A Black woman and her child playing video games

Changing the Narrative: Why Representation in Video Games Matters

As a research-focused organization with a mission to use data and insights to encourage broader representation in media, we understand the far-reaching effects that media has on our social, cultural, and individual values and perspectives – and this includes video games. Video games are an important cultural touchstone that also influences other forms of entertainment, and like other media, they play an important role in socialization. For this reason, we present the following literature review on the importance of representation in video games. With this, we have crafted a list of opportunities for creators to ensure their video games reach gamers from marginalized and often underrepresented communities. Some of our key findings were:

Opportunities to Broaden Inclusivity in Character Development and Narrative Design

The insights in this paper shine light on opportunities for game developers and designers to broaden representation and diversify the portrayals of marginalized communities in video games. For creatives, these opportunities will help prevent the reproduction of real-world cultural stereotypes when creating new fictionalized cultures.

  1. Diversify across Character Types
  2. Create Multidimensional Characters
  3. Recognize How Characters’ Identities Intersect with World-Building
  4. Incorporate Gameplay Mechanics That Actively Challenge Rigid Masculinity
  5. Incorporate Gameplay Mechanics That Actively Challenge Identity-Based Stereotypes
  6. Eliminate Sexualized Violence
  7. Broaden Characters’ Body Types to Tell New Stories
  8. Hire Balanced Developer Teams

For the full list of recommendations, see the full report.

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