Why the hashtag #INeedDiverseGames matters to us

Like Millions of other people around the world, I love to play video games. To me, video games encompass everything I love about creativity: emotional story-telling, beautiful art work, compelling characters and a chance to escape into a different world. However, like books, movies and television, video games are in some major need of diversity. The fact is, gamers aren’t all a bunch of white dudes.

The male to female ratio is basically even, not to mention both male and female gamers are racially diverse. As a female gamer of color, it’s troubling to me that female protagonists only make up 5% of all games and you’d be hard pressed to find a person of color in a game that isn’t a trope.

The sad truth is that for every Lara Croft, there are a hundreds of Nate Drakes. The problem with diversity in games doesn’t start or end with the games themselves. Most recently the GamerGate attack on female game developer, Zoe Quinn, has proven gaming culture needs a major overhaul in general, starting with gamers themselves.

Recently on Twitter, I noticed #INeedDiverseGames trending as a response to the problem. An initial tweet by a gamer named Tanya D. (@Cypheroftyr), sparked a movement on social media where many players began speaking out about the changes that need to be made in the gaming world.

The hashtag created by Tanya D. is not unlike #WeNeedDiverseBooks, in the way that it gives a voice to something that is so needed in real time. Although not related at all to the GamerGate scandal,

Tanya explains the hashtag was created because she was tired of not seeing herself in the games she’s spent many years playing. “I am tired of being the trope, the joke, the one that gets fridged early in the game to fuel manpain for the PLOT.”

Ultimately, diversity in any form of entertainment is important, and video games are no exception. We need to change and diversify the culture of gaming, to make it a safe space where all types of players are properly represented. And one way to spark that change is by speaking out and being heard. We’re listening.   

(Image via Shutterstock)