Author: Ӎ. Ní Sídach
Protests across the U.S. over police violence and systemic racism against Black Americans have sparked gaming companies like Electronic Arts, Epic Games and Sony Interactive Entertainment/PlayStation to publish statements of their support and make donations to relevant advocacy organizations.
These are positive actions, but the most impactful thing game companies can do is take action internally. Racial bias is baked, usually unintentionally, into games by those who develop them. This creates a recurring pattern of Black and Latinx characters being stereotyped or completely absent in games, which is invalidating and demeaning.
There are 2.5 billion gamers in the world, a group that includes consumers across every ethnicity and age (especially in mobile gaming, the largest market segment). Quartz has noted that “57% of video game players in the U.S. between the ages of 6 and 29 will be people of color in less than 10 years.” Black and Latinx youth in the US spend more time per day, on average, on both mobile games and console games than white youth. For hundreds of millions of gamers globally — particularly in demographics driving the industry’s rapid growth — there are very few games whose stories center on characters like them. That is also a missed business opportunity.
Recent Sci-Fi, such as JJ Abrams‘ Star Trek Into Darkness and After Earth (M. Night Shyamalan, 2013), are reminders of how film and TV so often depict future fashion as skimpy or skintight. The uniforms in Abrams’ Star Trek revival have progressed from previous versions, but retain the hallmarks of the originals.
The men’s uniforms have a mesh outer layer, reminiscent of moisture-wicking sportswear. The female uniforms are more precise replicas of the originals, with miniskirts and knee-high boots.
In After Earth, the stranded father and son are costumed in something reminiscent of an armoured wetsuit. These films are following a tradition established by films such as Logan’s Run (1976), Buck Rogers (1979-1981) and Tron (1982), in which costume left little to the imagination.
“Thoughts are forms of information, and all information is physical and relational. It ‘feels’ like something to ‘have’ a thought and to ‘be’ a self because we are that information, recursively reflecting on itself in an infinite regress.”
― Ralph Lewis M.D., What Actually Is a Thought? Psychology Today
It begins with a cooperative thought experiment, a co-creative expression of culture as a technology the better to manifest the material. So, our intentional common sense is an expanded design language called Participatory Action Research, Design, Development and together we will use it in bringing to life utterly Surrealistic Reference Sheets and Fursuits. Fursuits, Oh yes Fursuits, wonderful Furry Fandom Fursuits, magically anthropomorphic costumed play.
Technical apparel has evolved far beyond its Science Fiction Convention and Comic Book origins, discovering in the late 1980s, a community life all its own as Cosplay (Costumed Play) and sub-genres the Furry Fandom a diverse community of anthropomorphic arts and costumed play.
The ArtScience vision of ΘWΛ Design means innovative material science and fabrication techniques in unusual combinations with the practicality of biological PPE features to maximize user safety and enjoyment in a volatile world changed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
We Sing The Body Therianthropic, the Greek Theríon (θηρίον), meaning “wild animal” or “beast”, and Anthrōpos (Ἄνθρωπος), meaning “human being”, a very ancient word, a spiritual word for our otherworldly mytho-mystic shapes born of the Primordial Void energies of 🜁 Air, 🜂 Fire, 🜃 Earth, 🜄 Water.
With virtual production tools, we can connect, resonate, play together, we model and demonstrate to communicate, to share and affirm the principles of cooperative community through collaborative action design, and so hope to significantly contribute to the prosperity and happiness of the performing art communities of Cosplay and Furry Fandom.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
― Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law
ΘWΛ | Other World Λnima Design Group
A Cooperative Mission of Λn Solas Si ΛrtScience
Though it may seem counter-intuitive next-level surrealism fursuits rely as much on old-world artisanship as the advanced technologies of additive and subtractive manufacturing.
Case in point, hand-tied wig making skills used to create super-realistic fursuit head and paws.