The gaming industry has many problems with abusive workplaces, especially with regards to women. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Activision-Blizzard has been in the spotlight after the state of California raised a lawsuit against them for cultivating a toxic workplace for women. Even more stories have come out since then and in fact, just this morning, the president of Blizzard stepped down amidst all this.
However, it goes without saying that the video game industry isn’t the only industry that suffers from these kinds of problems. Eliana/@TheStorysinger, an audio professional that works as a game dev on the side, hopes to highlight issues in the audio production industry. To do so, she’s working on a Twine game with the apt name of Sexism and Discrimination in the Audio Industry, a collection of experiences of women and people of marginalized identities in the industry. She reached out to me about this and I asked a few questions about the game.
How did you come to start working on this game?
I came to start working on this game after I posted a tweet about how being a woman in audio is “an inseparable fact”. You can read that tweet here:
After I tweeted that out, someone reached out to me about her experience working at a scoring stage. I quote-tweeted that with my shock at her experience & she replied to me. From there, I started feeling rage & anger on behalf of women & marginalized gender folks in audio, so much that I couldn’t concentrate on the gaming project I was working on at the time. I then decided, then & there, to make a game about the experiences of women & marginalized gender folks in audio to tell their stories.
Why format this through Twine? What are the advantages of doing so?
I choose to format this in Twine for a few reasons. First, I’ve made a lot of Twine games before, so it’s a program I know well. But perhaps most importantly, by formatting this in Twine, I can tell everyone’s stories exactly as they were told to me, in their own words. And that’s really important for a game like this.
Is it emotionally draining to work on something like this, considering the subject matter?
It isn’t emotionally draining to work on this as much as it’s enraging. After hearing all these stories, I woke up in the middle of the night 2 days in a row out of sheer anger on behalf of women & marginalized gender folks in the audio & music worlds. I’m still angry right now, as I type this, & I’m sure if I reread every submission I’ve gotten thus far, I’d get angry again.
Do you think that this game could help make changes about these issues in the audio industry?
I believe in games & art as a conduit for change, yes. If nothing else, I hope this game open’s people—especially men’s—eyes to the things women & marginalized gender folks experience while working audio, & helps them be more aware of what they can do to ally with us.
If you had the power to do so, what would you do to change the industry?
Finally, if I had the power, I would make it so that men weren’t so sexist towards me & my fellow women & marginalized gender folks in audio/music. And I’d make it so that nonbinary audio pros aren’t constantly misgendered. That is all.
The game is being built on through anonymous submissions from people that work in the industry. If you have your own experiences to share, consider reaching out to Eliana.
Even if her game doesn’t change the industry, it’s important because it’d raise awareness of issues in an industry that not a lot of people hear about. Like how the Activision-Blizzard situation has encouraged other people to share their stories, something like this would too.