This letter (also published at games.usc.edu) is a statement and a promise to the players, makers, and thinkers of the games community at USC and beyond. We felt it important in these contentious times to put forth a clear statement of our values as a community for all involved in making, playing and study of games. This is for those who currently make and play with us, those who would like to do so, and anyone concerned with the aesthetic form of games and playful interactive media more broadly.
Our goal at USC Games has always been to push games outward from their status quo, with a spirit of adventure inspiring our experiments in the design, development and production of all kinds of games with all kinds of interfaces. We believe that a necessary part of this outward development is to encourage games that encompass new contexts, new audiences, and new creators.
These enthusiastic explorations are only possible in a community that welcomes diversity and thrives on our differences – one that is built on a foundation of humility and profound respect for what our fellow players, our fellow creators, and our varied experiences in the world can teach us. We have such a community here, and it has yielded beautiful results of which we are extremely proud.
However, we cannot ignore the long history of online and real-world harassment of women and minorities who develop, play and/or critique games. The recent intensification of this problem harshly reminds us that an environment of openness and trust is fragile – it requires careful and conscientious nurturing. Accordingly, our community does not accept speech or actions that are hateful, threatening or violent, in any form or forum.
We are adamant in upholding these values and we expect ourselves to have the moral courage to confront destructive behavior when and where it happens, and with an eye to addressing the source of the problem. We believe it is important to apply these principles not only to the academic study and commercial production of games, but to games as a part of our culture and media environment.
We encourage everyone who cares about games – players and makers, amateurs and professionals, aspiring and experienced, academic and informal, casual and hardcore, indie and triple-A – to stand alongside us in maintaining these principles in our words and in our work.
As the hosts of countless game jams, we have found that that these events, with their atmosphere of excitement, collaboration, and fearless experimentation, are a powerful expression of our values. Our student organization, MEGA, wants to offer such a joyful, supportive experience to everyone through its upcoming Love Jam, November 14-15, which will include both in-person and virtual opportunities for collaboration. Please join us in a thanksgiving and celebration of diversity and creativity in games.
The Faculty of USC Games
Tracy Fullerton, Director, USC Games
Margaret Moser, Assistant Professor of Practice, Interactive Media & Games
Richard Lemarchand, Associate Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Michael Renov, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, School of Cinematic Arts
Heather Desurvire, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Laird Malamed, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Jeff Watson, Assistant Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Peter Brinson, Assistant Professor of Practice, Interactive Media & Games
Sanjay Madhav, Lecturer, Information Technology Program
Alex McDowell, Professor of Practice, Media Arts and Practice
Dennis Wixon, Associate Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Danny Bilson, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games, Screenwriting
Tom Sloper, Senior Lecturer, Information Technology Program
Trina Gregory, Senior Lecturer, Information Technology Program
Michael Crowley, Director, Information Technology Program
Robert Nashak, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Sam Roberts, Assistant Director, Interactive Media & Games
Elizabeth Swensen, Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab
Peggy Weil, Adjunct Professor, School of Cinematic Arts
Rob Manuel, Program Coordinator, Interactive Media & Games
Sean Bouchard, Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab
Jesse Vigil, Research Associate, Game Innovation Lab
Chanel Summers, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Vincent Diamante, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games
Michael John, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Media & Games