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The Importance of Play, Games, and Community in Dark Political Times

Game critic and scholar Katherine Cross’ fiery remarks at the close of GaymerX East inspire hope.

Danielle Riendeau

Photo of Katherine Cross by EMiSpicer, courtesy of GaymerX

GaymerX East was a couple of weeks ago now, but I'm still sort of basking in it. As I mentioned on the podcast that week, the conference was a godsend—an inclusive, positive, important event for LGBTQI folks who were reeling especially from the week's election results.

Game critic, writer, and scholar Katherine Cross closed out the event with a rousing speech. Literally rousing, as there was a standing ovation to her talk on the need for art, community, and play even more during difficult times. 

The text of her remarks is available over at Black Nerd Girls. Please take a look at it, let those words sink in if you need an iota of hope without any Pollyanna hand-waving. There is power in art, and even more in community—and the importance in watching out for one another and banding together, even in the spirit of fun. 

From Cross' speech:

"What will save us lies at the heart of the protests roiling our nation's streets; what will save us involves get out the vote campaigns, interceding to help when you see someone being harassed for who they are, and paying very close attention to midterm elections at both the state and federal levels. There was never a time for complacency, not in this age when black Americans cannot breathe and Native blood is being spilled for oil, but if there ever was, it's most certainly over now.

"None of this precludes the ongoing work of videogaming, however. It exists in continuity with it, providing what Janet Mock called "possibility models" for people to follow, to enable them to dream and believe in something that you helped them imagine. Whether it's dystopias that teach us how to resist, utopias that give us a dream to strive for, or just something silly to help us forget for a few hours, we need that now more than ever. The world where Watch Dogs 2 sits beside Mafia III beside Ladykiller[In a Bind] and beside A Purrtato Tail is the world I need to live in right now."

Disclosure notice: Cross is a personal friend of mine, as are several GaymerX staff.