• JD Winters

5 Video Games Developed by Black Folk

Black people are underrepresented in the gaming industry and within the games themselves. We are not the ones included in those creations of representations, and here's the data to back that up. According to New Media Society, a journal that does empirical and theoretical research on new media, 10.7% of game characters are Black, while the Internal Game Developers Association, the world's largest nonprofit organization for game developers, reported in a 2015 study that only less than 3% of the developers of such games are Black. Yet according to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau, it was estimated that 7% of the tech industry is made up of Black people.


Our representation is key for ourselves most importantly, but also to dismantling the troubling characters we are made to be when our input is not included. If the allyships we've been seeing are going to ever make a significant change, and not be performative, then Black people need to be hired to develop the games that we're being represented in. Since games are a fundamental way people learn and interact with the world today, we must get a hold of our mantle of responsibility, despite the barriers, and show up to represent ourselves.


So here are 5 games developed by Black folk who show up for the culture:


1. Black Inventors Match Game

Black Inventors Match Game is a mobile game that incorporates Black American inventors from the last 200+ years, specifically to educate children. It's a simple memory game for you to learn and retain the knowledge that our people have been problem solvers and long overlooked. This game serves as a remedy to that form of erasure racism. The company that created this game was founded by Dr. Leshell Hatley, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD.


2. Aerial_Knights Never Yield

Aerial_Knights Never Yield is a 3D side-scrolling runner game created by Neil Jones that has a lot of clear influence from Miles Morales' Into the Spider-verse in its art style. Neil Jones has worked on projects like Clique, a game about facing prejudice, and other projects that don't need to make a point to touch on the Black experience because it's made by Black people and so is naturally imbued with it; Aerial_Knights is one such game. It is projected to release sometime in 2021, to Xbox X Series, PS5, and PC.


3. VALIDATE

VALIDATE is a visual novel which draws from similar games of Japanese Origin, except it's for Black and brown people, made by Black and brown folk. The game is "[s]et in the fictional Jercy City area, twelve struggling singles in their twenties navigate through the trying ordeals of capitalism to find meaning in their lives. Includes a hint of love, cosplay, and even mediocre mixtapes in the mix."


4. BLebRiTY

BLebRiTY is a charades-like game, created by actor Jesse Williams and his crew. With over 30 hilariously creative categories from the culture, this game is the perfect addition for your next gathering. It's sure to make your game night a lot blacker, just check out the squad from All Def playing BLebRiTY.

5. For The Culture

For The Culture is a game created by Teddy Phillips and Cameron White, another charades inspired game for game nights with your friends and family with 20+ categories in which you can create intense fun and even use as an icebreaker! Watch KevOnStage host a For The Culture game over video chat, proving that quarantine shouldn't stop you from hosting a fun game night of your own!

All of these games have been made in the recent decade, and we're seeing a Black renaissance in gaming. We must support these skilled Black developers by downloading their games and investing in their growth. To find a comprehensive list of black game developers, you can refer to this site.

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