We’ve got another great episode in store for you How Do You Like it So Far? fans! This week, Henry and Colin are joined by Kishonna L. Gray, an Assistant Professor in Communication and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Co-Editor of the book Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice. Woke Gaming argues that the intersection between the gaming culture and identity is deeply entangled with systematic exploitation and oppression in mainstream society. The book also explores what alternatives to mainstream gaming — whether through the indie game movement or fan reworkings and moddings of games — might contribute to the reimagining of games as a medium. Using Assassin’s Creed as an example, Gray discusses here how the dearth of female characters in the game serves as a mirror for the inequalities and social injustices that are pervasive in today’s society. Her discussion of minorities in gaming includes the Girl Games Movement, Gamergate and the difference between the black gaming culture and the black games movement. Listen in as Gray imagines a world where the gaming culture breaks down persistent racial stereotypes by becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive. She even mentions a book that Henry edited in the 1990s!
Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:
From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games – Henry’s book with Justine Cassell
Examples of games from Woke Gaming:
FanCons – public gaming spaces
Games are a medium, not a genre – insight from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics
Black Games Movement
Lincoln Clay – Mafia III storyline