Project Beanstalk

Socially Responsible Game Company

Photo of Isaiah Johnson
2 2

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

May 20th, 1996

Where are you located:

Oakland, 94612

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

projectbeanstalk.xyz

Date Started

01/17/2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

Many people from underrepresented backgrounds including my team have and will continue to have trouble breaking into the game industry. Be it lack of awareness between them and their family, or difficulty getting hired by companies due to the industry's poor hiring practices.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We are working towards improving the diversity in the video game industry. There is a current lack diversity which brings poor representation of people from diverse backgrounds, and a shortage of people from underrepresented groups who work in the industry. This also leads to discrimination throughout gaming communities.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We will be solving the issue by creating quality content to increase diverse representation in video games inspire diverse individuals to pursue the game industry.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Apologies, this question isn't completely clear to me. There are many possibilities for when someone gets involved. They could be teammates, mentors, volunteers, partners, overall affiliates who can help spread the word, people of color and/ or parents who would like to stay in touch with us. On average, people tend to be passionate about our group and offer services in some sort of way. They usually provide feedback for the planning of our game or our business, and show up to an event every now and then to show their support.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our games our socially responsible. There are many violent video games out there and violent or not, the vast majority of developers within the industry simply want to make the "next popular first person shooter." We are bringing our unique experience as underrepresented peoples to our players. Our hiring practices are all inclusive which is rare in the industry, and allows us to create that much more of an accurate diverse experience for players.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our project has already begun to inspire a variety of people including fellow developers, youth, and our peers. It is an amazing experience telling a developer from a prestigious company what you do, and they look at you strongly, hand you their business card, and offer to help in whichever way they can. It is just as inspiring when talking to a developer who has a lot of advice to offer based on experiences in trying to improve the industry's diversity.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We have many ideas that will take us to all new heights. The first step we need to take in order to succeed as a diverse company is to release our first successful diverse video game. We also need another programmer or two on our team in order to strengthen it. Within our first 2-3 years, we would like to open ourselves to consulting in order to teach other game and tech companies how to be diverse. Then of course, by our 8th year, we will start the planning phase phase of a game education program to provide a nontoxic environment for youth of color to learn professional game development.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We currently have mentors, a team, game and business training and support. What we need are more teammates, specifically team members who are skilled in programming, business development, and Marketing & Social Media Management.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

There is an exciting amount of opportunity when it comes to partnering with other changemakers. While the opportunities vary between each changemakers' work, enterprise, skill sets, and time, there are many creative approaches to working with someone. A good example to start with is my cousin. Once he get's his medical degree and establishes himself as a doctor. He aspires to create an amusement park to promote health and wellness of life. He also would like to have one or more rides at a time in celebration of my company's games, and like I have done with a other entrepreneurs, I will be sharing business building principals such as the business model canvas, and the SWOT strategies. There is also my friend Jean black who is starting a program to teach kids how to tell meaningful stories through medias. Her main focus is film so it will be great to provide support as a diverse company and help incorporate telling these stories through video games into her curriculum.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

We were referred to this opportunity by the Youth Impact Hube Fellowship.

2 comments

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Photo of Carson McBain
Team

The gaming world - especially game creators - is as you said, very much lacking in diversity. I fully support your initiative to make the industry more inclusive and to bring vital perspectives to coding and developing games. You have a lot of great ideas; I think the key part to focus on is your strategy for how you will promote awareness of inclusivity and diversity through the release of your first game. Also, I know the game is still in the development stage, but if you can give some concrete plot points, a storyboard, or a general storyline of the game to illustrate how it tells a story of inclusivity, those details will help to communicate your vision to others while the game mechanics are still in the works. Can't wait to see the final game!

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