On July 14th, Harlem welcomed creators from all over to participate in Game Devs of Color Expo 2018.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is renowned for its fantastic research library that focuses on the histories of people of African descent, hosted their third annual event. As I walked through the doors and past check-in, the three floors were buzzing with excitement. There was no shortage of games to test, and pretty much every seat in front of a console, screen, or board game was occupied. People were digging the atmosphere!
It felt like there was something for everyone in each room. You like card games? BAM, check this out Are you a messy bud who enjoys playing with your food? There’s something for you! BNP’s Chris Aiken has some epic highlights from the expo, so check it out!
The energy was not muted, or awkward, or lackluster. There was so much happiness and passion in this environment, which speaks volumes for the coordinators and creators. To have a place that nourishes creatives and encourages diversity, justice, and inclusivity within the gaming and development world is immensely necessary not just for progression technologically but for the betterment of humankind.
We as a society depend on the arts, not just for entertainment but for an expression of the soul. Technological breakthroughs coupled with a need to build an inclusive community is crucial in the making of a nurturing, revolutionary game development platform. One panel focused on making this industry more aware, was Fight the Power: Activism + Politics in Game Design with A.M. Darke, Tim Flusk, Keerthik Omanakuttan, Dee Del Rosario, and Shawn Allen discussing the many nuances of creating games that hold socio-political significance. This panel focused on POC and their experiences navigating an industry that caters to the whims of cis straight white men, and how despite this, choose to nurture and grow their respective projects.
Many nerds and civilians flocked to the center, happily playing games and learning about new ones. Chris Kindred of Motherboard had his own thoughts on the expo:
When I was walking the show, watching people share their games, there was this sense of intimacy…this strong sense of community that reminded me of the days when I’d spend entire days playing games with my friends in their bedrooms. This is my second ever gaming show, the first being GDC — this major conference out in San Francisco with thousands of attendees across multiple buildings — and this was a stark contrast, and a show I think I’ll be calling my favorite for a while.
I was also able to come across some developers who were showcasing their project, Omino.
BNP: Please tell me a bit about the project you are currently working on?
Omino: Omino is a digital board game that condenses the competitive strategy game experience into quick, easy-to-learn sessions. Players use tetrominoes to pave their way across a map – and win if they can connect to their opponent before their opponent connects to them. The players start on equal footing with a base on either side of the map, and a growing hand of tiles to play – but as they build blueprints and claim structures, their advantages and disadvantages grow and change. Omino combines the speed and drama of a real-time strategy game with the accessibility and convenience of a board game.
— Omino (@PlayOmino) July 14, 2018
BNP: What did you think of the expo this year and how do you feel the dynamics were between the attendees and the creators?
Omino: It was our team’s first time at the Game Devs of Color Expo, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! We knew there was going to be a lot of people, but we never expected so much. We enjoyed having people come up to play our game and going around to play the other games being shown. The atmosphere was super positive with everyone just sharing their passion for games!
Full maps are a rarity, but they sure do feel satisfying to look at pic.twitter.com/y9hIWwwA5H
— Omino (@PlayOmino) June 27, 2018
A big shout-out to the amazing staff at Game Devs of Color Expo for having us. There were some teams out with projects in such a welcoming environment. We hope to see you next year!
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