Postgraduate student strives for greater inclusivity and representation in games

SAE games programmer, developer and player, Antony Clements seeks to better represent users through broader representation of characters in the games he creates.
SAE postgraduate student Antony Clements

Antony Clements postgraduate capstone project for the Master of Creative Industries is a thesis that critiques the representation of disability within the games industry. Find out more about Antony and his approach to game development.

Meet the Masters
– Student Edition –

NAME: Antony Clements
COURSE: Master of Creative Industries

Why did you decide to start postgraduate study?

I decided to study the master’s course because I feel I have a lot to contribute to games, particularly regarding the stories that can be told, and making games playable to a wider audience.

What has your creative industries career experience been so far?

I had been an applications programmer for several years before I switched to game development approximately 6 years ago.

Tell us about your capstone project.

My capstone project is a little out of the ordinary. Whereas most produce creative work such as a script or a piece of music, my capstone project is a thesis that critiques the representation of disability within the games industry and in games themselves.

What are your motivations behind creating the project?

My motivation observations of the games industry and games are the motivation for my capstone project.

Many acknowledge that there is a large gap in representation within the game developer industry and characters within the games, and few are working to bridge that gap, instead, developers concentrate on making the games playable to a wider audience but fail to take into account that user interaction goes beyond being able to play the game, but also being able to have an emotional connection to the characters within the game.

If the player cannot see aspects of themselves within a character, many players will disengage.

My work revolves around pointing out failures within character representation and how to fix the issue.

What are your career goals for the future?

In the future, I would like to bring a greater representation of underrepresented demographics to characters within games. Especially playable characters.

What drew you to work within the creative industries and become a creative practitioner?

I have been playing games since the mid-1980s, and in all that time I have only seen a properly represented disabled character a handful of times.

I can count on one hand the number of disabled characters I have seen that were done tastefully and accurately.

How does completing the MCI online suit your lifestyle?

Being a wheelchair user, online learning is great for me as I do not have to wrestle with transport to and from campus and wheelchair access.

What are your top three tips for working online and staying motivated?
  1. Treat it like a normal work day.
  2. Take breaks and have lunch outside if you can. This is especially important over the last few years with the COVID pandemic as many people have had a mental decline. Go do something else for a little while before coming back to your student work.
  3. Interact with your peers. It’s more than just helping each other with the workload, but forming a social circle as well.
Film students working with a camera

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