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Watch This, Please: GDC's #1ReasonToBe Panel

Here at RPS, we are not shy about our support for gender equality in the gaming industry, both in terms of the representation in the games we play and at the various companies that make them. It’s a tremendously important matter from just about every standpoint imaginable, from so-called “practicality” (read: business) to common human decency. Nothing, however, beats a firsthand account of the problem at hand – not even a cheeky gallery of StarCraft II’s most cheek-ridden bits. And so, I highly, highly, highly recommend GDC’s absolutely excellent #1ReasonToBe panel. You can now view the entire thing online for free, and even in itsy bitsy box-shaped form, it’s a truly moving, important thing. The experiences Brenda Romero, Robin Hunicke, Leigh Alexander, and co outline – alienation, sadness, rage, doubt, loneliness, discomfort, fear – are why equality matters, and their continued love of gaming becomes all the more powerful in light of that. This is, in my opinion, required viewing. I very much hope you’ll agree.

Quick details, in case – for some bonkers reason – you’re still on the fence. The full lineup of panelists is Brenda Romero (Game Designer in Residence, University of California at Santa Cruz), Robin Hunicke (Co-Founder, Funomena; formerly of thatgamecompany), Leigh Alexander (Editor at Large, Gamasutra; dear friend of RPS and probably also the animals), Elizabeth Sampat (Game Designer, Storm 8), Kim McAuliffe (Microsoft Studios) and Mattie Brice (MA Student, Creative Writing, San Francisco State University; writer for many excellent places).

Unfortunately, the video’s not embeddable, so you’ll have to – DUN DUN DUN – click on one extra thing, which will probably kill you. But yes, I implore you: go watch it. You will seethe with anger, frown at hideous injustice, and feel empowered by all the passion on display. And then when Brenda Romero comes on, you’ll do all three with a healthy dose of laughter thrown in for good measure.

But ultimately, more than anything else, this panel brought people together. Yes, everyone commiserated, but it was over a legitimate desire to see the gaming industry do better. There was fire – and plenty of it – but it wasn’t aimed at burning down some Evil Establishment That Man Has Wrought. There’s plenty of room for all sorts, so long as we leave the doors open. That was the message here. Everyone wants to feel like they belong, and #1ReasonToBe – for a brief, wonderful moment – created just such a space. A lot of people cried openly all throughout, and you want to know why? Because they finally felt comfortable. Relieved. Relaxed. Happy.

Finally. That’s how everyone could feel.

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Nathan Grayson

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