The esports industry developing in Jamaica - but not necessarily at the fast rate most of its well-wisher would want.  Its steady but slow progress is often blamed on relics that doubt the industry’s viability. As a result, gamers are encouraged to lead the way, but they too often face a seemingly unrelenting fight for validation.

 Undeniably, the Covid-19 pandemic allowed big corporations to appreciate the possibilities and potential of eSports.

In October, Jamaica’s governing body for esports, Jamaica Esports Initiative (JEI) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and inked deals with several other key stakeholders.

More recently, the JEI was among 12 esports federations from the Caribbean and Latin America to form the Caribbean Esports Federations Alliance (CEFA) - which is supported by investors like Tencent.

Despite all the advancement at the highest level, partial efforts from gamers hinder advancement in Jamaica’s esports industry.

Milton Pellington, gamer and owner of the Area 51 Digital Lounge (home to eSports Jamaica) says “there's some responsibility they [gamers] have to take for the lack of enthusiasm from corporate."

 Potential corporate sponsors and investors find esports undeserving of attention because “they [gamers] don't take themselves seriously.

The gaming community doesn't band together as strongly as they should,” Pellington said.

Gamers are, after all, significant contributors to the growth of the industry. Their outlook on gaming may shape a sponsor’s perspective of the community. It’s in a gamer’s best interest to value esports as a business since partnerships will make esports tournaments sustainable.

 Esports is heavily dependent on tournaments. They reveal the best players to represent Jamaica whether regionally or on the world stage. Tournaments offer experiences and cash prizes that are made possible through funding from sponsors. With sponsors funding tournaments, gaming feels closer to a 'paying job'.

Some argue that esports will not grow unless there is a hefty amount in cash prizes. Then, players will dedicate more time and effort to the craft rather than going about it casually.

 But gamers must market themselves as professionals nevertheless.

Image and reputation are crucial factors for gamers trying to advance their careers. Tending to these factors is of utmost importance since there is a preconceived notion associated with gamers. Taking the initiative to market themselves as professionals will improve their personal brand - giving gamers more opportunities to effectively communicate their values, skills, experiences, and vision to potential sponsors.

When gamers promote themselves professionally, it encourages networking and collective effort. Gamers who are widely-recognised as professionals will want to associate themselves with each other. In doing so, a mutually beneficial relationship can develop. A gamer who prides him or her image and exhibits noble traits establishes a loyal fanbase. With a trusting audience, gamers are able to recommend other gamers without their audience second-guessing them while the other gamer gets positive exposure from that.

Currently, the JEI does not train gamers, however, president Gregory Moore says they are creating “the necessary relationships for clubs to be formed for training it's players” and while their website advertises an upcoming esports and marketing workshop to "arm yourself with the knowledge of this industry in order to ensure your product is accepted by the digital age," it doesn’t say the workshop is mandatory for all gamers that are recruited - even more reasons for gamers to act responsibly and take the initiative to market themselves professionally.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Since its reopening, the Area 51 Digital Lounge has been hosting a weekly competition called 'Climb Di Rankings: Soccer Satdezz' where players put their skills to the test with the FIFA 2020 video game series.

The survivors of the first round will earn the title of 'ultimate hombres'. After this, they move on to other rounds until there's a winner.

As the owner of Area 51, Milton Pellington, explains the tournament is different from other FIFA competitions.

“It's ultra-hard to win. The victor would have to prove himself to be the best of the best in what we have designed to be the most gruelling version of a FIFA competition any player can engage in,” Pellington explained.

Though future competitions will explore other genres of games, FIFA was chosen to spearhead the competition because of its mass appeal.

 "The fervor and passion for the sport in real life is carried over into the digital version perfectly," Pellington said.

Still, there was a low turnout last Saturday.

Pellington posited, "because of Covid-19, we have to intentionally limit our participants."

While players still had fun, a greater turnout increases the chances of developing and exposing tons of excellent players.

"The reason we've dreamed up this FIFA furnace is to test gamers and push them to go beyond the limits of ordinary gaming, so as to be competitive on the world stage. Esports is a big opportunity for recognition and revenues but it's currently one that will not be grabbed with both hands if our players are mediocre. Climb di Rankings aims to be the 'Ninja Warrior' for FIFA so that when our guys take to the world stage they do exceptionally well," said Pellington.

