It’s not unknown that being a Black woman in gaming is many times like navigating through a minefield — and, as an avid Black girl gamer, who enjoys playing both console and mobile games, I know that from first-hand experience.
However, what I also know is that there is an awesome community of Black girl gamers online who have reaffirmed my love for gaming and the beauty of sisterhood. Because, after all, Black girl gamers matter.
While the gaming industry, like many others, lacks in representation of Black female gamers, the Black girl gaming community online is great, and growing.
Beyond the frequent interactions I have on social media with gamers who look like me, there are also several online spaces that help cater to and cultivate the Black girl gaming community. Groups like Official Black Girl Gamers and Thumbstick Mafia draw huge engagement and are necessary platforms. These groups, and the discussions we have among them, have brought me a great sense of community, support, and a safe space to ask questions and discuss the gaming industry without bigoted backlash.
Thumbstick Mafia, founded by Anastasia aka @chasinglux and @SharkysHood, provides amazingly detailed resources and network opportunities. The members actively support each others content and online gaming streams. Official Black Girl Gamers, founded by Jay-Ann Lopez, is a fast-growing online community that will soon become a hub for video games aimed towards Black women.
These groups remind us time and again that Black girl gamers deserve to be seen because we exist, we’re very active, and deserve to be seen in a positive light. More Black female protagonists (and protagonists of color, for that matter) should be available --- and there shouldn’t be much debate about this. Is it such a bad thing for the main character to be anyone other than a white male?
There are fun games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead series, available across all platforms, including mobile, that feature Black girl protagonists that make the experience all the more fun and engaging. In The Walking Dead: Season 2 you play as Clementine, an 8-year old Black girl who becomes the driving force behind the Telltale’s franchise and could make or break the entire series. Clementine is the fan-favorite and overwhelmingly loved by the fanbase. She quickly adapts to her surroundings, is very intelligent, yet innocent, and brings purpose to a post-apocalyptic world.
Black girl gamers are competitors, we’re mobile gamers, we’re FPS gamers, we’re adventure gamers and we’re part of any other gaming genre you can think of. We’re here, we game just as hard and we’re here to stay. Game on, girls.
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