On the energy and nuance we don’t see around games, opportunities and more

Tanya C. DePass
3 min readDec 9, 2020

As usual, this post is a collection of a longer thread on twitter, cleaned up typos and additional thoughts etc. Start of thread is here

Good friend PleasantlyTwstd had a great thread on moral purity tests thrown at Black, POC, Queer, Disabled and other creators around engaging with problematic* media & companies. Whole thread is spot on, but this tweet in particular got me thinking & talking apparently.

Tweet from a longer thread by PleasantlyTwstd

This part. Folks were not having this same you’re my mortal enemy for eternity energy for engaging games where race/racism is a factor. Also… when I was writing about games? That’s all people wanted out of me. Opinions & Crit on the latest racist fuckery in games. Never nuance or anything beyond ain’t you mad about X game/in game issue?!

I stopped writing about games due to harassment over a mild ass opinion piece on Black Hair in games & Arms game. Even after I quit, people still thought it was cool to demand free emotional labor about every racist thing in games, ever. But they were quiet during the harassment. When people were messaging me on FB and @‘ing me on here. I got the usual BS about don’t feed trolls.

Yet there was still an expectation to feed their outrage over racism even when it didn’t affect them. Or worse when it did, and I was expected to be their outrage engine 24/7. I burnt out. It’s why I get real sharp when folks slide in DM’s or @ me about this shit. So they can feel like they did “something” about racism in games that day. But that aside… I need folks to accept that some people been waiting for this game for 8 years & don’t give a fuck about social issues, trans rights or racism in their games. It’s not great but you can’t win some battles.

You also can’t force someone to care about these issues with this game if they have never shown an inkling of caring about them before now in regards to gaming. As PT said, I’m one person & I can’t stop anyone from playing it. There’s the issue of Black, POC, queer, neurodivergent, disabled folks getting opportunities to engage with the game for streams, podcasts, written pieces. Or engaging with it for their jobs.

We sometimes can’t turn down opportunities like this. Sometimes we can but it’s rare, especially if it’s paid. But also because it usually leads to other opportunities. That (should) lead up to us opening the door for others; which for me is the point. Not for personal fame, glory or being known, or famous or some shit. We’ve seen how people act about folks who are famous in their eyes or have made it. No thank you, especially if it ever escalates to for really real, actual fame? I’d have to just go off the grid, but that’s a different convo.

Seeing someone cover the game or other media for an opportunity does not automatically equate to not to them giving a fuck about issues. When we cover those issues? We get roasted cause all some people fucking care about is a 10/10 score. Nothing less will do. Prime example. One reviewer gave it less than 10/10. First comment? Called them mentally ill & that they needed to be fired. Many more followed suit. The review? Called out issues of race & transphobia. One of the few that have done so.

Other reviews have been nuanced, but not by much. Today we’ll see streamers playing it. Some commenting on issues in the game because they do that anyway. Some will not. Honestly? I’d rather a streamer not comment on these issues if they don’t have the range to do so. But that’s me, and my 2 cents on it. Y’all make up your mind if you just need big streamers opinion no matter what; or nuanced critique from lived experiences.

However the main thing I need is for people to stop with this idea of someone engaging in media that you have problems with automatically means you don’t give a fuck about them. That applies especially when it’s a non-white, non-man who’s getting the opportunity. Also, find that same energy for all the racist shit in games y’all stay real quiet about cause it doesn’t effect you personally.

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Tanya C. DePass

INDG Founder, cast Rivals of Waterdeep, Mother Lands RPG Creative Director, diversity & inclusion consultant, freelance rpg dev, speaker & Twitch Partner