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Diversity in Games with the Romeros

In our continuing guest posts, Conall Mac Canna writes about Games NI and NI Screen’s Diversity in Games event last month.

Last month, myself, David and some of the Red Spear team had the pleasure of attending a workshop run by Brenda and John Romero ahead of a series of talks ‘Diversity in Games’.

Brenda, formerly Brathwaite, is renowned as a games designer for her work on the likes of the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series, her teaching and broader substantial work for the improvement of the industry. John, meanwhile produced games with his Id Software, that went by the names Doom, Wolfenstein and I think Quack.

We began with a wonderful segment on forming a development team by way of Black Sabbath, a follow-up about good leaders according to Star Trek from Brenda and a Q&A with them on taking a project to market. After that we were joined by other local developers at the ‘Diversity in Games’ section of the day. 

The talks in the afternoon were varied, with one from Specialisterne NI on supporting those on the autistic spectrum in gaining employment in the industry, another from John, giving a rapid-fire history of the fantastic early days of Id Software and the third from Brenda on diversity in the industry in general. From her refreshingly sensible perspective as someone the press have labelled as a #FemaleGamesDesigner (she prefers, rightly so, #GamesDesigner) she noted that, while people should strive to be great in the industry, role models from various backgrounds are vital. The impression she presented was that while we should strive for that – to be something people can aspire towards – we should do so without making our background something that defines how they, sharing said background, perform in their role. This was highlighted with John and his Cherokee / Yaqui / Mexican heritage which, while never a focus in his depiction, is something that provides great inspiration to some of those who are fans of his work.

Overall as well as a great day of insights into the industry from the Romeros, it was fantastic day of meeting and hearing from inspiring veterans of the industry.

 Conall Mac Canna is co-founder of Pandaras Box and currently on the UK Games Fund Tranzfuser program.
Conall Mac Canna is co-founder of Pandaras Box and currently on the UK Games Fund Tranzfuser program.