10 Pro-Black Moments In Gaming
Gaming is a well known toxic environment for most people who are at risk to discrimination in the real world, this includes women, the LGBTQ+ community and ethnic minorities who at some point will likely experience lack of representation, trolling or stereotyping. At the same time there is an on going debate whether the game industry should be more active in combating this or whether gaming should be left as a means of escapism to real world problems, but for a lot of gamers discrimination isn't escapable even while playing video games. This list celebrates some of the rare moments where the gaming industry took a stand against racism and being black was celebrated.
10. NBA 2k Adds BLM Clothing
81 percent of basketball players in the NBA are black and it's been well documented how proactive the players have been with walk outs and kneeling before and during games, so its only right that the NBA game reflects this. This is why developers allowed gamers to show their support of the BLM movement with in-game clothes. On the surface this may seem somewhat half-hearted for such a big game but we haven't seen any other games take such a stance and it could easily recreated in games such as GTA or Fortnight. Regardless, this hopefully will help keep the momentum up and the conversation going which is much needed in the gaming community and in real life.
9. Humble Game's $1 Million Developer Fund
Humble Games was born from the more well known Humble Bundle store where you can get bundles of a games for a subscription fee, meaning you can access more games for a lower retail price. During the 2020 BLM movement we've seen a lot of brands and companies suddenly jump to help out the black community, and while you can be the judge whether they have sincere or not, we do believe this one is a good one. The lack of black developers and racism is rife in the gaming industry and this $1 Million fund could really will help a lot of developers out there that can't get the funding or jobs that they deserve. With games such as Forager, A Hat in Time and Minkeo's night forest as some of Humble Games current published titles, it would be great to see some black developed games next to those. You can apply here.
Ever played a party game, board game or video game and thought "wait a minute, where are all the black references?" well Blebrity was created to combat just this. Founded by Jesse Williams, Blebrity is a mobile game that combines the rules of Who am i? and Articulate but makes it that the questions are inclusive to black culture. From almost 100 categories to choose from such as tv shows, dance moves and divas theres something for everyone and in the name of inclusivity there are LGBT friendly categories too!
7. The Black Simmer
You may or may not be surprised to know that there is a huge Sims online community, to the point they've even recently started an online sims contest called Spark'd. There are loads of streamers that focus on just The Sims games and made careers being "pro simmers" even though there was no actual contest until recently. However the lack of diversity in The Sims games has been prevalent since the beginning and The Black Simmer community are sick of waiting for the developers to catch up. By creating custom downloadable packs and mods they've managed to do what the creators have not, they've added more hair textures, a range broader range of skin tones, diverse clothing styles, different facial features and general culture to the game bringing The Sims up to date. You can follow / join the black simmer community here.
6. Mafia 3
When developers of Mafia 3 said they wanted to tackle racism, i'm sure it raised many eyebrows. Theres an on going argument in gaming whether games should allowed to be "political" or whether it should stay a place of escapism. We personally think it can be both and this game proved us right. Mafia 3 looks like any other GTA inspired 3rd person shooter, but as begin to play it becomes apparent it's in fact so much more. Playing as a black character named Lincoln Clay means you experience similar things a real black man would such as if you even look at a police officer the wrong way they'll track you down and you experience different police response times depending on how white your neighbourhood is. The list goes on with amount of microaggressions subtly put into the game but hopefully it made players think or at least subconsciously more self aware.
5. Black Girl Gamer's Summit
The fact that Black Girl Gamers even exists is a great pro-black moment in gaming but they managed to do something pretty spectacular with their summit this year. On June 13th 2020 they broke records holding the first ever summit with a purely black female panel made up of professionals from the gaming industry. This was an important moment for black girl gamers everywhere to know that it is possible to have a career in the industry you love even if it doesn't seem apparent from outside looking in.
4. Hair Nah
Most black people if not all black people have at some point unexpectedly felt a tug on their hair, only to realise a white person has without permission entered your personal space and has their hand in your hair. Or if you haven't you might of heard some of the most dreaded words known to black people "Can i touch your hair?". Now we don't know about anyone else but we've never felt entitled or the urge to just touch someones hair. Well now you can get to defend your hair in this mini arcade game that makes light of this experience while commenting on an important issue. Pick a hair style and as you travel to different location u must swipe away the hands by clicking or using the arrow keys as they increase in speed. You can play it for free here .
3. Game Devs Of Color Expo
Game Devs of Color is an Expo that was created as safe space for everyone, it highlights specifically creators of colour giving them a platform online and offline, also involving panel discussions often overlooked by other Expos. Founded in 2015 by 6 people who have experience in the gaming industry and events, their aim is to create a "new norm" in the industry of inclusivity and diversity that is celebrated in video games. Growing bigger year on year, as of 2019 GDoCExpo has nearly 1000 attendees and is sponsored by some big companies names such as EA, Nintendo and Xbox. You can catch up on previous panel talks here.
2. South Park's Difficulty Setting
South Park: The Fractured but Whole
In 2014 South Park along with Ubisoft produced a game no one predicted would be as good as it was, The Stick Of Truth. Even if you're not a fan of turn based games, TSOT will make you second guess yourself as its so easy to pick up and fun to play once you get the hang of it. So in 2017 when they released the sequel, The Fractured but Whole doing, and doing what South Park does best (anything controversial) they decided to make a funny yet serious comment on society with their choice of difficulty settings. Depending on what shade of brown your character is would depend on the in game difficulty, the darker you go the harder the game would be. This as you can imagine shocked the gaming industry but many praised it for its blatant message that it is in fact harder to be black.
1. Itch.io's Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality
2020 saw one of the biggest wide spread protests and people standing up for BLM than we've ever seen before. However often companies empathy seemed very performative and they weren't doing anything but posting a black square. Itch however put their money where their mouth is and not only helped raised awareness and funds for BLM but also for hundreds of independent games and developers. They bundled a huge mass of over 1500 games and gave them all to you for $5 / £4.30 and it also included some big names such as Celeste, A Short Hike and A Night in the Woods, allowing many to take a break from the distressing time we were going through. In the end Itch.io raised over $8 Million dollars for NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund which is an amazing achievement.