Indigenous people in video gaming

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Indigenous people have a long history of collaborating on the creation of video games.[1] It has only been with the release of Never Alone though that broad media attention has been paid to these projects.[2] There have been a growing number of game gatherings and community organizing around Indigenous games happening in the United States and Canada.[3][4] Indigenous creators of video games have been featured in the DIGITAL MEDIA ART+CADE as part of imagineNATIVE[5] and in Memories of the Future/Souvenirs du futur at SAW Video Media Art Centre in Ottawa.[6] Many early video games that depicted Indigenous people were misrepresented and perpetuated negative post-colonial stereotypes (see Custer's Revenge).[7] Video games created by Indigenous people enable the creators to self-determine how they are represented[8] and enables Indigenous people to picture themselves in the future.[9]

Games where Indigenous people represent themselves[edit]

Indigenous people have been involved in a range of projects where they have the opportunity to depict themselves. These games range in the style of the collaboration from games that consult with a single Indigenous person to games that are entirely developed and designed by Indigenous people.[1]

Indigenous people working in the gaming industry[edit]

There are Indigenous people working on a range of large blockbusters to small indie collaborations. Many of these individuals are also creating other artistic content such as comics, board games, machinima, and fine art. Achimostawinan Games[1], a team which is composed of four Indigenous video game designers Meagen Bryen and Tara Miller. Dames Making Games event[2], a not-for-profit organization which provides accessible space for females in the video game industry. Purity & Decay was created during the event by Achimostawinan[27] team which is created by Indigenous centred-lens and representational in the narrative. Achimostawinan[3] is responsible for open access games such as, Night Vision (LightMaze),and Wanisinowin | Lost. Graphic designer, Elizabeth LaPensee[4], who is Anishinaabe and Metis and the founder of LaPensee gamer, project has a role in creating Honour Water and Invaders which bridges the gap of new media and cultural traditions

Games translated into Indigenous languages[edit]

There have also been numerous video games translated into Indigenous languages. For example, Pinnguaq has localized osmosis, Ittle Dew and Beneath the Floes.[33]

Academic studies[edit]

Academic studies of indigenous video gaming are still infrequent. In 2017, the peer-reviewed open-access Indigenous Studies journal Transmotion devoted a special issue to the topic.[34]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ A Tribe Called Geek's third podcast called "Indigenous Gaming" ; see also
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  34. ^ Transmotion 3:1 (2017)