What started as a case of someone who cannot physically join a protest, one person’s effort at spiritually participating a cause has become a trend that brings activism in a new light.
Despite being an avid supporter of the BLM, New Yorker Adelle could not be a part of the Black Lives Matter protest, citing her predisposition as cohabiting with immunocompromised people as the cause.
Turning her frustration into something creative, Adelle made use of her island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to join the cause. Specifically, by arranging her island in a manner that is in line with the BLM movement advocacy, which means a beautiful placement of flowers and pixel art of Black people who fell victim to police brutality.
Gathering the attention of other people, the software engineer soon found her island becoming a hotspot for fellow supporters—some of which wearing masks, signifying the ongoing crisis that coincides with the anti-black racism.
— eihcra (@archiecajulao) August 10, 2020
More than just being a hub for like-minded people, however, Adelle’s virtual island has become a site for protest. With attendees shouting in text some sentiments such as “Justice for Breonna,” “No justice, no peace,” and “Defund the police.”
Small but Profound Effect
Adelle’s virtual spot is only able to accommodate up to eight players max. However, the simple act of putting a protest in-game seems to have a more profound effect than it would seem from the outset.
Complementing her strategy of displaying her allegiance from the game, she also runs a Livestream that sought to raise money for the cause. Ultimately, funneling a pool of $3000 from various channels, including the gamer-centric platform, Twitch.
Together we raised $3000 today across @naacp @splcenter @join_campaign_0 @blacktechmecca @lastmileppe @bailfundnetwork I really enjoyed being able to protest from home. Will do this again next weekend! Join us!! #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/lpX5AOl42R
— Adelle (@Adellelin) June 7, 2020
Adelle’s story is but just one of the many others who stood from the same cause and brought the protest in games, however. Hers is not also the first either, looking back to Demosisto leader who brought Hong Kongers fight for freedom in-game.
Elsewhere, such as in World of Warcraft, NBA 2K20, Grand Theft Auto, players are also showing their renditions of their dissent.
But it is not just the gamers who are active participants of the Black Lives Matter advocacy, however. As even game developers themselves, albeit rather subdued, play their role in the scheme of things as well. Some of which showing their solidarity through pledges of donations, echoing social media rhetoric, and fun stuff seen directly in their games.
Conflict of Interest
Not everyone sees the idea of bringing politics in games in a positive light, though. Some of which argues that video games are not a tool for protest. Yet, this is a notion that comes with its backlash, particularly from the proponents of the cause. That is, highlighting “human rights” and “dignity” as strong, compelling reasons, “not politics.”
Image used courtesy of LakeyBake/YouTube Screenshot