Local blogger Emmy Zettergren wrote a piece on SVT Debatt, highlighting the problematic conditions of women in the games industry. Being a regular part of Radio Gotland (reviewing games) and of course a Gute, the radio gave her a lot of play the day before.
The producers then suggested they follow up by talking to us, see how the university deals with the male dominance and sexism in the games industry. Being the only one among us silly enough to put my phone number in public view, they called me.
I’m a bit uncomfortable representing us on these issues. Partly because – sincerely allied to the cause as I may be – I have a chronic fear of (characteristically) putting my foot firmly in mouth and end up alienating the very people I do not want to loose.
Partly because I feel that, if someone out there actually cares about gender issues and our education, they should know our department have valued and competent staff that’s (at the very least biologically) not part of the problem.
So I asked Ylva to speak for us, brought along Adam Mayes – our outspoken feminist subject responsible, and I came along simply because I’ve asked two friends to step out of bed at six in the morning, it didn’t feel right to not suffer with them.
We prepared a bunch of data like;
- Swedish industry average 10% women
- Our educations average 18%
- 20% of our teaching staff is female (incl. 1 program coordinator & 2 PHDs)
- We regularly problematize these issues in our classes and assignments
- Our education cover diverse topics like Games and Human Rights and Serious Games
- A bunch of examples showing that our students projects are indeed pretty far from the male-oriented clichés of our industry
The conversation ended up not really being about our education, but still a decent enough interview. Not least because it spawned a lot of reflection and discussion among us, both before and after the airing.
Ever since #1ReasonWhy and Clarisse Thorn making forays into gaming culture and the harassment of Sarkeesian over her (AMAZING!) project Tropes Vs. Women – ever since all those things, I’ve been thinking about making an entire Gotland Game Conference on feminism as related to our culture, our industry and our medium.
As an institution with huge possibility to influence young minds, I believe we have an obligation to speak up when we see problematic patterns and attitudes.
I want to kick start in all our students the (rather difficult) growth process that I’ve personally been going through the last couple of years. I honestly don’t know when I began identifying as a feminist, but I know it wouldn’t have happened without role models. People whom I respect and whose opinion carries weight with me. People patient (and brave!) enough to put their insights, experience and stories out there.
This is not something we can do ourselves. We are proud of the work we do, but in these issues we are equally part of the problem. So I want to invite all of these extremely articulate people and give them an audience and a space to communicate. Give them an opportunity to educate, and engage and spawn allies from within. I want us to uncover the painfully obsolete societal structures that influences each and everyone of us, and stop contributing to the problem.
All great games have to start somewhere, and Gotland University gives their students a truly great start. Nestled in a disarmingly picturesque Swedish island, this small yet breathtakingly innovative game design course grounds applicants in the theory, even the ethics, of how to create the next generation of games – but practically applies this knowledge from the get-go.
Högskolan på Gotland har sedan år 2001 utbildat och slussat ut Sveriges representanter i spelvärlden och dess forna elever hittar ni idag på DICE, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Lionhead och Massive.
Under tre, med möjlighet för fyra år så går eleverna under utbildningen GAME igenom alla de utmaningar som de efter sin examen att möta ute i den faktiska industrin och ställs inför precis samma motgångar, problem och eventuellt segrar som deras färdigutbildade kollegor tacklar varje dag.
Tillsammans så lyser lärarna och eleverna på GAME starkare än solen. Kontrasten som uppstår mellan Visbys tysta och lugna leverne och den sprudlande och levande miljön som huserar inne i Wisby Strand när GGC 2012 sparkats igång är chockerande.
I en fet bonanza speciale har vi samlat några av de intryck som Joakim Sjöberg fick sig under sin vistelse på Gotland Game Conference 2012!
Dagens Nyheter is on a roll, with two articles about Gotland University GAME in two days! This time it was Professor Bachelder and Fia Andersson at GAME (or more properly; the School of Game Design, Technology and Learning Processes) who took the stage.
Two students – Maria and Marcus – were interviewed by Dagens Nyheter today. DN is the largest morning newspaper in the country – it’s in Swedish of course, but might work through google translate too.
Swedish gaming site Level 7 interviews Zeal Game Studio – talking about the company’s origin at the Gotland University, their development history and their current title Team Assault: Baptism of Fire.
[...] Startades under skoltiden
Fredrik Nilsson är ansvarig för Zeal Game Studios ekonomi och administration och likt majoriteten av de ungefär 20 anställda läste han spelutveckling på Gotlands högskola. Under Fredriks första år på skolan formades grunden till vad som sedan blev Zeal Game Studio. [...]
Three of our students – Fred Ström, Teddy Sjöström and Vilya Svensson – earned some publicity (and a lot of praise) from their spare time project Secrets of Grindea. It got picked up last week from their devlog over at tigsource. Both IndieGames.com and TwoFedoras.com wrote about them. Here’s a quote from IndieGames:
Oh, hello there! What’s this? Old-school RPG aesthetics? Zelda-esque gameplay? A deeply complex character customization system with no level caps? Support for four player co-operative play? Say no more. Where do I sign up? Secrets of Grindea is an upcoming action-RPG with big promises, lush pixel art, an eye for detail and, all things taken into consideration, a surprisingly simple premise: became a famed Collector and acquire the most precious ‘rares’ in the kingdom.
It looks like Secrets of Grindea is being helmed by a three-man team consisting of Fred Strom, Teddy Sjostrom and Vilya Svensson, all of whom were once previously involved in Trashtalk, a Swedish development studio located in Gotland.
So Fred, Teddy and Vilya – keep up the good work!
IndieGames.com: Early Gameplay Footage of Secrets of Grindea
TwoFedoras.com: Secrets of Grindea, more like secrets of unlocking my heart
YouTube: Secrets of Grindea – Sight Seeing in Startington