Diversity & Inclusion
Events / Gaming

Different Games: diversity gaming conference starts tonight at NYU-Poly

Different Games makes diversity in game-making a central topic. We check in with a local game maker presenting at the conference.

On campus at NYU-Poly, during CSAW 2013. Photo by Brady Dale

Different Games will be back for its second year at NYU Poly‘s Downtown campus this weekend, kicking off tonight. Different Games is a conference on diversity and access in gaming, as well as a collaboration between students at the school and students at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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The conference begins at 6pm tonight and will run throughout Saturday. Panels will include queer advocacy in the games community and differently-abled gaming. Workshops and breakout sessions will address inclusivity, games and real life and game modding. Games by students and indie developers will be demo’ed.

“We want to amplify the voices of people you don’t often hear from in games, to celebrate their contributions, and build a community while making games a safer space for all kinds of folks,” said Sarah Schoemann, co-organizer, in a press release from the school. She founded the program as a student at NYU, but is now a doctoral student in Georgia.

The organizers connected us to Brooklyn game designer, Toni Pizza. She’s running a workshop both on games about mental health and mental health inside the industry.

Pizza told us that there’s a certain orthodoxy in the gaming scene about who can say they are a game maker, and this conference is pushing back against that.

She said, “So, queers, people of color, people with differing abilities, people who make weird games, people who are outspoken about discrimination and bigotry– we wanted to make a space where they were welcome and encouraged to build community. It’s pretty rad.”

Pizza is working on a text oriented, touch screen game that’s meant to give you a sense of different mental health treatment options, called Prozac for Breakfast.

Companies: NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Series: Brooklyn

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