Wednesday, March 26, 2014

GDC Women And Silly Ohio

This is one of those days where I flip through the news and say "Okay...how did these end up under the same search?"

After last year's Twitter boost of the hashtag #1ReasonWhy, with the subsequent panel at GDC, the second year of the same panel brought another inspiring speech from an indie female game developer. Deirdra Kiai has won several awards for her work over the past year, and shared her experience of what it's really like to be a woman in the industry. I think what really hit home was this: "Making games is easy. Belonging is hard....I could make a million games with the energy that trying to belong takes out of me." Yep. We know exactly how that feels.

And then on the opposite end of the spectrum, the Huffington Post has a story about video games promoting racist behavior among white players. 

...what?

Apparently, according to a research released from Ohio State University, playing as a black character in a violent game reinforces stereotypes, and causes white gamers to hate black people. Or something along those lines. As a good journalist should, the Huffington Post found someone to counteract the crappy study (I mean just read it. It's inherently biased and intentionally seeking out a negative outcome against video games). 126 white undergraduate students were given a random avatar to play in Saints Row 2, and a mission: a violent one or a non-violent one. No other races or ethnicity were included in the test. White students playing either a white or a black avatar. And it turns out that most of the "random" missions selected for the black avatars were violent related. It probably doesn't help that the game was Saints Row 2. Even Saints Row 4 has more cartoonish violence then 2. "It's really just not a very good study." Thanks Dr. Chris Furgeson. I couldn't agree more.

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