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Playnice

A fresh perspective on video game news

 

Q: What controls a conversation?

A: The people talking.

And if none of the people talking are like you, is it any wonder that you may doubt if you belong in the conversation at all?

News and media are powerful sources of how the video game community is perceived. How freeing would it be to find a place that says, "Yes, there are others like you who love video games, and here are thoughts from those like you that makes you feel seen"? Providing these perspectives changes who the world sees as belonging to the gaming community.

Playnice is a video game news website and community for those who don't usually have a voice in the gaming and game development communities. The vision is to create a reliable source of news reporting and editorials that is readable to video game lovers from any facet of life, from perspectives that they may not usually appear in media outlets. We hope to create a community where women especially feel like they finally have a place that feels like was made for them to read about and discuss video games, rather than being an afterthought or forgotten altogether in a male-dominated field.

Features

Playnice is a video game news, editorial blog, and community (think Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra) for providing perspectives that often go unseen within the games industry.

News

At its core, Playnice aims to be a website for readers to feel connected and informed about the video game industry and game development community. Our goal is to do this even more reliably than popular gaming news websites because our journalists should be people who are passionate about video games, the inclusion of women and other minorities in the community, and are on the lookout for stories that traditional media outlets don't usually tell.

The goal is for the main News page of Playnice to comprise mostly of news articles written by staff that are stellar journalists and are excited for the Playnice vision. Our writers are primarily women who can write to an audience they know will not be put off by seeing writing about games and from perspectives they may not usually see.

While one of the goals of our communities is to promote the presence and voice of minorities in the video game sphere, ultimately we aim to give these minority voices a place to talk. We love diversity and inclusion, but what draws us to write is our love for video games and their making. The hope is not to write purely about problems in the industries and take a soapbox stand against traditional video game journalism, but to show the validity and unique perspectives of those that are usually unseen.

General topics that Playnice News may cover include:

  • Game industry news
  • Game development news
  • Upcoming releases
  • Games to watch
  • Breakthroughs in game technology
  • Upcoming conferences
  • Interviews with game developers

Specialized topics that Playnice News may cover include:

  • Women in competitive gaming
  • Games that find primarily non-male audiences
  • Otome games and visual novel news
  • Minority representation in games
  • Minority representation in game development industries
  • Legal issues in the games industry

An important value to Playnice is quality journalism. The secondary hope is that by providing well-written articles about a high diversity of topics, readers who may not initially care about the topic of inclusion will appreciate video game journalism from a perspective they may not usually see. From there, we hope it will build empathy and invite them to become interested in make video games a place for all to feel welcome.

Editorials

Playnice is still here to provide a place for difficult conversations to take place. One one hand we have our dedicated journalism in News, on the other we have strong voices to open up discussion in Editorials. This is the mish-mash of miscellania: Opinions, fun, rants, poetry, manifestos, and ramblings belong here.

The Editorial space is a place for biased talk: Opinions of staff writers, guest writers, and reader submissions to say something to a community who will listen and care. Popular topics will no doubt be about diversity and inclusion, but as with the News opinions may just be about video games and development in general. This staff-curated feed of articles is meant to be an open and interesting discussion like nowhere else on the Internet.

Playnice Editorial may include pieces like:

  • Personal stories of growing up as a minority in video games
  • Why [insert video game here] is the best video game ever
  • Opinions on sexual discrimination in the games industry
  • Game development GIFs from the Twittersphere

Corners

Playnice Corners is a place for game developers: We give game devs a Corner of Playnice to have a mini-blog of sorts, creating a centralized keep up with their progress and see how the game development process works. Our focus is mainly on talented indie game developers and small studios on their progress. Corners creates a marketing space that doesn't exist already in a modern world. We follow a few curated devs each with a Corner, which includes things like blog posts, technical breakdowns, concept art, gif updates, playtest feedback, and an embedded Twitter feed.

