PGC Digital: Why gaming is useful for activism

"Video games themselves can be political"

PGC Digital: Why gaming is useful for activism

Gaming has become more and more popular over the years. Yet the industry is still evolving, with diversity and inclusion becoming a more important topic.

Furthermore, it is another form of media and entertainment that could allow people to use their voice and protest.

As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #5, Melanin Gamers founder Annabel Ashalley-Anthony gave a talk on gaming and activism.

"Activism is campaigning in public or campaign in public to bring about social or political change," explained Ashalley-Anthony.

The amount of activism can vary from individuals to entire groups getting together to do things such as marches.

"The problem in games that needs to be addressed is the lack of representation," said Ashalley-Anthony.

As such, Melanin Gamers works to bring up issues that are not always raised through hosting panels to educate people at a range of events.

"The first part of solving a problem is stating that there is this problem that needs to be solved," claimed Ashalley-Anthony.

To bring people together, Melanin hosts tournaments to get all sorts of people together so that they can find like-minded individuals and form bonds with like-minded people.

Moreover, the company hopes to aid people of colour in entering the games industry.

Using your...

"Video games themselves can be political," explained Ashalley-Anthony.

As such, games can be used as a means of protest and a tool to raise awareness to those that may not be aware or understand certain things that are going on.

For example, The Sims can be used for protest as players can build a character in their own image.

Another example is Animal Crossing, though the customisation is not as drastic as the former title.

However, does activism work within gaming. According to Ashalley-Anthony, it does, as it gets people to talk about the problem and may get them to ask questions. Namely, why is this happening?

There is a lot of freedom online, "people mistake free speech for hate."

"There is no right way to protest," rather than any way in which you speak out is a form of your own expression. If games are what you are comfortable with, then that is a valid method of protest.


"There is definitely a place for activism in gaming," said Ashalley-Anthony.

Games with a story can be turned political should the players perceive it that way. Some may not consider a title to have politics within, while others will feel that there is a political tone.

Some people have a prejudice which they will acknowledge, while others are ignorant.

When the same idea is seen across all media - books, games, TV and film - such as a woman in need of being rescued, some may believe that to be normal when in fact it is not.

Games can help to teach people and deliver powerful messages. Detriot: Become Human was used as an example by Ashalley-Anthony, as it showed two different sides of the same story, one from the android and other from a human.

"More and more people are picking up gaming. When it comes to all the different media, gaming is like the little sibling," explained Ashalley-Anthony.

Books, film and music have been around for years, while gaming is still relatively new in comparison.

PGC Digital #5 will run from February 8th to February 12th. To keep up to date with all of our coverage, check out the roundups here. There's still time to sign up - to find out more and book a ticket, head to the website.

Staff Writer

Kayleigh is the Staff Writer for Besides PGbiz and PCGI she has written as a list writer for Game Rant, rambling about any and all things games related. You can also find her on Twitter talking utter nonsense.