Safe Spaces and Inclusivity

Hi everyone!

On Tuesday, someone brought up concerns about one of our speakers, Jeffrey Yohalem, due to his previous involvement as the lead writer for Far Cry 3 and his subsequent defense of the harmful tropes contained within the game as satire.

We hear you.

The content of Far Cry 3 is deeply problematic. It perpetuates the worst tropes of violence, misogyny, and colonialism. Satire is not an excuse when the AAA context is filled with games whose own, unconsidered use of those tropes is equally horrific.

But every article we read reaffirmed that Jeffrey was earnestly trying to do what he could within a hugely flawed and itself problematic system: AAA. Rare is it that we can accomplish our goals as we intend, and for those of us who’ve worked in AAA, it says a lot that he even made a noticeable mark on the otherwise automated machine of game development.

We also spoke to Jeffrey directly, along with a few of the voices who echoed concern about his involvement. In the end, we went to our own QGCon safe space policy:

“We recognize that many people are coming to our conference with different understandings of privilege and social oppression, and mistakes may happen. Because of this, it is paramount that we encourage attendees to speak when they can about something that bothers them, and for those who misstep to be open to correcting their behavior.“

Jeffrey’s talk at QGCon is about how, seeing the reaction to and acknowledging the failings of Far Cry 3, he left to pursue a smaller project within Ubisoft: Child of Light, over which he could have greater control over the content.

The QGCon organizers believe that mistakes were made. People voiced their concerns. And Jeffrey is, with acknowledgment and awareness of those concerns and his part in them, talking about how he changed his approach.

We believe this talk exemplifies the very growth that we hope to see in this conference. Jeffrey is a part of our community, and it did not feel right to silence his voice due to two year old attitudes, especially given how they have changed.

So, we have decided to keep Jeffrey’s scheduled talk within the “Socially Responsible Game Design” panel. However – we are also going to hold a small conversational session during Lunch on Saturday. Jeffrey will speak to the concerns around FC3, provide more information about his background, intentions and contributions, and then he and one of our Keynote Speakers, Naomi Clark, will have a conversation about how things could have gone better.

We hope that some insight into the content of the talk, Jeffrey’s current position, and the inclusion of a conversation around the topics, will help address the valid concerns brought up. We want to thank everyone so much for speaking when they felt uncomfortable, and we apologize for causing that discomfort. For those that continue to feel uncomfortable with this solution, we invite you to email us directly (to support our “No Public Shaming” safe space guideline), and we will continue to work to keep this a safe and welcoming space for all.

Thank you again for everyone’s patience and understanding,

The QGCon Organizers,
Bonnie, Chelsea, Chris, Squinky, Zoya
contact@qgcon.com

We’ll see you in South Hall this weekend

We can’t wait for you to join us for the 2014 Queerness and Games Conference this weekend.

All QGCon events will take place in UC Berkeley’s historic South Hall, home of the School of Information. You can find the exact location of South Hall by putting it into Google maps, or by checking out this campus directory. While you can drive to UC Berkeley, parking is tricky. The Downtown Berkeley BART stops within a 10-minute walk from the building, which makes public transportation a good choice.

See you in South Hall!

QGCon is soon, soon, soon!

The 2014 Queerness and Games Conference is just around the corner. Join us from the evening of Friday, October 24 to the evening of Saturday, October 26 at UC Berkeley in South Hall. All QGCon events are free and open to the public. We would greatly appreciate if you register, since that gives us a headcount for how many attendees to expect. Other than that, all you need to do is come on down!

Be sure to check out our wonderful keynote talks, amazing sessions, awesome arcade — heck, the whole weekend schedule. We can’t wait to see you there.

Volunteer at QGCon!

Want to help QGCon run smoothly, and meet some rad people in the process? Anyone is welcome to sign up as a volunteer! It’s a great way to get involved with the community. You’ll get access to all the speaker events and we’ll provide you with free food on the day of your shift.