Playnice Corners is a special place to formally feature indie developers in a way that they aren't used to being shown. Rather than waiting to make it big, or having a small cult following on forums, or existing only in the Twitter world, Playnice gives these devs a place to be seen. Readers interested in game development will be happy to have a place to consume development content they may never usually see.

Forums

A community can be built around content. Playnice hopes to build a place for discourse, collaboration, and making connections through a community board for readers to participate in. Forum communities are some of the tightest-knit online communities, bonding over shared interests on a website.

What sets us apart? (Market Value/Uniqueness)

While popular video game journalism sites like Kotaku and Polygon exist, they often reflect the video games industry itself: primarily created for a white, male audience. While it makes sense from a business standpoint, there is a space for more experimental, niche journalism from a minority perspective that aims to bring this perspective out of being viewed as just for a minority.

With a website design, writing style, and content that's made primarily by women for the goal of promoting inclusion, Playnice draws a crowd and will hopefully bring relief, a collective sigh of, "I am seen." (Alternatively: "There are dozens of us, dozens!")

In addition, game development news sources like Gamasutra and GameDev.net are old websites that don't quite keep track of the up-and-coming. A sleek UI draws modern readers-- especially the younger audience that's the new generation of gamers and developers. We aim to create a place for following game development news in a way that's centralized. We also bring the spotlight to up-and-coming devs in the nontraditional indie space.

Why?

One of the first things we look at when deciding if we belong somewhere is if there are others like us present.

In the world of gaming and game development, it can be hard to find communities that have the diversity that feels welcoming. Reading news about popular games, or even playing those games, it can often feel like women and other minorities are not well represented, if at all. 

If you Google "Top Game Developers," the entire visible bar comprises of men. Obviously the likes of Hideo Kojima, Gabe Newell, and John Romero are highly accomplished and likely deserving of their placement here-- it's no wonder that if girls look to an occupation like video game development and see no one like them, they start to question if they belong there at all.

"Gaming" has traditionally been thought of as "hardcore." A few years ago the term "gamer" would evoke World War-themed first-person shooters, busty women sidekicks, and a pimply white, male sitting in a basement right-clicking furiously. Luckily we've started to move past that, and we've come into a world that sees video games as a valid interactive media, even so much so as to sometimes be considered an art form. And we're lucky to find that styles of casual games that were considered not real "gaming" are gaining validity too (Thanks Stardew Valley!). However, there is still a lot of work to be done to change people's perspectives of games.

The media is a powerful tool to shape how the video game community is perceived. We want to expand empathy and perspective in a discourse that is often divisive and exclusive. Playnice aims to be a lighthouse for those who love video games-- to provide that safe harbor where you finally feel like you belong where your passions lie.

About me

My name is Mindy Chi and I've loved video games since my years of existence were in the single digits. Growing up, I never really let myself believe that video games were what I wanted to do in adulthood (it was something like denial, thinking I should really be doing "practical" things with my life)-- but here we are 21 years later and I've stumbled into my final year of majoring in Computer Science at UT Austin, my second year as President of UT's Electronic Game Developers Society, and finding myself looking for jobs in game development for when I graduate.

I've never thought of it as a huge issue that women weren't represented in gaming and game development until I came to college. The more I thought about my life with video games, the more I realized it wasn't that I wasn't bothered by the lack of inclusion, it's that I had internalized and grown up in this culture already. But now, being cognizant of issues, I realize how much I miss a space that is a space for women to talk games. As an example of how successful such a community could be-- some of my favorite subreddits (communities on the media website Reddit) are r/AskWomen and r/TrollXChromosomes because they bring up discourse that doesn't seem to come up anywhere else. They are open places to talk, and it's often you'll see users post a comment, and other users will chime in with "Wow, I thought I was the only one!" when it was simply a silent opinion in the flood of the internet dominated by mostly men.

I hope to work in video games and be close to the community, and make a difference in making the community a more inclusive place for all to feel heard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A

Credits:

Courtney Huynh and Elena Liem for providing graphics, this project wouldn't be the same without you-- thank y'all!

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  • Early mockup for a Playnice news website

 



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Oct 8, 2019


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