Decolonizing Video Games

By Erin Pedersen, March 30, 2021
Indigenous People are Decolonizing the Virtual Realm

Video games are more than entertainment.

They are a means of sharing perspectives worldwide.

During the Conversations Across Screen Cultures event with Iskandar Zulkarnain and Enrique Gonzalez-Conty last Thursday, the decolonization of video games was discussed.

Video games are produced internationally and can feature lifestyles and situations not experienced by most people. For instance, the video game ‘Never Alone’ shares stories of the Iñupiaq people with the world and features art from Alaska Native cultures.

Video games allow for a space to express indigenous culture which is why it is important to decolonize video games, not only as a capitalistic medium but something that can be used as a platform to represent oppressed voices.

I never heard of decolonizing video games or understood the importance of it until I attended this discussion. 

I had to ask during the question period “how we as non-video game programmers can help with the decolonization of video games” because I do not have the skill set to program a video game alongside indigenous people and release it worldwide for others to engage with. 

Iskandar Zulkarnain replied that to support the decolonization of video games we, as consumers, should play video games created by/with indigenous people and share them.

This response surprised me because I never imagined playing a video game or discussing it with friends could help empower indigenous people. It is helpful to know that spreading awareness about decolonizing video games is simple and fun because you get to immerse yourself in new games.