Building Cultural Awareness through Game Design

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Michael DeAnda is serious about games. The 2019 alumnus of the Ph.D. program in technology and humanities now works as a professional lecturer on game development at DePaul University’s School of Design.

Since starting at DePaul, DeAnda has taught a Fundamentals of Game Design course, and a Game Studies Proseminar for graduate students. As a teacher, he says he encourages students to explore video games as “artifacts of culture.”

“Gaming culture is often policed to be only for privileged players and designers: ones who are white, cisgender, male, young, and able-bodied,” DeAnda says. “I see an opportunity as an educator to help my students understand how to be conscientious designers, critically engaging social and cultural issues in their game projects.”

DeAnda’s own projects as a graduate student at Illinois Tech helped develop his expertise in the cultural analysis of video games and conscientious design.

“My focus has been on the intersections of games and LGBTQ lived experiences; I use queer theory and games studies to study structures of power in gender and sexuality,” DeAnda says. “Studying with different professors in the Department of Humanities at Illinois Tech helped build a wide skillset and familiarity with different tools and research methods.”