It's common practice for developers to make games that draw inspiration from the histories, stories and cultures of people around the world.
Respecting those people's feelings while exploring their cultural touchstones is of paramount importance, and as a game maker it's all too easy to slip up -- especially if you're doing everything on your own.
As part of the Failure Workshop at GDC 2015's Indie Games Summit, Ben Esposito (The Unfinished Swan) tackled this topic by addressing the mistakes he made working on Kachina, a game that "used Hopi folklore" as its theme, and his journey to understand and learn from what that really meant. In the end, he wound up changing the game's theme and continues to work on it as Donut County.
It was a frank talk that called out some important issues underlying cultural appropriation in game development; if you missed it in person, you can now watch Esposito's portion of the GDC 2015 Failure Workshop -- a very brief, powerful segment of the full panel -- for free over on the GDC Vault's new YouTube channel.
About the GDC Vault
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its new YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.
Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.
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