Radical Inclusiveness: Reflections on #GDC14

The Glide Memorial Church Choir

Last weekend, we visited Glide Memorial Church with our shul, Peninsula Temple Sholom. Glide in an amazing institution – their message of radical inclusiveness was woven into every aspect of the service, and volunteers were actively signing up people for Covered California in the basement. They walk the talk – and their kick-ass rainbow-coalition choir is San Francisco culture at it’s best.

Radical inclusiveness was  the breakout theme of the 2014 Game Developers Conference,  Due to a rising groundswell of interest,  there was an entire Track devoted to Advocacy In a series of well-attended talks, game developers confronted  Sexism and Racism head on, rallied the troops to bring more women into gaming, and shared design tips for sneaking gay characters into your games.

The era of holding team meetings in strip clubs is coming to an end. The Gaming industry is filled with powerful, respected women, and they’re calling people out in public on their boorish behavior. Anita Sarkeesian won the Ambassador Award this year for her work examining female tropes in video games – a project which got her numerous death threats on the Internet, and a standing ovation at GDC. The times they are a’changin’

Women in Games Awards Luncheon

A particular highlight for me was attending the Women in Gaming awards luncheon. It was inspiring to see 250+ women gamedevs — from up-and-comers to full-fledged power players — all there to celebrate each other.  I connected with old friends, made  new ones, and listened to speaker after speaker talk about how she carved her path, and what’s she’s doing to make the Gaming world more inclusive and accessible to young women.

It’s no coincidence that GDC broke attendance records this year, with over 24,000 people checking out the frontiers of gaming and learn from the masters. Game development is no longer a boys club – and as ever, the transition is being driven by economics. There’s room for everyone because we NEED everyone. Mobile and PC gaming have broadened the market far beyond young males.  If you look across genres, the male/female split is roughly 50/50. We need the voices and stories of everyone – not just nerdy white guys  – to grow our industry and truly impact the culture.

Games are everywhere – and everyone’s a gamer. I’m proud to be part of making Gaming a bigger, more inclusive tent.