spoken out in regards to supporting black lives matter and police reform so i'm gonna turn over to you Jordan what do you think of these statements are they sincere are they trying to sustain a new cycle what do you think well first I'll say it's it's almost kind of lucky for them that lucky that they already had to rearrange their plan so much because of no more III and everything being remote so they're already a lot more flexible to be like well are we gonna postpone this like if like if if this was all happening during e3 do you think Sony would have pushed

Back their ps5 reveal like no no so that's something I've been thinking about but in terms of them putting out statements like at least they're doing it the reaction maybe I'm just just expect nothing like the reaction has been more has been louder than I guess I would have expected but that's really like the bare minimum yeah yeah I kind of feel the same way I was kind of shocked that so many companies actually took a hard stance which is something that you don't really get from from these big companies and but yes yes yeah totally I think um just yeah Jordan what

You said about like I didn't like we didn't even expect the bare minimum like speaks volumes you know valve hasn't even said anything and that's like when the biggest I mean how biggest gaming company possibly um and that is to me shocking but I think like we all know enough of how games react like I think the minute you know it was controversial or bold for Wolfenstein 2 to say killing Nazis is okay um I mean I think like that set the bar for like well what can games say at all about white supremacy if that's bold like I'm surprised that

They're even saying like the turn black lives matter at all yeah well some companies are some some kinda taking a more and we're a more nuanced approach in saying that we we supports justice and for all people you know but in terms of very specific instances like for example believe it was a Call of Duty crew they mentioned that they want to you know improve online discourse between the players you know getting someone to rid of some of the racist elements and my thought was it took this why did it take so long yeah exactly I mean do you think that you know this is

Kind of like the hot thing in a moment but do you think these companies will you know stand firm actually execute long term it'll be a while before we would even see that like in terms of tell us how long it takes to make games right like there could be there could be a way of like you know two years from now or all of a sudden like oh like oh we're not we've made the full-fledged Miles Morales game as opposed to this confusing standalone thing but I don't know the the Miles Morales examples I think like particularly pertinent because like there were I forget who it

Was I'm gonna I hate that I forgot but um someone wrote an article from the first I'm sorry to my game which was like they turn spider-man into a cop and it sucks and it's true like he's literally a cop he like unjust like beats up mostly majority like black and brown people and then leaves them for the cops like asks no questions as to what they did or why the cops want them like just is a cop and then there's so much cop agonda as they say in deeds it's so embedded in most mainstream games like literally when your verb for most games is killed like what can you

Say about police brutality and like the Mazda example is to me like will be a moment where we have to see like how do they handle the fact that they turn the Spider Man the white side a man into a cop what is how was I going to translate into like changing the mechanics for when like Miles Morales is like humming it and a spider-man are they go he's going to be invisible meek more reprising his role yes that's a good point and it regards that you're putting out the spider-man game this fall believe ya pf5 launch

They're probably neck deep into the mechanics of that game already and like you said just torching on a bigger cultural cultural issue the super cop has become so embedded within culture like by hard if you want to step further like how many like military one-man armies like with commando and things like that so do you think that you know in pop culture and in gaming we'll see a change in that going forward well I mean like they're taking cops off air I mean that's huge I mean you know cops the show not just like all cops but but they've taken I

Know I wish but uh but it does seem to me that like TV and it might be because of just how cycles work in games like he said like granted like you know game cycles takes so much longer to make than TV and like pulling something off the air you know just has different is different than like let's rewrite all of the mechanics of video games um and so I think it is a more complicated and question and and for them to address but and I don't know if I trust them to like I don't know and but there are I think interesting things that games could do if you think about it as a system as a

Medium that is based in expressing things through systems wouldn't it be the ideal thing to express and deal with systemic injustice like you know race and police brutality like wouldn't you know what did you think something that like is literally at the art systems be able to and I have I do I do know like um Nikki cases in any developer who does like explainable explorable z– and he has this whole like the parables of polygons I hope everyone Google's that has really he uses systems kind of explain how injustice kind of like systemically and

It's really interesting and I think that could be amazing if we saw more of that kind of innovation in mainstream games I just don't trust them to do that yeah they put out the Mafia trilogy again and mafia three well has some issues I think actually it's like for a mainstream game right system Isis racism in a ways that like are totally embarrassing right it has actual like racism system right right yeah when you're in like whiter parts of town like the police will just hassle you more no idea games all right yeah I'll talk about the gay the article you

Were talking about is they turn Spider Man into a damn cop and it's from Tom lay on that's been famous all right so let me ask you what would you like to see happen many companies are talking about putting up money for for funds tours like black developers that give them more spotlight other resorts are simply making statements what would you like to see happen besides just just just just making games in terms of opportunity in the light I was trying to think of some things but then I saw Shawn crater of judgment beatdown city posted a tweet that has his ideas that

