During my MA in Games Design (a decade ago now) at UCLAN under the excellent tutorship of Josh Taylor and Jim Thompson, I became interested in inclusivity in game development and gaming, even creating a single switch Bowling game. Not only did I make the game but I built the switch itself from components I bought off the internet, because as a poor student I couldn’t afford a retail one!
I worked for many years with young people with learning difficulties and saw how many commercial games marginalized them from play by having no suitable accessibility settings. At the time I had no idea how difficult it would be to adapt games for a single switch setup so that the game could be enjoyed by a wider audience. It turns out that while a little investment is needed to adapt these games to a wider audience, in the grand scheme of things cost would be negligible.
Therefore one of my aims for the future of the studio is to engage in a meaningful way with some the people and organisations who have worked tirelessly over the last 15 years to bring accessibility to gamers, such as Barry Ellis at Oneswitch.org.uk and Dr Mick Donegan at SpecialEffect.org.uk – with the aim of making our games playable by all.
ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and other learning difficulties
Over the past 10 years I have taught many talented Games Design students with ASD and other additional needs. While the subject itself attracts these learners, they are not always equipped for the demands of the competitive industry they are looking to enter, and are currently unlikely to find work after study.
It is an aim for our studio to sign up to schemes such as Scope’s Get Inclusive initiative, in order to provide work experience and employment opportunities for these students and graduates.
Women In Games
While teaching I met Marie-Claire Isaaman who is a pioneer of Game Equality and Change and CEO of Women In Games. I believe strongly that we need to encourage women from all backgrounds and from an early age to follow a games development path. I have many experiences of young women telling me they were discouraged by family, friends or careers advisors away from games design as being unsuitable for women. This needs to change!
BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic)
BAME in Games is a community dedicated to encouraging and supporting more diverse talent to work in the games industry. Our studio will engage with organisations like this with the goal of becoming a very diverse studio, both in staff and output.
We believe a diverse studio makes for more diverse and interesting games. Your identity is what makes you you and we love it!
We encourage anyone and everyone, however you identify to get in touch and help us make a change.
Crunch and Mental health
‘Crunch’ is a mental health and wellbeing issue that has plagued the industry for too long. Bleep games has high expectations for it’s staff but will not bow to pressure from any partner or investor to complete by a set deadline. In fact we will not use the term deadline, instead target.
This will be communicated clearly to any investor or partner. If you cannot wait patiently for quality then you can invest elsewhere!
Exciting times ahead!