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After getting their Indie GoGo campaign successfully funded last year to help a women see her gaming idea come to life The Fine Young Capitalists have not stopped working to help women in gaming. I reached out to talk to them about their latest projects and what we can do to help women in our industry.

A belated congratulations on getting your Indie GoGo campaign funded. How’s work going on AfterLife Empire and when will we get to see it?

Afterlife Empire is going well, the programming is a little behind but the graphic is a little ahead, we are starting the process of getting on Greenlight soon. The main issues is that we are focusing on video game and less the boring stuff that is important for it getting on greenlight, I.E. writting up a full description of the game, breaking down all the features so normal people can read them, and getting the logo, promotional art ready (We need this to get on greenlight.) we are still aiming to get the game working 6.5 months from when the contest ended. We’ve included screenshots. One of the issue I always have in game design is as a producer we only see problems. For the players we only really want to show them the perfect working version, and since something is never perfect until it’s done you always feel like your hiding stuff from the audience. We aren’t and if people have specific questions they should ask us on Twitter.

afterlife empire sprites

AfterLife Empire ghost sprite
I hear you are working with a new project in collaboration with #NotYourShield. Tell us all about your inspiration behind the project?

The #NotYourShield is an art project to really show diversity of gamers. Our biggest issues with how the media is presenting #GamerGate is how it’s being represented as a movement against minorities and that all the members are white basement dwelling males. None of this makes any sense because there are so many different people and parts to it. This is what NotYourShield was about and it’s been totally lost to the mainstream media. So what we are doing is basically taking some of the members of #NotYourShield and illustrating them as character in a video game setting. We’ll then sell this art as a Poster and we’ll put all the profits into an award that will be given to students that are graduating from school to make their own game. The award will be based on how diverse the person’s thesis/game was and not how diverse the person making it was. In all of this #GamerGate drama everyone is too focused on only helping minorities when they get harassed and not when their actually trying to make their projects. We really wanted to change that and we understand that this will be a very small award, but we really want the gaming community to start supporting the members that are just getting started instead of the people who already have media presence.

I have also been talking with Mercedes Carrera about the charity stream she did for you guys. What inspired the partnership? And will we see you two working together in the future?

Okay it’s important to understand that in the Porn Charity relationship, it’s Mercedes Carrera that wears the pants, which is ironic because she wasn’t wearing any during the stream. The Porn Charity is a group that raise money for Charity through Porn. It’s an interesting idea, and as feminists we believe a woman has the right to do whatever she chooses with her body. Mercedes Carrera’s group came to use because she wanted to do something good for the world and people weren’t accepting her money. All we did was do the paper work to setup a foundation to give money out for scholarships to STEM. It was a lot of paper work and we are just finishing it, and will be taking application in early Feburary for her scholarship. I think it’s really important because Mercedes has both an education in the field, and is a highly motivated individual so she’s actually a perfect person to be representing this idea. I also think running a scholarship that is willing to give out money entirely on merit is something the world needs right now. For example right now the largest group that gives out scholarship for women is the Miss America Pageant and you need to be unmarried and never to have been pregnant for some reason. Mercedes wants it to entirely be based on merit and doesn’t care about the PR fall out and that means we can help people based on needs.

As a feminist gaming charity, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing women in the industry at this moment, and how can we help improve this?

The biggest issue is actually getting women into the industry. We always refer to Unlocking the Clubhouse which is a book on getting woman involved in computer science, and the important thing to take from the book is in hundreds of tiny ways we make it more difficult to get involved in game design. This is everything from saying computer are for boys, her parent not letting her take apart the family computer because their worried she’d break it, to her feeling uncomfortable taking a high school computer class because she’s to worried about her GPA.

