Many women find the world of video games to be hostile territory. You might remember the Gamergate issue of a few years back, where women were targeted and harassed by male gamers. And Gamergate wasn't limited to gender based harassment. It was a campaign against progressive values and themes in general in video game culture.
But there are progressive game developers who are claiming space in the gamer ecosphere for issues related to justice, equity, and feminism. Today’s guest on rabble radio is one of those people.
rabble podcast executive producer Victoria Fenner talks to Jean Leggett, a Canadian video game developer living in Barrie, Ontario. Working with her partner Blair Leggett, Jean is creating games which dare to address subjects that Gamergaters oppose through their company One More Story Games.
Their newest game is based on a story by American best selling author Charlaine Harris. It’s part of the author’s series the Lily Bard Mysteries and is called The Body in Shakespeare Park.
In case you’re wondering why a video game story is on rabble book lounge, it’s because this game is a combination of book and video game action. One More Story Games is a platform where the story comes first.
The game invites you to explore the town of Shakespeare, interview suspects and figure out who dunnit. It sounds like a straight up murder mystery, but this one is more complex. It comes with trigger warnings because it deals with the complex and difficult subject of sexual assault. Jean and Blair knew they were standing on difficult territory when they decided to work with this theme. And they made sure that their approach towards the violence in the story and game helps people, especially women, and goes way beyond the standard tropes of video game culture.
Further reading: Jean talks about her approach in a blog post called Game Developers Must Treat Sensitive issues Ethically and Responsibility on the One More Story Games website.
Image: from Chapter Five of The Lily Bard Mysteries -- The Body in Shakespeare Park. Used with permission.
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