I'm just gonna crit from because there were oh yeah yeah you know make sure like like I feel like funding black creators like not just just yeah not just leaving reputation like for like the fictional characters he says have medicine programs but don't be weird about it stop yeah stop posting jobs looking for very specific skill sets they were just gonna like really leave a lot of underrepresented groups just unable to qualify and these are issues that are bigger than the games industry hmm plague that plague a lot of industries yeah and and personally one

Issues I think is a fact there is a lot of people are also blind to their biases and they hire a lot of people who are their friends or people they went to school with and if all those people are exactly like you there's no door open for anyone else of course is this good old-fashioned racism yeah can't forget about that one yeah video in ways these old-fashioned racism you can see it and be like I know what that is we're more insidious stuff like you don't even know and sometimes the people don't even like consciously know right right I had to at a previous in my previous not

Particularly a previous employer I had to check someone because I was you know hoodie walking around because the air conditioning was up too high and they said to me why are you looking so menacing so we had to have a nice nice nice chat about that and see that should not be your job that's where like obviously I'm white I don't know reveal that's our job you know like that should not be your if like anybody was like hearing that this is our problem to deal with and like that is to me what I don't trust a lot of video game companies to do is like I mean we've seen it with

Reporting on on like women's issues you know in in riot games and I don't want to at all divorce those two things because you know women of color are Sufi like if we think you know black people in general and underrepresented women are underrepresented women of color are severely and specifically black women are very very underrepresented and like when you see that the kind of cultures built around them it's just like you know the majority whoever is in the majority whether it's men or you know white people or an intersection of both there's

Very little to call it like no one has an incentive to call each other out and there shouldn't be an incentive right but there's a huge risk involved in calling each other's behavior zout um and like you're suddenly like the woke one like you know everyone's scared of and I'm like if that's what makes me really nervous and I do think black creators is like a key here because um you know games are also really good at you know giving people experiences living inside other identities and like man wouldn't that be great if we had more black creators making like lived

Experiences and for that we need them on it on the designer and developer side like it's not just a matter of like visual representation which is fantastic that's half the battle not even half maybe like a corner um but you need to have like different experiences that speak to more people and feel safe for people like like I don't feel safe going online I'm sure a lot of like people don't feel safe either I mean like it's the number one mmm issue with going like in online games you know like racism is disgusting and I remember very clearly my very first my even my very first

Racist experience my very first online experience but it was racist it went hand in hand woman hand in hand I think that in regards to you know how we go from the future I immediately what I think is gonna happen like you see these companies trying to fund that Creek funds for to encourage more black developers or to bring you know more spotlight to them but I also think it's going to be a lot of people brought in to be consultants a lot of games which I don't which is a good baby step but you need someone who's actually going to be a creator who has a point of view in

Ways we can tell you know that's really messed up as racist that's stereotypical and and besides that it's given a freedom to be a creator I yeah what was gonna happen when that consultant just goes away like right and the culture see is the same yeah so I think that you know big picture is a lot to do and we should this last this last few moments so let's just shut out someone or a company or developer or a publisher who's making like great black video games I'm making great criticism in the written word mm-hmm

Jordan anyone you have in mind that you can shout out that you want to highlight I wanna shout out actually the game devs of color Expo that happens in Harlem here in New York this year was an online event but in the past it's been at the Schomburg Center in Harlem that's a really cool show I go every year we're just seeing all these alleys in dido scholary to show off their stuff and they've had like Microsoft and Nintendo and these other big publishers kind of kind of help them out mm-hmm that's a great event this off has been been pretty pretty good about

Funding a lot of those of color and black people Jess any mention totally black girl gamers twitch stream I love them they're awesome and I think you know it just takes like normalizing this as a thing that you know black women specifically can love for me as a white woman it took like seeing other girls playing for me like I was okay to play so I think that's super important but you know I love Lee Alexander's work just she's generally great to follow on Twitter for like her commentary for her writing and she also is a game dev and mike jan i love her too she wrote on 80

Days she is an insanely talented narrative designer eightydaze is a really interesting game if you haven't played it it's like anti-colonialism even though it's like grounded in this story based on colonialism it's really cool um and then oh I have Oh Peter Jackson has been doing incredible work not just in games but she is a was primarily a games writer but she has been doing great work advice elsewhere just follow her and her work and I think she's strong strong writer a strong Twitter yes strong Twitter presence also the entire fighting game community the

People of color the backbone of you see yes and I'll wrap this up by shouting out new challenger Sean Alexander Allen who created treachery and beat down city but we reviewed on PC Mag comm excellence beat him up RTS strategy game check it out it's one steam into various platforms mm-hmm and that's big picture we have we have a ways to go a lot to do and it's up to all of us be it people and the media beautif anne's stay on top of this because it's very easy to forget about things when they fall out of the news cycle so that's it

Yesterday future black lives matter and let's go through the fiscal let's keep going forward keep going the streets boy I'm Jeffrey Wilson Jeff Joe with a minor we're out

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