Bet you never thought this day would come. It’s been…awhile, to say the least, and there have been many times I’ve thought I would bring the website back, but there was always something that got in my way.
I am thrilled to tell you all that as of right this second, +10 to Fire Resist is officially relaunching and I couldn’t be happier with the changes we’ve made! The first and most obvious to you is the new layout and design. It’s a much sleeker design and I am able to do much more with it. So hooray for new beginnings!
The other big change is less of a rehaul and more of an evolution. Over the last year I have had a considerable amount of time to think about +10, the ways in which I failed as a newbie blogger, and the ways in which I would love to see the site grow. In the beginning I never really intended +10 to be for anyone but me. It was to be a place where I vented my frustrations with the industry, and sought to find devs and games that were pushing boundaries. To my dismay, right from the start, people started taking an interest, primarily indie devs and those interested in their games. Right before my eyes +10 was becoming something I didn’t know how to handle and something I had most certainly not anticipated. Suddenly there were people reading things I wrote and I didn’t know how to cope. I made several on the fly changes, but what would have been best was to sit down, pause everything, and think about what I wanted from +10, and what I wanted +10 to give to the community.
A year is a long time and I can confidently say that I now know what I want +10 to be. I looked at many things when trying to figure out where I wanted to go. I looked back at the responses I’d received from indie devs, I looked at the Twitter exchange I had with the lovely people behind the Shrug Worlds account, who urged me to not give up and to keep going because a dialogue between those who play games and those who make them is important. I looked around me at various blogs that specialized in the same areas I did–blogs that focused on intersectional feminism, blogs that focused on LGBTQ+, blogs that focused on disabled gamers, blogs that focused on people of color, etc, etc. And I realized something: what if +10 was meant to be the umbrella where all of these different people–people who are traditionally marginalized in games–could come together. What if we merged all of these different facets and created a place where we could all interact safely with one another? What if these different perspectives and diverse views, when brought together, were able to help each other in making change? I am not saying that those sites shouldn’t exist–quite the opposite in fact!* I think it is incredibly important for marginalized people to have safe communities that are exclusively for them. But, as someone who came to this from the perspective of a white, able-bodied woman dealing with mental health problems, the two issues I was obviously most focused on were women in games, and the portrayal of mental illness, and this meant that those were pretty much the only two issues I dealt with.
Obviously there are many more issues facing game design and the community, and over time I was exposed to them and worked to include them in my critiques as well. But sometimes there is danger in exclusively surrounding ourselves in communities of people who think and feel the same as we do. Sometimes it’s important to remember that there are other people out there who are fighting for representation just as much as we are. In the end we may all be coming from different backgrounds with different life experiences and different persepectives, but we’re all here, spending hours of our time, trying to make games be the beautiful, inclusive and diverse artform we know they can be.
But I’m not just stopping at the social issues that plague games. While these are a very big and very real hurdle that games need to face, there are other elements of game design that are holding this wonderful medium back. And that is mainly the design itself. I would like to extend an invitation, not just to marginalized groups who exist within games and are seeking better representation, but also to those who are making games to join our dialogue. Many games are not only lacking in terms of diverse storytelling and characters, but also mechanics and gameplay. Games seem to be trapped in this archaic definition of what they have to be, and the industry as a whole appears too frightened to try anything else. This is where the second (though equally as important) focus of +10 comes in. We are here to offer a more critical view of the gameplay and mechanics of a game, and how they relate to the story and characters. Do they create a cohesive unit in which the gameplay in inseparable from the story, or can you watch the entire story via cutscenes on YouTube and not have to see a single moment of gameplay in order to fully grasp it?
I’m getting ahead of myself right now, but these are the sorts of questions you can expect to see in future posts.
The final change, and the most exciting if you ask me, is the addition of two new staff members! Please help me in sending a very warm welcome to Radical Helmet who is signing on as a bi-weekly staff writer and whose work you all should catch up on. Links are in his bio. I am delighted to have him join us and I can’t wait for you all to see the insightful and intriguing posts he publishes!
Our other new staffer is Tam who you may know as @thequeueru on Twitter and Youtube. She is a wonderful, wonderful lady who has decided to join us as a community manager! You will all love her and I’m excited for you to get the chance to meet her!
In other (sort of similar news), Mhorgain has recently graduated (with some pretty awesome honors) from college and has more free time on her hands. She plans on contributing to the site occasionally as a writer. We’re also throwing around the idea of a Sunday afternoon stream, but more on that as we get it figured out.
One last note concerning changes: the news show will be coming back starting next week, but under a new name, so keep an eye out for that!
As always, if YOU would like to join our team, whether as a writer, podcaster, YouTuber, etc, check out our Opportunities page for more info!
It’s been a long time, but I am soooo happy to be back. I hope you’ll enjoy the new +10 and join us on this crazy adventure. <3
May all your jars be full of rupees,
*We are currently working on a directory of inclusive game spaces, if you would like to be included in the list, email me at Raeyn@plus10tofireresist.com!