These are the kind of responsibilities that we’ll be asking from people:

  • Help at the registration desk
  • Make sure speakers get to their sessions on time
  • Oversee the arcade

We’re dividing volunteer time up into the following shifts:

  • Saturday morning
  • Saturday afternoon
  • Sunday morning
  • Sunday afternoon

If you’re interested, write to us at qgconference [at] gmail.com and let us know if you have preferences as regards your shifts and responsibilities. We’d love to have you on board!

QGCon sessions list is up!

FlickrCC DeviantArt user "Chell Johnson"

FlickrCC DeviantArt user “Chell Johnson”

From gender performance in LARPs to queer design practice in AAA studios, there’s a lot to be excited about for this year’s QGCon. See the list of sessions here.

It’s not just about the talks – pretty soon we’ll be announcing other fun things that we’ll be getting up to together.

Don’t forget to register - it’s free! (Donations appreciated)

The conference is just a month away, and we’re excited to see you there.

QGCon Arcade Now Taking Submissions!

The QGCon Arcade is now accepting submissions!

The QGCon Arcade is a chance to show off queer and different games – however broadly you choose to define such things – and, well, “regular games” by queer creators.

Games accepted into the QGCon Arcade will be on display for the duration of QGCon, Oct 25-26, at UC Berkeley.

To learn more, visit http://www.qgcon.com/arcade/

Registration for QGCon 2014 is now live!

Come one, come all, to QGCon! Tickets for 2014 are now live.

Now at our EventBrite page you can snag your tickets for the 2014 Queerness and Games Conference this October 25 and 26 in Berkeley. Basic registration is free (accessibility for all is a huge part of our mission!). For those who are feeling generous and would like to make a small contribution to help us cover expenses for the event and keep it available for everyone, consider chipping in for a sponsor ticket. We really appreciate your support, and we can’t wait to see you at QGCon 2014!

Less than 2 weeks left to submit a talk to QGCon 2014!

The June 15 deadline is fast approaching. There are less than two weeks left to submit your proposal to present at the 2014 Queerness and Games Conference (QGCon). QGCon welcomes speakers and workshop leaders from all backgrounds who want to add their voice to the discussion around queer issues, video games, and difference. Presentation formats are very open. Feel free to get creative! Check out our Call for Speakers for more details about how to submit, and information about the 2014 theme, “Difference at Play.”

Don’t hesitate to contact the organizers with any questions. We hope that you’ll join us for what promises to be a wonderful second year for the Queerness and Games Conference.

The 2014 Call for Speakers is up!

We’re happy to announce that the call for speakers for QGCon 2014 is now up. See the call to read more about this year’s theme, to get ideas for talk topics and formats, and to check out submission logistics. Submissions are due by June 15. QGCon welcomes proposals from speakers of all backgrounds, including but not limited to: game developers, indie designers, academics, artists, and activists. We are particularly interested in broadening our focus to address issues of race and gender non-normativity, and encourage submissions from folks who have long gone underrepresented in games and the games industry. Feel free to direct any questions to qgconference [at] gmail [dot] com. We look forward to your submission!

The Queerness and Games Conference is back for 2014!

After an amazing event in 2013, The Queerness and Games Conference (QGCon) is thrilled to announce that we’re coming back for 2014. That means another weekend-long exploration of the intersection of LGBT issues (broadly defined) and video games. Once again you can expect an exciting and unusual mix of developers and academics. You can also expect everything from talks to workshops to unconference sessions to dance parties. Mark your calendars, because the 2014 Queerness and Games Conference takes place at UC Berkeley on Saturday, October 25th and Sunday, October 26th. Seriously, it’s like the most fun thing ever.

Stay tuned for more info coming soon, including:
- Call for speakers
- Call for games
- Registration
- Schedule
- A chance to donate

We can’t wait for QGCon 2014, and we hope you’ll be there with us.