Video Game Conference CTEP 2019-20 CE Project
Video Games and the culture that surrounds them are playing an ever increasing role in the lives of young people around the world. As video games have skyrocketed in popularity, the issues that plague the industry have become much more apparent, namely, the issue of representation. When looking at the industry industry as a whole, it is clear that it caters specifically to heterosexual, cisgendered, white males. From those who are involved in making the games, to those who make a living off them via streaming or esports, the aforementioned group is much more highly represented than others. Even within the games themselves, people who do not fall under that category are either not represented at all, or reduced to dangerous stereotypes that help perpetuate white supremacy. Women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ identified folks often feel intimidated, unwelcome, and unheard in the gaming community.
Our Civic Engagement Project this year aims to help tackle the issue of representation in video games by creating a fun event and accompanying website that helps spread awareness that video games are for everyone, and that no matter who you are, gaming culture is yours and you can participate in anyway that you want. We also provide resources that debunk the long held belief that video games do not contribute anything positive and are a “waste of time”.
Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were originally planning to host an in-person video game conference for youth on Saint Paul’s East Side. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option due to safety concerns, so instead we opted for an online conference that will be streamed on Twitch.tv. The conference will run from Tuesday, July 14th through Thursday, July 16th and each day the stream will cover different content. Day 1 will focus as an intro to the gaming world, good games for beginners, and resources related to how you can get involved. Day 2 will focus on representation in gaming, and how it can be much better than its current state. Finally, Day 3 will be all about the gaming industry and how you can make a career out of your love of video games. We will also be streaming games and inviting attendees to join up for some friendly competition. There will also be video game codes available that we will give out via a raffle!
To accompany the online conference, we also launched a website that provides more in depth information related to gaming accessibility and representation. We also included resources that direct teens to more information about coding, game design, and game studies. The website is intended to be a lasting legacy of this project, and we hope that teens use it for years to come. Each member of this team is passionate about video games and sharing that passion with others. We hope that this project will play a pivotal role in starting difficult conversations around the issues in the gaming industry, and help contribute to creating a community where all gamers can truly feel at home.
Group Members: Rachel Brodt, Matthew Bruess, Kim Delveaux, Erienne Nelson, Pierre Young
Community Partner: Saint Paul Public Library
Each year our 35 CTEP AmeriCorps members choose community action projects that make a contribution to bridging the digital divide. The CTEP civic engagement projects are often cited by CTEP AmeriCorps members, staff, supervisors, and community supporters as one of the most unique and energizing parts of the program. This is one of the 2020 civic engagement projects.