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A video series critiquing race and representation in contemporary games and game culture.
A video series critiquing race and representation in contemporary games and game culture.
480 backers pledged $10,452 to help bring this project to life.

About

Invisibility Blues: Exploring Race in Video Games project video thumbnail
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$10,452

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UPDATE!

Thanks to our incredible supporters, we hit our funding goal and sailed right past, which can only mean one thing....

Yes, that's right, it's time for stretch goals!

While you may not get gamerscore points or trophies for unlocking achievements here, meeting stretch goals gives us rewards that the entire community can share.

$5,200 Achievement (UNLOCKED!): If the campaign is funded at a level of $5200 or more we unlock a 6th series video. This is in addition to the bonus backer-chosen video we’ve already promised! In this 6th video, we'll look at games that recreate or reimagine historical settings.

$6,000 Achievement (UNLOCKED!): If the campaign is funded at a level of $6000 or more we will create a bonus PDF compilation of all of the transcripts and supporting text and annotations (upon completion of the series).

$8,000 Achievement (UNLOCKED!): If funded at the level of $8000 or more all backers at the $25 level or above will receive a collectible bonus.

$10,000 Achievement (UNLOCKED!): If funded at the level of $10,000 or more we unlock 2 additional videos. One will be voted on by backers and the second will focus on queer issues and representations in games which we see as an expansion of our topic and equally essential.

$12,000 Bonus Swag Achievement: We’ll add stylized miniature figures of your hosts, Sam and Alisha, for all backers at $50 and above, as well as a second making-of podcast at the end of the series, in which we’ll delve more deeply into some of the topics covered in the videos.

The Campaign

We are longtime games scholars and critics, and we want to open up the conversation about race and representation in video games. Writers, critics, academics, and journalists have been talking about race in video games for years, and yet the representation of people of color in gaming hardly seems to improve. When PoC are presented, many lack nuance. Sometimes, they are completely missing from game worlds, or, if present, are relegated to background roles. We want to create a video series exploring the best examples of diverse characterizations, the worst, and the whole spectrum between.

We have been producing videos for our website, Not Your Mama's Gamer, but we would like to take that work to the next level with a dedicated series, beginning with five videos: 

  • Character Generation Engines and Representation
  • Reactions to Games Critics on Representation
  • Women of Color and Intersectionality
  • Indigenous Populations in North America
  • Race and Fantasy Games

Each video is slated to be between 15 and 25 minutes long, and produced in a documentary style, with game footage, images, and interview clips. If funded, we will also produce a bonus video with content chosen via a backer poll. If we meet our goal early, we will begin adding more videos as stretch goals.

As a part of the work that we have done at NYMG we have produced text and videos that look at games through the lenses of critical race theory and feminist theory, and we have attempted to do this in a way that makes our critique accessible and interesting to a variety of audiences. With this new series of videos our goal is to raise our production quality, add captions, and increase the depth and reach of our conversations. We would like to create a series of videos that are not only interesting to the broader games community, but that might be used by educators who teach cultural or game studies classes.

With your help, we will build on our past work to create high quality critical analyses on the ongoing issues surrounding racial representation in video games. Our project relies on our own research and analysis, as well as interviews and the work of paid consultants in order to bring more scholarly and community voices to the conversation. The funds raised in this campaign will help to provide stipends to these scholars as well as allow us to purchase the equipment necessary for quality productions. Your support will also provide necessary funding to buy and play a broader range of games than we may already own, so that we are sure to conduct the most complete analysis of the various issues possible. While we fully intend to play and engage with each of the texts ourselves, in order to deepen our understanding of the texts, if at any point we find it necessary to use someone else’s recorded playthrough to complete any video (if we experience equipment failure, etc.), that person will be compensated for their contribution to the project, and appropriately credited.

Who We Are

Dr. Samantha Blackmon is an Associate Professor of English at Purdue University. She has been gaming for more than 30 years, and now teaches and researches issues related to rhetoric and game studies. Specifically, her interest lays in critique of identity and identity formation in game studies. She is the founder of the blog and podcast "Not Your Mama's Gamer," which explores issues of gaming through a women-centric lens.

Alisha Karabinus is a PhD student at Purdue University studying rhetoric and composition. A longtime writer in a variety of forms, from literary to critical, she currently serves as Managing Editor for Not Your Mama's Gamer.

Though this project is ambitious, as scholars, educators, and gamers, we are uniquely positioned to help broaden the conversation around race in the video game industry. Please pledge what you can to the cause. Any support you can offer will help aid our research, production, and presentation.

In Case You Missed It...

...we created a project teaser! While the final series videos will boast higher production quality, to get rid of some of the issues here with sound and video, the analysis is representative to what we will offer in each volume of the series.

(Click here for a transcript of the project video).

Intro music: Dance of the Pixies by Jens Kiilstofte https://machinimasound.com/music/dance-of-the-pixies Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Risks and challenges

The main challenge for us is time. We are already working on the first two videos, for efficiency's sake, but creating footage and writing analysis takes time. We have set a long production schedule so we can work to continually deliver early rather than late.

We have set the "delivery date" for rewards to match the latest date for production and mailing of physical rewards, but we anticipate each video may take as long as three months to complete, depending on the level of research and inquiry involved. If the project funds, we anticipate delivery of the first video within two weeks of the campaign's end, and we will continue from there.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A big thank you from us for helping to make this project happen!

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    Our thanks, along with the opportunity to help choose the topic for one video in the series.

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    The above rewards, as well as access to a special making-of podcast at the midpoint of the series, and your name listed on a special backers page on NYMG.

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    The above, plus a high-quality digital download of the entire series upon completion, and a sticker pack!

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    Series Fan: All of the above, plus a T-shirt featuring the series logo.

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    NYMG Fan: All of the above, plus a T-shirt featuring the NYMG logo.

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    Swag pack! Both T-shirts and stickers, plus the lower tier rewards.

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    Supporter pack! A signed series print/poster and one T-shirt (your choice), along with your name in the credits of every video (and the earlier rewards).

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Supporter pack! A signed series print/poster and one T-shirt (your choice), along with your name in the credits of every video (and the $1-$25 rewards as well).

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    The Producer: The early rewards, a T-shirt and poster, and a producer credit on every video in the series.

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Funding period

- (30 days)