Black Game Studies introduces the work of game makers from the African diaspora through academic scholarship, personal narratives and an catalog of works. It aims to provide a foundation from which researchers, designers, developers, game historians and others can draw an understanding of patterns, present practice, and a potential afro-future. Its works to make more visible, through aggregation and showcase, the creative contributions of Black game makers. It is an effort to meet the need to diversify the game-making community by not only highlighting the work of Black people, but in creating an enduring archive of such work.
This collection serves as a one stop introduction to the contributions to analog and digital game making provided by members of the Black community. With contributions from game academics, professional game designers, hobbyists, and others the book exposes the wide array of work produced by makers of African descent. It is organized in three primary sections. The first helps define the space, the characteristics of Blacks games and the motivations engendered in their design. The second reports on the personal experience of Black game makers through their own stories and essays. The last section contains a catalog of images and content from 40 Black game makers and their teams.
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The book is published by Carnegie Mellon University's ETC Press with support from
the Higher Education Video Game Alliance
The book was edited, authored, designed, and compiled by Lindsay Grace.
Additional chapter contributions by Aaron Trammell and Allen Turner
Blake Andrews (Everythingistaken), Gordon Bellamy (Full Professor, USC Games, CEO, Gay Gaming Professionals), Patricia Bobo (Senior Vice President of Operations, Cards for all People), Lamont A. Harrell II (CEO & Founder of Black Game Maker’s Association) , iThrive Games SEED Institute , Jonathan Herman Jennings , Neil Jones (Aerial_Knight) , Boris Willis (Associate Professor of Experimental Game Design at George Mason University and Founder, Black Russian Games)
While people are encouraged to buy a print copy of the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu, or a variety of other libraries and booksellers, the book is also available as a free PDF from ETC Press. The book is offered as a free download to promote equitable access and high visibility.
The book and its research was made possible through support from
This course hosted by the University of Miami introduces students to the fundamental of Game Studies as a discipline and learn what is unique about Black Game Studies as a focus. This course focuses on learning the fundamental elements of how games impart meaning and values, reflecting both culture and educating players about other perspectives.
Course Learning Objectives
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- Describe the value and key characteristics of general game studies
- Describe the relationship of games to culture, community
- Define Black Game Studies and the many ways in which games can be analyzed from pragmatic to intention
- Identify characteristics of Black Games as distinctly reflective of the community’s experience and the nature of the diaspora
- Identify games from African developers and the significance of the African market to the global economy
The book is an edited archive of games made by people of the African diaspora. It aims to provide a foundation from which designers, developers, game historians and others can draw an understanding of patterns, present practice and a potential afro-future. Its aim is to make more visible, through aggregation and showcase, the contributions of African Americans, African nationals and other diaspora members. It is an effort to meet the need to diversify the game-making community by not only highlighting the work of Black people, but in creating an enduring archive of such work. In short, it is an effort to document the game design and development work of Black people.
This collection serves as a one stop archive for the contributions of a community more likely than any other racial group to identify as gamers (Grace et al, 2018), yet are less than 2% of the game development industry (Weststar et al, 2019). Pew research found that among youth, African-Americans are the most likely to play video games, at 83%, exceeding both white (71%) and Hispanic (69%) children (Lenhert, 2015). More than a collection of games that focus on Blackness, it is a collection of work that is made by those who belong to the Black community, the games that result from a lived experience.
The book serves as a kind of exhibition in book form, offering an online and print snapshot of the contemporary state of Black game making. It draws from the wide array of work produced by makers of African descent.
A free, creative commons version of the book is available here.