An ode to the video game community and inclusivity

It may not be perfect, but inclusivity in video gaming is constantly improving

Kefan Chen
28th February 2022
Image: VideogamersEU (YouTube)
Unlike most other forms of entertainment, video games are accessible to anyone. When participating in any kind of game, people are required to adopt a new perspective. Thanks to video games, real-life collaborative play that broadens perspectives and creates new communities is now feasible. 

The current video gaming audience is nearly equally split between men and women (54 percent vs 46 percent ), defying the stereotype that gaming is a male-dominated activity. People from all around the globe gather to play games, even if they cannot speak the same language. These new connections help gamers empathise and build compassion across cultures.

And even if you're on opposing political or geographical sides, you share more than you realise. First, we must learn to empathise with others who are unlike us. 

Games have more power than just evoking emotions. Adult gamers increasingly play with others in groups, both online and offline. Matchmaking servers and algorithms bring these strangers together to achieve a common goal. 

the Xbox Adaptive Controller allows persons with restricted movement to enjoy games on the Xbox

One mechanism alone has developed new social components and methods to participate in video game culture. Teamwork and camaraderie are fostered as well as a deeper understanding of one another as players from all backgrounds work together to attain a shared objective. Also, esports fans who gather online to discuss events, or those who travel long distances to attend live events, frequently bond over their shared passion for teams and people. 

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Accessibility has also been increasingly prioritised. In 2008, one in every five casual gamers had a physical disability. Advocacy organisations like AbleGamers, which strives to enhance the quality of gaming for disabled individuals, have helped disabled gamers. As of 2018, the Xbox Adaptive Controller allows persons with restricted movement to enjoy games on the Xbox. In 2015, a Sony PS4 system update brought text-to-speech, button remapping, and a larger typeface. Users may also now control on-screen activities via Tobii, an eye-tracking peripheral. 

The gaming community is expanding dramatically now that more people can play more games in whichever manner they choose. Their ability to connect and build communities may make them better social change agents.

Lual Mayen - a South Sudanese refugee - is the CEO of Junub Games, an American video game production firm. Inspired by his own personal experiences, he has spearheaded games that promote peace and conflict resolution. In his debut game - Salaam (2018) - the player takes the viewpoint of a refugee, with the gameplay being based around survival elements: the player must avoid explosions, get water, and seek energy points. Through Junub's philanthropic affiliations, portions of the game revenue is used to directly benefit refugees. 

Games for Change is actively establishing an industrial gaming community. Video games may be a powerful tool for social change that non-profits may use to build a community around. Games for Change hosts events like XR Brain Jam, a hackathon that brings together academics and game creators to encourage the creation of innovative health-related games.

All of this is addressed at the annual Games for Change Festival, which also includes educational games. Edtech, journalists and educators from all around the world gather to explore how to effectively use this media for social benefit. 

In an increasingly splintered culture, these soft skills help young athletes better heal the rifts

Students that take part in the Games for Change Student Challenge develop strong personal qualities, such as: empathy, cooperation, creativity, and communication. In the hands of children, games become one of the most potent methods to tell tales. Increasing "empathy and awareness of diversity" and producing "macro-minded citizens" via games. 

In an increasingly splintered culture, these soft skills help young athletes better heal the rifts. Sports bring together people from diverse cultures, beliefs, and ages, and they realise they have a lot in common. 

Social interaction via video games has never been more vital, particularly in today's more polarised society. In our increasingly divided world, video games enable us to rediscover the value of play, community, and social impact.

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