Conventionally, the strength of protest is founded on its presence in the popular society, which offers new viewpoints. Video games that are part of popular entertainment should be used to advocate for the interests of oppressed people. Due to the immersive, multi-user and multi-media aspects of contemporary video games, different approaches to advocacy can be provided. Video game advocacy is the premeditated use of video technologies to bring about political or social change. To be competitive, it needs the mobilization of both consumers who play games and developers. In addition, there must be an activist ethos for gaming; gaming culture for change, gamers for change and game for the change. As far as video game activism is concerned, this assignment will discuss a game known as “Spawn 4 Good” as it was used during Black lives matter and how it can be used today to serve the same function.
Spawn 4 Good was developed by a game podcaster and blogger called Kahlief Adams. It’s an initiative to provide gamers with the capacity to utilize the technology of video game as a platform for expressing issues associated with social justice. The effort of the game is to create awareness to help the underserved population and people of color. It’s a platform which provides with ways of doing good things to the society via initiatives (Gray Kishonna). This game can be used to address various topics including abortion access and reproductive rights for women, non-binary and transgender people. The game is based on non-stop live streaming through a twitch to enable streamers to raise funds to solve a particular social issue.
The evolving gaming world has attracted teenagers to play video games. The audience for Spawn 4 good just like any other video games is teenager who plays it as the pastime. According to Entertainment Software Association (2011), approximately 60% of Americans whose average age is 30 years play video games. However, not all teenagers play or watch Spawn 4 Good. The actual audience of the game are individuals who are interested in social and racial justice as well as funding the marginalized society and people of color. Each game has its specific audience based on the social issue being discussed. For instance, abortion access and reproductive rights often have black female gamers to support abortion funding organizations such as National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF).
Spawn 4 Good works by bringing people with the same agenda together to support an issue they share an interest. The audience is then encouraged to share stories, infographics, and facts about the issue to attract more funds to support the issue. Through a shared hashtag on social media, many audiences get the chance to participate in signal boosting, streaming and donating to support the issue.
However, to a greater extent, Spawn 4 Good does not effectively work to its expected audience. Twitch itself is not the perfect platform for expressing support for the minority groups. People of color and marginalized community have spent substantial time urging for recognition within the society. There has been the constant failure due to incapability to acknowledge common oppression among people of color (Duncan 88). While Spawn 4 Good has been used to counter supremacy of whiteness, it has not been successful due to systematically embedded discrimination within institutions. Furthermore, most gamers are whites thus there is substantial incapacity to gain a critical mass for wide-scale mobility of gamers to participate and initiate change.
Furthermore, Spawn 4 good cannot get full traction of activism because the foundation of gaming technology reflects an overlapping and intersecting racist behaviors, ideas, practices, and policies that are tough to disrupt for minority groups. The impact of this game can be enhanced when gamers are empowered to be activists as well as part of the solution to problems facing subordinate communities.
Spawn 4 Good also adequately address the game theme which is racism. By encouraging frank discussions and sharing of stories, gamers are able to gain insights regarding racism and its impacts on the society. Furthermore, the game enhances self-identification as gamers find their community and identity online which cannot happen offline. The game puts a spotlight on social and political injustices against blacks and provides a platform when people’s voices can be heard (Rea 76). Spawn 4 Good also provides a deliberate opportunity for an audience to have fun with others and brainstorm unequal ways minority groups and blacks are treated.
The game further addresses the theme of awareness creation. The hashtag #Spawn4good can be used on social media as a gaming charity to enable the audience to discuss issues such as abortion access. For long, black women have perceived abortion as immoral, illegal and totally controversial thus making them not to raise funds to support abortion. This game encourages online discussion where everyone gets enlightened thus understand that abortion is necessarily not controversial.
In conclusion, the game “Spawn 4 Good” has been successful at raising consciousness regarding the negative portrayal of black culture as well as creating awareness about social aspects of life such as reproductive rights and access to abortion. However, the game is limited by white supremacy in gaming technology and social media use.
Duncan, Sean C. “Crafting a Path into Gaming Culture.” Gaming Globally, 2013, pp. 85-90.
Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry: 2011 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data. Entertainment Software Assn., 2011.
Gray, Kishonna. “Activism in Gaming Culture: Mobilizing Games, Gamers, & Gaming Culture For Change – Not Your Mama’s Gamer.” Nymgamer.Com, 2016, http://www.nymgamer.com/?p=12584.
Martin. “#Spawn4good Reproductive Rights & Abortion Access Fund – Nerdy Little Secret.” Nerdy Little Secret, 2016, http://nerdylittlesecret.com/main/2016/01/spawn4good-reproductive-rights-abortion-access-fund/.
Rea, Stephen C. “Mobilizing Games, Disrupting Culture: Digital Gaming in South Korea.” Mobile Communication in Asia: Local Insights, Global Implications, 2016, pp. 73-89.