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Who’s at the Table, Who’s in the Game: Perspectives on Diversity and Lack Thereof in Game Representation and Development


Hear from three designers/writers on the ways that games, and the manner of their production, succeed in including and excluding a specific bodies and identities.

Andrea Morales Coto

“Online distribution platforms, born from an instrumental need to sell more in an easier way, are reflecting the intersectorial limitations that diverse game creators are currently experiencing in the offline world. This talk synthesizes distribution models in gaming history, analyzing their affordances for inclusion and diversity. It then visualizes possible paths for future distribution systems, emphasizing those that present the most potential for incrementing the participation of minorities and diverse designers in the games industry. The talk presents the work in progress of a prospective design project being developed by Andrea Morales, grad student at the Transdisciplinary Design MFA in Parsons The New School of Design.”

Sande Chen:

Writer and game designer Sande Chen presents a retrospective about the attitudes faced by female developers and female players over the past decade and discusses how the issues of female players, female developers, and female characters are intertwined.

Shoshana Kessock:

“Game design is a blank slate and the sky’s the limit in terms of what can be created inside of a game space. Yet one look at the history of games shows a tradition of presenting only able-bodied and beautiful characters and avatars across all mediums of games. We’ll take a look at the ways in which game design has a practice of erasing those with different body types from games, and identify key fundamentals of design that bias games towards the socially acceptable, ‘normal’ human ideal.”