All of these things make it more difficult for a woman when they actually choose to engage in the industry. While she might have the math knowledge she might not have developed basic skills that a boy would learn because his parents let him take apart his computer. The technology sector is a growing profession that has some of the most progressive policies in all the industrial sectors. Women should flock to it, not only for their own benefit, but for the industries benefit. We really need to remove the stigma that woman feel when trying to enter the industry and the easiest way to start this is to show that men welcome woman in the industry. At the middle school/high school level we have to show women that their welcome, that computer science is fun, and that they can make a real difference. And the easiest way we can do that is give woman access to the resources so they can show us the amazing things they can do.

I feel harassment is a major issue in the industry, but I feel the best way to make it disappear is not to educate all the men on how horrible they are, but to give woman access to the resources so they become invaluable to the team. That way when a woman is harassed her male workers will speak out for her. I feel if we put men on guard, if we focus on educating them on all their microagressions, we teach them that women are fragile and that they have to treat them differently. The compiler doesn’t care about gender, and woman have an extremely diverse opinion of what a woman should be. Why should we assume every woman would find something offensive, or be emotionally damaged by criticism.

Do TFYC plan to grow? What more can we expect from you guys in 2015?

The members of TFYC do different things under different names, one of our member is working on his own game outside of TFYC, and one member is working to get a television show made on Indie development. In the end what we are doing is providing logistical support for member of the gaming community. We’d really love to partner up with some of the members of gaming community and amplify their existing work.

Our biggest worry is that we don’t live up to the community expectation. They gave us money and we have to make sure it’s spent well. In the end what we care about is results, and while we’d love to do this Video Game competition every year. The most important thing is that our current game gets shipped and everyone is happy with it.

What are the ways in which people can get involved with TFYC, support you, or get involved in other feminist events in tech?

Right now the best thing to do is submit your idea for TheNotYourShield project, which you can do on our website at http://www.thefineyoungcapitalists.com/ Or purchase a poster at http://the-fine-young-capitalists.myshopify.com/

If you are thinking of doing your own project than email it to [email protected] and we might be able to help. We are always looking for good ideas on how to make the industry more diverse.

For people who want to get involved in feminst events in tech, use Meetup.com and search for them. There is not a single woman in tech event that doesn’t need volunteers and it’s an excellent way to meet new people and discuss the issue. Whatever you don’t don’t only work online. Meeting people in the flesh who are working in the industry give you a much better perspective of the issues that are going on in the industry.

TechRaptor would like to thank The Fine Young Capitalists for talking to us. You can find them on Twitter.

What do you think the best way to help women in the industry is? Leave your comments below.


Georgina Young

Contributor

British girl, currently in Japan. Surviving on a diet of retro games. Worshiping the god that is the Sega Megadrive. I like Nintendo.



  • Mermadesings

    I find that ghost to be genuinely creepy.

  • Kiltmanenator

    Great article (I always love to hear from TFYC), but it needs some minor editing.

    —————————————————————————————————————

    “For the players we only really want to show them the
    perfect working version, and since something is never perfect until it’s done
    you always feel like **your** hiding stuff from the audience.”

    “…to her feeling uncomfortable taking a high school computer
    class because she’s **to** worried about her GPA.”

    “At the middle school/high school level we have to show
    women that **their** welcome…”

    “In the end what we are doing is providing logistical
    support for **member** of the gaming community.”

    “In the end what we care about is results, and **while we’d
    love to do this Video Game competition every year.** The most important thing
    is that our current game gets shipped and everyone is happy with it.”
    [Incomplete sentence. Join with a comma]

    ‘Whatever you **don’t don’t** only work online.”

  • Wanna help women in gaming?

    Well, the answer is quite simple:
    -Don’t listen to feminsts
    -Treat the woman with the same respect you would a man
    -Don’t care about their gender

    There you go, simple as that

  • Generaal

    Also:
    – Don’t look at gender/race/handicap/etc when looking at job applications. Look at the portfolio, diploma’s and competences.
    -done.

  • Jake Martinez

    I think there is a legitimate concern about making it seem “welcoming”, as in – no one is going to want to go into a profession that they think they will be treated badly in because of things outside of their control like gender or race.

