Hello everyone! Here in the United States it’s Black History Month, and all around the internet people are celebrating black characters in games. I don’t particularly feel it’s my place to do the same, so instead over the next few weeks +10 will be highlighting the real life people of color who are making strides in the gaming community. While inspired by Black History Month and the discussions that surround it, we feel it’s best to leave the analysis of characters to black people themselves. How can I, as a white woman, possibly have something more insightful to say than the people who are affected by how games represent them? So while we will certainly be boosting those voices and their work on our Tumblr and social media, our focus this month is a little broader. We want to celebrate any and all ethnic minorities in the gaming community. This first week, we’re taking a look at the people of color across the world who are making games. This list is, of course, not exhaustive, and if you have any to add, don’t hesitate to let me know!
Kiro’o Games Studio
Based in Cameroon, Kiro’o is currently developing Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. It’s a “2D African Fantasy Action-RPG that combines African legends and lore with fast-paced, real-time combat. Currently aiming for a 3016 PC release, this is one I’ll be keeping my eye on!
Known for games such as Matatu, Spar, and Karata (all digital versions of popular card games in Uganda, Ghana, and Kenya, respectively), Kola Studios, is a Ugandan development studio. They’ve also made Zword which teaches English, and as you all know, I’m always for finding interesting ways to teach using games. Unfortunately I cannot seem to access their website at this time, but I did find their Facebook!
This Brazilian indie team put out their first game, Toren, just last year. It’s a beautiful, fascinating coming of age tale about a young girl named Moonchild and I cannot recommend it enough. It can be a bit buggy at times, and you can tell it’s their first game, but I am eagerly waiting to see what they have in store for us next. It’s short, and sweet, and on sale right now!
Never Alone (Kisima ingitchuna)
The devs behind Never Alone, partnered with numerous cultural ambassadors who worked alongside them at every step of the game’s development. The resulting product is a stunningly beautiful game, with incredible voice talent, and fascinating real world excerpts that help you to learn more about the Iñupiat people. The game truly feels like a legend come to life and it was one of my very favorite games of 2014. Also, there’s an adorable fox. How can you say no to an adorable arctic fox??
Tristan D. Lalla
There’s been a lot of talk recently (and rightly so!) about the plight of the black voice actor in games. Too often, we see white people as the voices of black characters. Adéwalé from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and its DLC Freedom Cry, and Agaté, from Assassin’s Creed: Liberation seem to be only a couple of characters to actually be voiced by a person of color, and he’s a fantastic person at that! Passionate about his role and the role of Adéwalé in the franchise, Tristan D. Lalla reached out to me a few years back to let me know about about his character. At the time he suggested I read this article and listen to this interview, and as I found them very helpful back then, I would like to pass them along to you as well! Seriously such a kind man.
Black Game Devs is an excellent Twitter account for doing just what it sounds like–finding black game devs and the games they make. If you want to support more diverse games by diverse developers, this is an excellent place to start!
Black Game Devs
I’m not certain if this website is linked to the above mentioned Twitter or not, so I decided to keep them separate but this is an incredible resource for people looking to support black game developers, or hire them for projects! The website lists people working in art and animation, audio, design, writing, marketing, and more! They’re always looking for more people and companies to add to their list which you can do here.
We Are Game Devs
We Are Game Devs highlights unsugn and underrepresented talent creating games. Featuring minorities of all kinds, this is another fantastic resource for people searching for creators to support and/or work with.
As I said at the top of this post, there’s no way I can possibly list all of the amazing people working in games right now. However, I do have a few more lists you can check out with people that are absolutely worth including, but it seemed unnecessary for me to talk about these individuals when others already had. The always wonderful Sarah the Rebel has a series over at Remeshed about women of color game developers which has two parts: here’s one, and here’s two. The Atlanta Blackstar has this great list of African Americans who are making an impact in games.
Next week we’ll be highlighting the people of color working as critics and academics in the world of games. If you would like to be featured in this list, or know of people who should be, you can either shoot me an email, or let us know via social media!