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5 Excellent Gaming Communities and Organizations

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

Even if they’re more into single-player games, gamers need community! Communities serve vital roles in the gaming industry, whether they’re helping people connect to one another amidst a global pandemic, providing career mentorship, or looking out for the safety, enjoyment, and success of gamers who have been historically marginalized and left out of conversations around gaming. The gaming communities and organizations highlighted below are helping to give rise to a world where all feel welcome to create and to game!

Bronx Gaming Network

The Bronx Gaming Network is a community as well as mentorship and education program for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ gamers. BGN teaches creatives how to transfer their interests and talents into careers. Previously on the blog, we’ve covered how games can be used to teach content creation, along with a range of future-facing skills that can be easily applied toward one’s future career. The BGN has a variety of services, including a Content Creator Academy to help gamers do just that! Other offerings include online and offline skill workshops and Gamersitter sessions, which teach young learners online gaming safety and more in popular multiplayer games like Minecraft and Roblox.

Check out an interview with Bronx Gaming Network founder, Rudy Blanco, below:

Can I Play That?

Can I Play That? is an online hub for all types of information about accessibility in video games and the gaming industry. Created by Susan Banks and Courtney Craven in 2018, the site includes news articles and commentary, accessibility reviews and previews, and online workshops. CIPT is a resource and community for gamers and developers alike, addressing the how and why of accessible gaming and highlighting when accessibility technology is done well, and where it fails or is missing altogether. The content on Can I Play That? is community-driven, and CIPT is interested in receiving pitches for feature articles from disabled gamers

Learn about the CIPT origin story and more with this episode of the Pixel Therapy Podcast featuring co-founder Courtney Craven below.

Gameheads

Founded by Alfonso Hooker and Damon Packwood, Gameheads is a tech training program based out of Oakland, California that focuses on preparing youth of color for careers in the tech industry and other STEAM fields. Through video game design and development, this organization teaches high school to college-age students everything from coding to leadership skills to storytelling. Gameheads has two programs, Gameheads Classic and Gameheads DevOps, and other services such as a mentorship program and Gameheads Pro, a commercial business with entry-level jobs in IT and software development and design. Earlier this year, Gameheads announced a partnership with Unity and Oculus to start a game design certificate program at Cal State East Bay, which launched in the spring of 2021.

Check out the video below for an in-depth look at Gameheads, featuring Gameheads staff and students!

ESA Foundation

The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) Foundation pilots a variety of initiatives, such as providing grants to nonprofit organizations that work with youth, and providing scholarships to gamers and creatives, including an eSports Scholarship and an LGBTQ+ Service Scholarship, among others. Another initiative of the ESA Foundation is We Are, a community created in partnership with Red Bull Media House. The movement aims to connect and spotlight women in the gaming industry and to encourage more women to participate in the field. The foundation also hosts a variety of events, from panels at conferences such as E3 to various fundraising efforts. Through all of its programming, the ESA Foundation helps young gamers find communities and support systems as they build skills for careers in the gaming industry.

Meet the newest class of 2021-2022 ESA scholars in the video below!

Black Girl Gamers

Black Girl Gamers (BGG) started as a Facebook group in 2018 and was created by CEO, author, and gamer Jay-Ann Lopez. BGG has since expanded to include a Twitch channel, a YouTube channel, a Patreon and Discord community, and a network of almost 200 streamers. With over 7,000 members across platforms, the BGG community increases the visibility of Black women in the gaming industry and provides a safe space based on camaraderie and support. In an article for VICE, Lopez describes the misogynoir she received from users on platforms such as Twitch and Twitter, and how this violence caused her to stop gaming for a while. The community she created was out of necessity: “It’s clear that the ethos behind Lopez’s group resonates with many women of color—it’s a welcome escape from the racism and sexism of the online trolls who spew hatred on gaming forums and platforms. ‘[A lot of members] are genuinely really happy to be in the space,’ Lopez says. ‘They immediately connect with people and they find people to play with.’’ Learn more about BGG and Lopez on Engadget, Glamour, elsewhere from the BGG linktree, and in the video below!

Do you know of other great gaming communities that didn’t appear on this list? Let us know your favorites on Twitter or Facebook!

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