Tanya Colleen DePass
Born1973 (age 48–49)
NationalityAmerican
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.

Biography

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]

References

  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.