At PSFK Conference NYC, Celestine Arnold gave an eye-opening talk on the “Ghost in the Machine: Digital Multiculture.” Celestine discussed the role of race and culture in video games – and the gaming industry’s failure to address (and successfully market towards) it. While minorities make up a disproportionately large percentage of the gaming community, most games cater to an assumed mainstream (white, male) player. Many of the same inequities, stereotypes, and social/class relations that exist in the real world, Celestine demonstrated, carry over into the gameworlds as well. And as fantastical and hyperreal as games can be, the very real effects of racism are pervasive within games and the gaming community as a whole.
Celestine argued that a huge opportunity lies in creating games geared towards their multicultured players. Game developers that think beyond the dominant culture and it’s paradigms of Good v. Evil and try to understand the cultures of their diverse players may, as Celestine demonstrated, win out in the end.
The entire talk was captivating. Watch it in full below: