Summary

I conducted a semester long independent study on LGBT+ Representation in Video Games. During the project I studied Narrative Design structure in gaming, and created The Moose Test, a basic set of criteria to assist game developers and publishers create content accurate to the LGBT+ community. I used the test on the top 50 PC Games as chosen by consumers, and analyzed the design teams that created them.

The culmination of my work so far has resulted in applause from industry professionals and a 1-hour presentation/discussion panel at MaGFest 2018.

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The full review

You can view write-ups of my test, process, and implications on medium.
Finale
Process:
Declaration of Intent
Improving the Moose Test
Improved Moose Test
Using the Moose Test on a Small Sample
Moose Test on the Top 50


The current Moose Test is:
1. The game must contain a character that is identifiably LGBT+,
2. The character must not solely be defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity,
3. They must be tied into the plot in such a way that removal of their character would be significant,
4. Their role must not have a negative impact toward LGBT+ perception,
5. They must have a role in the game’s dialogue, and
6. That dialogue must advance the plot in some way.

 I used these two tests, along with survey data from the LGBT+ Gaming community, to help inform the test meant to represent them.

I used these two tests, along with survey data from the LGBT+ Gaming community, to help inform the test meant to represent them.


Findings

 First I applied the test to my video games, I found only 18% of my personal collection passed The Moose Test.

First I applied the test to my video games, I found only 18% of my personal collection passed The Moose Test.

 Then, I applied the test to the Top 50 Games as chosen by PC Gamer Consumers. About 24% passed The Moose Test

Then, I applied the test to the Top 50 Games as chosen by PC Gamer Consumers. About 24% passed The Moose Test


Highlights

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Implications

     After analyzing the games, I turned my attention to developers and found a pattern.
     These are the games developers and publishers associated with the games that passed, and the games that failed (but made an attempt to include accurate representation).
     Almost every time Bethesda, Bioware, or 2K Games touches a project it includes more accurate representation, and beyond that these studios are top of mind in any discussion about representation in video games. We can conclude that these studios are doing something right; whether it's representation in the studio or listening to the community who is playing their games.

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