Recording by AlterConf and Post Production by Confreaks
Can exclusion sometimes be a positive thing? This talk covers how smaller exclusive groups can actually increase diversity in the larger inclusive groups and end up benefitting the larger community!
To complete her Intercultural Relations Master's program, Khadeja Merenkov did an ethnographic study of the indie game developer community in the Boston area. One of the issues she saw within the group was a lack of diversity - a sea of white men met her at every event and studio. What became apparent as well was a worry about a lack of originality within the community. Soon, she figured out that the indies may benefit by looking at both issues as two sides of the game development coin. Using her experience as an Interculturalist, international citizen, and writer, Khadeja's talk will include an analysis of how diverse teams will change game creation - and keep alive the innovation indies are known for.
Whether it's at the dinner table, on social media, or in the office break room, many of us like to talk about controversial topics. Yet all too often, these debates go badly -- and not just when participants have clashing beliefs and values. What's going on? We'll go over a variety of dynamics that can poison conversation, including interruptions, topic control, tone policing, and more. This talk goes beyond explaining why these behaviors are harmful and talks about how to address them when you observe them in others - or in yourself.
Gaming coverage in the '80s and '90s typically involved tech-focused product reviews that purported to be objective. As a game journalist, I've found that cult of objectivity persists to this day, long after games have supposedly been accepted as "art" by society. Critics of music, sculpture, or ballet have long since overcome these hurdles, as well as the concept of objectivity in general -- even in news and event reporting. I believe it's time for videogame journalists to advance past the "new journalism" claims of the 1960s, and on to the late 1970s -- specifically, to gonzo journalism. Gonzo journalism operates on the assumption that the supposed "objectivity" of reportage is impossible, instead emphasizing that greater accuracy and honesty can be found in first-person narrative. In other words, an emotional response is considered more honest, not less, in comparison to a supposedly "objective" perspective. Since all game reviews are "reports" of our own experiences in virtual worlds, and since we all are biased, why not embrace this form in our future coverage of games?
Trans_ is the first anthology to collect the voices and experiences of trans people speaking to how the Internet has impacted our lives and how we have impacted the Internet.
Co-editors Harlan Kellaway and Mitch Kellaway to speak, nina malaya sadly lives far far away in Canada.
Violence in games is big business, yet emotional situations closer to everyone's real life--falling in love, having sex, making a family--are scarcely represented in most video and tabletop role playing games. When present they often fall into hetero-normative, gender-scripted and discriminatory patterns. Join game designers Meguey Baker, Emily Care Boss and Lizzie Stark as they talk about their experiences running and designing games that embrace love and sex in inclusive and socially progressive narratives. From transformational larps dealing with the AIDS in gay communities in the 1980s to sex-positive tabletop role playing games, they share models that offer a wider look at the human experience. In their own work, Baker teaches sexuality health curricula, Boss wrote a trio of games with a romance theme, and Stark runs workshops on a Nordic technique created by Emma Wieslander called "Ars amandi" (http://www.ars-amandi.se), which allows players to platonically simulate sex in live action role playing games.
As game development tools become more accessible, cheaper, and better distributed, voices that were previously given no platform in game design are finding new ways to speak up. The past few years have seen the development of unprecedented numbers of personal narratives in small games, many of which are written by and for marginalized people, and some of these games have received a lot of attention -- both good and bad. Caelyn Sandel will share a perspective on the rise of 'diary games' and similar interactive media from marginalized game designers, exploring the value in these creations as well as the pushback they receive.
This year some of the most prominent companies in Silicon Valley released data on the demographic makeup of their employees, revealing how largely white and male their workforce actually is. While the numbers weren’t great, the release sparked a surge in investment in programs designed to strengthen the educational pipeline for women and minorities in tech. As these programs broaden the number of viable pathways that people can take to increase their programming literacy, the next challenge lies in understanding how these learning experiences translate into meaningful career opportunities for underrepresented groups in tech. This requires a close examination of how companies identify and evaluate talent in this space. In this talk I will share insights from interviews with founders and head recruiters of tech companies regarding their hiring and recruitment practices for engineers. I will then juxtapose those practices with the pathways I observed a group of high-performing minority college students take in order to get their first internships in Silicon Valley. This will enable us to identify the limitations of the current hiring practices used in the Valley, which have been calibrated to a very specific notion of "top talent." I will then share an emerging set of alternative practices and metrics for identifying engineering talent from a broader and deeper pool of talent.