We know gaming culture is male-dominated and rampant with sexism. We also know there is a scientific connection between video games and rape culture, and that the oversexualized, unrealistic portrayal of female bodies can cause women to internalize “blame the victim” myths.
We know that, despite that, almost half of all gamers are women.
Beyond sexism, there’s also the issue of heteronormativity! Games are not only designed with a male in mind, they’re designed with a straight male in mind. Oh, and he’s probably white, too. I could link to this shit all day.
So it’s encouraging to read that in some corners of the gaming world, the “people you like,” including freaks, normals, amateurs, artists, dreamers dropouts, queers and housewives, are taking back gaming for themselves. That includes a new game that recently launched a Kickstarter campaign. Dead Century is a beautiful noir-style mobile game that features queer characters (a rarity in video games) as well as fully-rounded female characters that aren’t “fat, ugly or slutty,” and people of color that aren’t embarrassing.
The game features the moody, noir-ish illustrations of comic book artist Ray Bruwelheide, and the mobile development know-how of Byte Dept. in New York. “Women, people of color, and queers of all types tend to get left out of modern video games and we’re trying to make an effort to fix that,” the group’s Kickstarter campaign declares.
The group has already released the first part of the story, an app called Dead Century: Silhouette, to show the quality of game play and depth of the story.
In Dead Century: Mosaic, players are archaeologists (the Engineer, Fusilier, and Scholar) who must fight monsters and solve puzzles and mysteries while trotting the globe to stop Third Reich scientists from piecing together an ancient mystery. The game’s architects compare it to Dungeon Hearts and 10,000, using standard role-playing game mechanics.
To build out Dead Century, its founders are raising $95,000 to release two episodes; any additional money will help them add more. With 23 days to go, they have a long way to go to towards their monetary goal; unfortunately so does the gaming world in making real changes. Dead Century is one small (and beautifully executed) effort to change the straight, white male-centric world of video games. Back it if you want to be a part of that.