This February, the DOECL’s DEI committee collaborated with the Gaming Initiative team to invite Durham-based game designer Omari Akil to the Greenlaw Gameroom to discuss the story and successes of their game design studio and publishing company, Colorway Game Labs.
Professor Tyree Daye explained that the DEI committee initially “sought an event that wouldattract students and engage them in conversations about representation in the gaming world” and that Akil’s work did “an excellent job of fulfilling these goals.”
In their presentation, Akil discussed the process of crafting inclusive designs that create games with “powerful representation of everyone, regardless of race or gender.” This includes details such as non-gendered pronoun usage and accounting for differences in abilities. Following the presentation, audience members participated in a brief gameplay of Akil’s games, including Rap Godz, Hoop Godz, and Critical Care.
Akil has also worked with college students at NC State and Duke. In speaking to what they find rewarding about working with undergraduates, they said:
“It feels like such a powerful time period of learning and growth, and it really makes me happy to be a part of that. I also think that tabletop games can be such powerful vehicles for learning (almost any topic/idea), so I appreciate the opportunity to show students another potential way to learn and maybe see the world a little bit differently. Of course even more simply, I love games—so getting to create a fun experience for students and helping to expand the culture of play to include more tabletop games in a new generation is also completely worth it on its own.”
We look forward to more collaborative events in the future!