Card Game Rewrites Gender, Racial Stereotypes (‘Fast Company’)


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Might the world be a better place if games were designed in a way that didn’t reinforce the culture’s worst stereotypes?

With a card game called Buffalo: The Name-Dropping Game, Dartmouth’s Mary Flanagan and her Tiltfactor Laboratory have proven that the answer is yes, writes Fast Company.

After playing just one game, writes Fast Company, players of Buffalo were “measurably more likely to be inclusive, and agree with statements like, ‘There is potential for good and evil in all of us,’ or, ‘I can see myself fitting into many groups.’ And the thing is, researchers don’t believe their results need to be limited at all to Buffalo—but that games, across the board, could be designed through all sorts of methods to make all of us more tolerant.”

“I think what’s interesting about games in this particular space is that games rely on agency,” Flanagan, a professor of film and media studies, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities, and the founding director of Tiltfactor, tells Fast Company. “They don’t come to life unless there’s action by people. And that makes them different than film or other art forms. I look at World of Warcraft—with 11 million people in its heyday—what if the language and dialogue were involving this material? The game could have been a pro-social, anti-stereotyping, bias-prevention world. Wow, cool!”

Read the full story, published 10/28/15 by Fast Company.

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