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Leveling up representation in video games

Two people sitting down with video game controllers in their hands
James Sheppard
Future / Getty Images
Detail of two people holding Sony PlayStation 4 video game console controllers, taken on March 17, 2015.

Video games have a history of racist and sexist stereotypes, from damsels in distress to Asian martial artists. With the recent releases of The Super Mario Bros. Movie and HBO's television adaptation of The Last of Us, we wanted to take a closer look at representation in the video game industry. Sheri Graner Ray, CEO of Zombie Cat Studios and author of Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, explains what it's like to be a woman game designer pushing for the industry to broaden its perspective. And Professor Edmond Y. Chang talks about queerness and racial stereotypes in video games.


Special thanks to our intern Melody Rivera, who helped produce this episode. Special thanks also go to our intern Elizabeth Van Arnam.

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Kevin Chang Barnum is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly show Disrupted. Kevin grew up in Connecticut and started his radio work at his graduate university’s radio station, KUCI. He has also worked for HRN, a network of food and beverage podcasts.
Wayne Edwards is a freelance producer at Connecticut Public contributing to multi-platform productions, including ‘Disrupted’, ‘Where Art Thou?’, and ‘Cutline in the Community’.

Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean is an award-winning scholar at Quinnipiac University, author, and host of 'Disrupted' on Connecticut Public.
Meg Dalton is the deputy director of storytelling for Connecticut Public. She previously worked for The Takeaway from WNYC, in collaboration with GBH and PRX, and Mobituaries with Mo Rocca. She's also reported and edited for the Columbia Journalism Review, PBS NewsHour, Slate, MediaShift, Hearst Connecticut newspapers, and more. Her audio work has appeared on ‎WNYC, WSHU, Marketplace, WBAI, and NPR. She earned her master's degree from Columbia Journalism School in 2017, where she specialized in audio storytelling and narrative writing, and has taught audio storytelling at Columbia Journalism School, UnionDocs, and public libraries.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.