June 24, 2022 - the day Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court - took away the federally protected right for people who can get pregnant to pursue safe and legal abortions across all 50 states. We're only beginning to see the effects of this crucial ruling being reversed, and it's a harrowing glimpse at what the future of reproductive rights and health care will look like. Across the U.S. and beyond, folks were understandably distraught and angry at the Supreme Court's decision.
It wasn't long until people started mobilizing and doing what they could to ease the pain of this overturned case, including protesting and raising money for local abortion funds. Abbey 'Scruncho' Smith, Assistant Producer and Content Manager at Dread XP, mobilized in her own way and organized the Itch.io Worthy of Better, Stronger Together Bundle for Reproductive Rights. In an interview with TechRaptor, Smith discussed the planning of the bundle, details of its 169 available games, and why reproductive rights affect the gaming community as much as anyone else.
Details of the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together Bundle for Reproductive Rights
The Worthy of Better, Stronger Together Itch.io bundle went live on July 1 and will remain available for purchase until July 15 at 3 p.m. CT. The minimum purchase price starts at $10, but buyers have the option to add an extra donation to the charities beyond that minimum. Unlike other past Itch.io bundles, Worthy of Better, Stronger Together consists of only completed, available-for-purchase games - there are no demos or free games included. The bundle currently has a goal to raise $150,000 for the chosen charities - The National Organization for Women and The Center for Reproductive Rights.
Explaining the meaning behind the bundle's name, Smith stated, "... I wanted something to be strong and [illustrate] that those who are impacted by the Roe V. Wade decision are as human and worthy of basic human rights as those who it does not directly impact." This is especially applicable to the selection of charities to donate to, as The National Organization for Women and The Center for Reproductive Rights focus on more than women and "address two different sides of the issue."
My goal when selecting the charities was to address two sides of the issue. The first, for reproductive rights and being able to make our own decisions for our bodies. The second, was to focus on basic human rights and having access to them. By providing to both, we are supporting the direct issue at hand while also fighting for those who are having their rights stripped away.
Smith chose to make this an Itch.io bundle "because being part of a large gaming community, I found Itch to be the most mutual platform for game developers, content creators, casual gamers, and publishers. It provided the easiest way to collaborate with a variety of creators." Choosing Itch to house the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together Bundle for Reproductive Rights ultimately seems to have paid off, with the bundle containing content from 120 different creators - this is especially impressive when Smith stated, "This bundle was also put together in just under one week and that is much shorter than many other bundles to organize."
The bundle starts at $10 for a very intentional reason - inclusivity. For many folks, $10 is an affordable starting price, especially considering how many games they'll have access to once they complete their donation. That said, anyone who donates has the option to go over the $10 minimum if they have the financial ability to do so.
We wanted everyone to be able to help and have the option to do so. $10 for 169 games, all paid, is not only a fantastic deal, but it is affordable to most people. People have the option to pay more if they wish.
Games Included in the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together Bundle for Reproductive Rights
The Itch.io bundle consists of a total of 169 games across 120 different creators, so there's bound to be at least one game that'll pique any viewers' interest. Unlike other bundles of the past, the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together bundle intentionally doesn't have a "title game" because Smith said, "I felt all games should be promoted equally, as I think that the cause rather than a specific game should be what the attention is on."
Now, with so many games up for grabs in the bundle, it was hard for Smith to settle on which games made the bundle most appealing to her personally. Admittedly, there are a lot of options ranging from a variety of genres, so it was unsurprising that narrowing down a few favorites was difficult. However, Smith stated, "... games like Bloodwash, Sucker for Love, Sylvio 1 and 2, and Sally Face…" were some of her top picks of games included in the bundle.
The Intersection of Games and Reproductive Rights
Proud to have Sylvio and Sylvio 2 in a bundle where all proceeds goes to National Organization for Women and Center for Reproductive Rights.— Stroboskop (@stroboskops) July 2, 2022
Fight the old and rotten forces of society, fight for basic human rights.
10 $ (or more) for 1K $ worth.https://t.co/7XFipjtMzm
Some might argue that the games industry shouldn't involve itself in reproductive rights, but that argument falls short in a few ways - most notably that the overturning of Roe v. Wade affects a multitude of people in the games space whether they're developers, publishers, content creators, or any other number of roles within the community.
"This is about the fight for basic human rights at the end of the day." Smith stated. "Reproductive rights are basic rights and should be seen as so. We are all people, more than just gamers, and if you value your rights, then you should care about when those rights are stripped away, whether you are directly impacted or not."
While Smith said she could potentially be interested in creating another Itch.io collaboration if the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together bundle sells well, she has her sights set elsewhere now that the bundle is out in the wild. "... I am interested in more ways to get involved and how I can get others to support other avenues as well. The gaming community has been my focus, but we can be more than that and reach into other communities."
Donating to the Worthy of Better, Stronger Together Bundle for Reproductive Rights on Itch.io is a great way to start your journey for reproductive rights activism, but there's always more to be done. If you're looking for more ways to get involved in the fight for reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, Smith remarked:
Vote and support your local communities that are gathering together to raise their voices. Every voice, every vote, and every commitment to those being oppressed count. We are stronger together.
Disclaimer: Our reviews editor, Samuel Guglielmo, works at publisher Dread XP.