News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. June 20, 2022: While the gaming sector has always been popular, its fame and acceptance reached a new height following the global pandemic in 2020. According to statistics, the number of active gamers in the United States is expected to hit over 179.6 million at the end of 2022.
In the United States and the world at large, the popularity of the industry continues to rise. Whether playing Atomic Heart on consoles or online blackjack, the number of people open to playing games online continues to skyrocket each passing year. As the gaming industry continues to grow, it is important to acknowledge that it has been impacted by various races and tribes, including Black immigrants.
Black innovators in the industry have proactively contributed to the further development of video gaming, and we cannot help but recognize their efforts and great inputs. Some of these American innovators that have brought great changes and innovations to the video gaming industry include:
Known as the father of video gaming, Gerald ‘Jerry’ Lawson was a black engineer who turned around the story of video gaming in the 1970s. He helped create the first video game console and its games. Lawson led his team to the creation of the Fairchild Channel F.
Nintendo and Atari easily accepted Lawson’s inspiration behind the video gaming idea. After some years working with the giant pair, he proceeded to establish his own Black gaming creation company. Lawson was born in Brooklyn, NY and died in 2011 in California.
Interestingly, not all Black gaming industry advancers went into the cores of game design. A large array of other innovators played major manufacturing positions associated with building coin-operated video games. One of these includes Alice’ Wonderwoman’ Washington, evident with her impact on PCBs (printed circuit boards) inside arcade game cabinets.
Noteworthily, printed circuit boards encompass not only the game but the required technology for running it effectively. This enables arcade gamers to access their favorite games.
Alice Washingtons’s efforts towards the installation of PCBs in gaming consoles boosted the widespread acceptance of arcade games. In fact, without her implementation of PCB installation, a large majority of arcade gamers today wouldn’t be able to access their favorite games.
Neil Jones is a black game developer and multi-disciplined 3D artist based in Detroit, US. Neil Jones has developed amazing games such as Dot’s Home and Clique. These games were inspired and talked about the systemic oppression against the Black race and social problems.
While developing these projects, Jones couldn’t successfully get a job offer at any video game studio. Thus, he turned the waves in his favor by going solo and enjoying the outcomes. Jones released his first video game, ‘Never Yield’, launched in May 2020 under his 3D development brand Aerial Knight.
The Never Yield project is a game which involves endless running in a futuristic Detroit, pursuing his dreams and never yielding to excuses. Amazingly, Jones’ efforts have been recognized worldwide by several publications. Some of these publications include New York Times and The Verge. Even further, Neil Jones is acknowledged in the modern history of Black gaming.
Chella Ramanan has helped advance the gaming industry via her firm 3-Fold Games which was co-founded with Clair Morwood. Chella Ramanan and her team of developers released Before I Forget, a short, well-detailed game that enables users to play as the main character, Sunita, a dementia patient who remembers everything in bits as she constantly interacts with her surroundings.
Besides co-creating 3-Fold Games, Chella Ramanan has supported different representations within game development and video games as she also co-founded POC in Play. POC in Play is a company designed to further diversify the gaming industry.
Also, Ramanan advocated for several representations while working as a journalist. Her efforts aren’t going unnoticed as she continually pushes her gaming advocacy across well-known publications such as The Guardian and game development events such as AdventureX. In 2019, the Game Developers Heroes Awards honored Ramanan with the 2019 Progression Advocate Award.
Shawn Alexander Allen is one of the Black innovators in modern gaming history. He is a self-acclaimed ‘Hip hop obsessed’ speaker, activist, and writer who developed a great working relationship with Rockstar Games.
Some of his works include Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Grand Theft Auto V; they have all been market leaders and globally sought after. However, Allen stopped working for Rockstar Games and moved on to develop his firm, the NuChallenger.
At his new firm, he deployed an intuitive video game known as Treachery in Beatdown City. TBC underwent successful crowdfunding, after which it was deployed in 2020 on several leading platforms.
There is no denying the gaming industry has felt been impacted in a great way by Blacks worldwide. These Black innovators have left a footprint in the sands of time in the industry through their amazing works, and they are worth celebrating.