Tanya Colleen DePass
Born1973 (age 48–49)
Years active2014–present

Tanya DePass, also known by her username Cypheroftyr, is an American journalist, activist and streamer. She is the founder of the non-profit organization I Need Diverse Games, which she established in 2016.


DePass was a fan of tabletop and video games from her early childhood.[1] She has written articles on topics of diversity, feminism, and race, for publications including Polygon and Vice,[1] and provides diversity consultation services to game development studios and organizations.[1] She is the programming & diversity coordinator for OrcaCon and GaymerX.[2] DePass is the editor of Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins (2018), an anthology of essays from games industry professionals and players who felt marginalized by the industry.[1][3] Additionally, she is a 2020 Annenberg Innovation Lab Civic Media Fellow at USC.[4]

DePass is the co-developer for the Fifth Season RPG, based on N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy (2020).[5] Her work has been featured in the Victoria and Albert Museum's Design/Play/Disrupt exhibit.[1]

Online, DePass goes by the username Cypheroftyr.[6] She is a streamer on Twitch, where she has faced harassment.[7] In 2020, during the George Floyd protests, DePass ran a charity stream to raise funds for The Bail Project—the stream raised over $140,000 USD in a single day.[8]

She also plays Dungeons & Dragons in the Rivals of Waterdeep actual play livestream, which features a cast of people of color.[9][10] The show began in 2018 in Chicago as an official Wizards of the Coast production, broadcast on the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitch channel.[11] She is also the creative director of the Cortex actual play series Into the Mother Lands.[12]

Fireside Magazine, for which DePass was the special features editor, was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine in 2019.[13] In 2020, the Diana Jones Award was devoted to "Black Excellence in Gaming", with the committee awarding two dozen black people in the industry specifically, including DePass.[14] Kotaku named DePass one of their 4 "Gamers of the Year" for 2020.[15]

In 2021, DePass became a player in The Black Dice Society, a Ravenloft themed Dungeons & Dragons actual play show on the official Wizards of the Coast channels.[16][17]

Her work to make the industry more inclusive has been highlighted in Game Changer, Directed by Tina Charles,[18] https://pressreality.com/2021/06/17/tina-charles-knows-the-importance-of-representation/[19]WNBA star & olympian as well as filmmaker. The short documentary premiered at Tribeca 2021, as part of the Queen Collective; an initiative started by Queen Latifah, supported by Proctor & Gamble in an effort to get more Black women into filmmaking. [20] was also featured as part of BETHer’s 2021 Juneteenth Programming on 19 June 2021.

I Need Diverse Games

In 2014, DePass used the hashtag #INeedDiverseGames while responding to a statement from Ubisoft claiming that it would not be feasible to animate female characters for the upcoming Assassin's Creed game.[1][21] DePass has said she is "sick of games where I don't get to be the hero".[22] Despite pre-dating the controversy, the hashtag became particularly popular during the Gamergate harassment campaign, when it was one of several used in anti-Gamergate tweets. Tweets using the hashtag were primarily those sharing positive messages about a desire for increased diversity and broader representation in video games.[23]

DePass founded a non-profit using the name I Need Diverse Games in August 2016.[1][21][24] The organization, based in Chicago,[21] aims to support visibility and access for underrepresented people within the video games industry, and is funded through Patreon and fundraising campaigns.[21] One of the organization's initiatives is to provide financial support and passes to video game conferences such as the Game Developers Conference.[21] As of 2020, I Need Diverse Games was sending about two dozen people to the Game Developers Conference each year.[25] The organization also runs seminars on diversity at other games industry events, and highlights the work of underrepresented people.[1][25]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Marie, Meagan (2018). Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play. DK Publishing. pp. 336–337. ISBN 978-0-7440-1993-3.
  2. ^ "Tanya DePass's schedule for OrcaCon2020". OrcaCon 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  3. ^ DePass, Tanya, ed. (2018). Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-138-55904-2.
  4. ^ "2020 Cohort". Annenberg Innovation Lab. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Patterson, Adreon (August 5, 2019). "N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth Trilogy Receiving Fantasy RPG Adaptation". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  6. ^ Romano, Aja (August 26, 2019). "The frustrating, enduring debate over video games, violence, and guns". Vox. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  7. ^ Grayson, Nathan (January 29, 2019). "For Streamers Dealing With Stalkers, Twitch's Solutions Fall Short". Kotaku. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Grayson, Nathan (June 4, 2020). "Black Streamers Are Grateful For New Twitch Viewers, But Heartbroken It Took Police Violence To Make It Happen". Kotaku. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Stuart, Keith (November 29, 2019). "'It's cool now': why Dungeons & Dragons is casting its spell again". The Guardian. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  10. ^ Farough, Amanda (March 17, 2020). "How tabletop RPG actual play shows are inspiring a new generation of fans — and products". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Hoffer, Christian (June 21, 2020). "Rivals of Waterdeep is Dungeons & Dragons' Flagship Show". Comicbook.com. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  12. ^ Knox, Kelly (September 29, 2020). "A New Twitch Series Will Take You INTO THE MOTHER LANDS". Nerdist. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  13. ^ Liptak, Andrew (April 2, 2019). "Here are the 2019 Hugo Award nominees". The Verge. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Hall, Charlie (July 30, 2020). "One of tabletop gaming's biggest awards celebrates Black creators". Polygon. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  15. ^ Totilo, Stephen (December 30, 2020). "The Gamers Of The Year, 2020". Kotaku. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  16. ^ Hoffer, Christian (April 1, 2021). "Dungeons & Dragons Launches The Black Dice Society, a Creepy Ravenloft Streaming Show". ComicBook.com. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Baird, Scott (April 1, 2021). "D&D: The Black Dice Society Arrive In Ravenloft On April 1". ScreenRant. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  18. ^ https://pressreality.com/2021/06/17/tina-charles-tells-tanya-depasss-story-in-game-changer/
  19. ^ "WNBA Star Tina Charles Uses New Film 'Game Changer' to Incite Change in Gaming".
  20. ^ "Game Changer (Short 2021) - IMDb".
  21. ^ a b c d e Elahi, Amina (March 30, 2017). "I Need Diverse Games works to give minorities and women a louder voice in gaming". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  22. ^ Porter, Justin (February 25, 2017). "A Fresh Narrative in Gaming". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  23. ^ Evans, Sarah Beth; Janish, Elyse (2015). "#INeedDiverseGames: How the Queer Backlash to GamerGate Enables Nonbinary Coalition". QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. 2 (2): 125–150. doi:10.14321/qed.2.2.0125. JSTOR 10.14321/qed.2.2.0125. S2CID 141971312.
  24. ^ Spiegelman, Karen (March 2, 2020). "20 women in gaming you should know". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  25. ^ a b Notis, Ari (June 2, 2020). "How You Can Support Black Gamers". Kotaku. Retrieved June 6, 2020.