    Based off of personal experience I don’t think that “Gaming” as an industry has a problem with this, or to clarify, any worse than anywhere else in corporate America.

    It’s somewhat disheartening that for some reason we keep talking about “women in gaming” like there is some massive outsized issue. Almost certainly this is doing more harm than good by somehow making “gaming” seem to have an inordinate amount of extra issues here that other industries don’t.

  • Typical

    great interview, thanks georgina!

  • The Robot Devil

    Loved the article, but the use of the wrong “your” and “their” made me cringe a bit.

  • the only reason we keep talking about “women in gamin” is because people are making up shit so they can earn a buck. AKA femfreq, zoe quinn, Brianna Wu. To name a few

  • Fenrir007

    Great interview, thanks again Georgina!

    Matt has his head in the right place. I’m only not sure if it’s possible to make a correlation between the lack of women in the tech industry at large and gaming. I think his reasoning is sound for the tech industry, but gaming is, quite frankly, a very shitty industry to get into. You have unpaid internships, crunch time (more often than not unpaid), sometimes stupid conditions for your bonus, 0 job security, poor wages… It’s a bloody nightmare. Maybe that’s why they are not that eager to get into it? Or at least maybe that factors into the decision? I remember reading researches showing men were more likely to take the shitty jobs than women. If gaming is perceived as a shitty career, that might drive women away from it just as much as it would drive them away from, say, construction work.

    He is spot on when he says we shouldn’t make a culture where we should constantly walk on eggshells around women. I had the opportunity to work for a while in an all-female team, including my 3 bosses (that would make 10 women total + me, a strong, independent latino who dun need no woman). I had a great time and we had a great chemistry, BUT that’s only because I didn’t have to constantly mind my manners. Hell, we even played pranks on each other. If my workplace had a culture of fear that some companies in the tech industry seem to have adopted, I doubt we would even make anything beyond the most casual and safe conversations. I don’t work in the tech industry, by the way.

    Walking on eggshells when around women due to an irrational fear of litigation or HR sacking you only prevents proper bonding between teammates and throws a wrench in team dynamics and cooperation.

  • GEhotpants101 .

    I don’t think women should flock to the industry. I think INTERESTED women should work on getting in. I don’t want just anyone in this industry. If you aren’t interested, you aren’t really going to be useful.

  • Considering there are employment and discrimination laws and Unions to content with it makes you wonder that if so many people had actual issues with it the courts and tribunals would be swamp in cases and companies would have gone bust paying out all the fines and compensation. That is of course unless people simply “feel” they’re disadvantaged as opposed to being able to show/prove it.

  • watwut

    One thing that is rarely talked about is that game programmer earns less then non-game programmer, crunch is more pervasive then elsewhere and there is news about another layoff every other week. At least that is my impression. Many people want to work in industry because it sounds “cool” or because they have passion for games themselves. The trouble of course is that lower salary is the price you pay for that passion (not only in games).

    So, my question is, if there is a person (men or women) who is a good programmer, but does not mind doing other programming jobs too, are we her/him service by trying to sell her/him on this industry?

    Women do choose passion over money in other kinds of the jobs. However, not going into this industry might still at least partially be result of women thinking more pragmatically about this job while un-stereotypically men deciding more on emotion instead of rationality.

  • Burn Ender

    Why do we need to do anything for women in gaming? They can do it for themselves. We need to stop treating women as special snowflakes, let them compete with the rest of us and let the best competitor win. The goal should always be pushing excellence, never forced diversity. The best of the best will always stand out, let the talent do the talking.

    Society already bends over backwards for women enough and when that happens we get the likes of Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, enough is enough already.

  • SevTheBear

    Awesome work always Georgina.

  • Azo Army

    Sadly this has been the way Society handles things in recent times by ‘Shaming’ its all over the place “Hands up don’t shoot”, “Black Lives Matter” these are all common sense but its made to shame with many false claims…