Home Events Finalist Session: Empathy as Activism


Oct 22 2020


12:00 pm - 12:45 pm

Finalist Session: Empathy as Activism

Activist games have long been a favorite in indie circles, especially games that connect activism to personal experience. What does it mean to create games as a form of protest and activism? What are the unique properties of games that motivate gamemakers to explore themes of social, racial, economic, and environmental justice through interactivity? How can we use empathy and agency to bring new perspectives to the table?

Join us on Zoom with the link from your passholder portal!



  • A.M. Darke
    A.M. Darke

    “A.M. Darke is an artist and game maker designing radical tools for social intervention. Still in the class war. Now in the pandemic. He’s in the combination class war and pandemic. Assistant Professor of Digital Arts and New Media, and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, at UC Santa Cruz, Darke also directs The Other Lab, an interdisciplinary, intersectional feminist research space for experimental games and new media. She’s currently working on the Black culture game ‘Ye or Nay? and the Open Source Afro Hair Library, a 3D model database for Black hair styles and textures.

    Darke is an Assistant Professor of Games and Playable Media, Digital Arts and New Media, and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at UC Santa Cruz, as well as the founding director of The Other Lab, an interdisciplinary, intersectional feminist research space for experimental games, XR, and new media. Her work has been shown internationally and featured in a variety of publications, including Kill Screen, Vice, and NPR. In 2017, she was an IndieCade finalist for his work Objectif, a party game that examines racialized standards of beauty.”

  • Bob De Schutter
    Bob De Schutter

    “Ben is a composer and sound designer for video games, film, and concert music from Seattle. Notable film credits include “”Coming Out”” (2015) and the short film “”Femme”” (2018), both by filmmaker Alden Peters; “”Femme”” was recently picked up for a series adaptation. He was also a finalist for the 2018 Berlin International Film Scoring Competition.

    Recent concert credits include “”Collide-o-Scope,”” a 15-minute work commissioned by the Seattle Youth Symphony for their 2016-2017 season, and being the winner of the Illinois Philharmonic’s inaugural Classical Evolve competition; Ben served as the IPO’s composer-in-residence for the 2018-2019 season, premiering 3 orchestral works.

    ​Ben also holds a Masters Degree in composing for film and video games from the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program at the Seattle Film Institute.

    “Bob De Schutter (MFA, PhD) is the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Applied Game Design at Miami University (Oxford, OH), where he is affiliated to the College of Education, Health & Society and the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies, and a Research Fellow of the Scripps Gerontology Center. He is also the owner of game company Lifelong Games (LLC).

    His creative, research and teaching interests include game design, the older audience of digital games, and the use of games for non-entertainment purposes. His work focuses on the importance of play throughout the entire lifespan and speaks out against the stereotyping of older video game players in game design and marketing.

    Bob has served industry as an independent consultant, public speaker, developer and entrepreneur, is a lifetime member of the International Game Developers Association has founded and chaired the Gerontoludic Society as well as the Flemish chapter of the Digital Games Research Association (Belgium), and is the Director of Miami University’s Engaging Technology Lab. He is a first-time IndieCade attendee and his latest game Brukel is selected as a nominee for the 2020 IndieCade festival.”

  • Danny Hayes
    Danny Hayes

    “One of the founders of Delve Interactive, I’ve been in the games industry for about a decade with experience at various studios as a designer and coder.

    After entering the indie scene with the puzzle platformer PONCHO, I began designing CHANGE: A Homeless Survival Experience to raise awareness on the effects of poverty, abuse, mental health and addiction.

    Above all, I and the rest of the team at Delve Interactive seek to create unique games, with heart.”

  • Emily Turner
    Emily Turner

    Emily Turner is a Maryland native who is incredibly uncomfortable writing in the third person. She spent four years in Rochester learning how to dance and play games and is now back in her home zip code to make spreadsheets and slowly go insane while working from home during the pandemic.

    The caretaker of one cat and many plants, Emily enjoys being surrounded by not-dead things. She spends her free time swing dancing (when there’s not a virus going around) and making a problematic amount of baked goods.

    Emily is at IndieCade because of a terrible horrible idea she got during her third year of college: “”What if there were dating sims with all the men in games who don’t respect you?”” She then went and talked to about a hundred women at her college who had been harassed by men in STEM. With the help of a truly awesome team of students, she helped make Gamer Girl – a harassment simulator which featured all the awful stories she had learned about.

  • Z

    Zhenghua Yang (Z) is the founder of Serenity Forge, a value-driven video game development company in Boulder, CO. Having built his first computer at the age of 6 and programmed his first video game at the age of 10, Z started Serenity Forge after a near-fatal illness at the age of 18, focusing on creating meaningful & artistic games that challenge the way we think. In Addition, Z works with hospitals in creating interactive experiences for children with severe illnesses to give them a sense of freedom. Z is a TEDx speaker and was selected for Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2020; his art and games have reached fans around the world and have been exhibited at museums such as the Smithsonian Institution & Denver Botanic Gardens. Some notable Serenity Forge titles that have been selected as a part of the IndieCade festivals include Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, Four Sided Fantasy, and A Case of Distrust.

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Oct 22 2020
  • Time: 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

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