'Climb Di Rankings: Soccer Satdezz' happens every Saturday starting October 31st.

 

Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed, among 12 Caribbean and Latin American esports federations, to form the Caribbean Esports Federations Alliance (CEFA).

The countries represented in the agreement are Jamaica (Headquarters), The Bahamas, St. Lucia, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Suriname, Venezuela and Haiti.

According to General Secretary of CEFA, Gregory Moore, combining regional efforts will maximize the support needed to accelerate the growth of esports.

"As a combined region, stakeholders see the value of negotiating with one representative and it cuts down the time to finalize agreements," General Secretary of CEFA, Gregory Moore said.

 CEFA is supported by the Global Esports Federation and Tencent.

Tencent Holdings is a Chinese company that invests heavily in improving the esports market. They recently invested in VSPN, a China-based esports provider. VSPN raised close to $100 million with the help of Tencent.

One of the first duties of CEFA is to host a regional referee and tournament organizer's certification workshop. Having qualified, organizers in each region will increase ethics within the industry.

"Esports has suffered greatly due to the lack of regulation. Organizers are generally not held accountable when they do not deliver on experience and prizes,” Moore explained.

CEFA also expects to host a 'CEFA 2020 championship'. The 2020 championship is an event that each member nation will have the opportunity to host.

 "It's the first step in the direction of bringing all our resources into one event. It will eventually become the highlight of the region," Moore said.

However, due to COVID-19, the first championships will be held virtually.

Moore wants other countries to be part of the MOU as soon as official esports entities have been formed.

But he recognises that official esports entities aren't formed in some countries because "esports in many countries are generally run by the gamers, who are more focused on playing than the administrative work that is required."

Moore admitted, "Jamaica suffered from this for many years until we decided to change our approach and focus on building a proper business, we were able to see results in a matter of months."

 He advised countries without a formal esports entity "to gather all the active players and entities within their country and form a federation with a proper leadership structure."

The bodies will also need to get recognised by their Ministry of Sports or their Olympic body."

This will ensure a level of validation and legitimacy that stakeholders want to see.

 

 

 The governing body of esports in Jamaica, Jamaica Esports Initiative (JEI), is now an official member of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

On September 23, the JEI received unanimous votes for approval. Roughly a month later, they got a letter from the JOA solidifying the deal.

"This is certainly not a first in the world, but we believe it's a first within the Caribbean. Some territories have an acknowledgment from their Olympic bodies, but full acceptance is not prevalent," President of the JEI, Gregory Moore said.

 "The JEI is elated to be accepted by the JOA as it further solidifies and validates the notion of Esports becoming an Olympic sport."

 National esports team, Dr. Birdz, anticipates further athlete development from this historic deal.

"The National Esports Team will now have access to the same resources that other athletes within the Olympic movement have. It will also allow us to seek sponsorship from corporate supporters of the Olympic body," Moore said.

 As an official member of the JOA, the JEI looks forward to new opportunities and resources that will benefit the preparation of the national FIFA esports team that will be managed by the JFF, which is also under the JOA.

 The JEI has several upcoming FIFA events in preparation for the qualification of the national FIFA Esports team in 2021.

"Any progress made by the JEI helps with events we stage. So, we expect the full support of all entities within the Olympic Movement. Especially partners who assist with staging Olympic qualifiers," Moore said.

 

 

 The Jamaica eSports Initiative (JEI) recently signed partnership deals with Business 2 Sports, Reggae Football and Flow Sports Digital as well as a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in an ambitious bid to enhance the scope of the local gaming industry.

“For many years, we have known that Jamaica has very talented gamers and these partnerships will continue to pave the way for us to be recognised on the world stage,” JEI president Gregory Moore said.

The absence of the football season, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen a rise in online activity, with traditional sports continuing to face restrictions.  As such, the JFF has found a unique opportunity for itself and stakeholders to seize a piece of the growing eSports industry.

 “The JEI were the perfect partners for the JFF in creating the first Jamaican/JFF Esports team. The Federation is quite excited about this new venture and we look forward to the possibilities that Esports will bring for us in the future,” Onaje Bell, Director of Marketing, at the JFF said.

The promising industry worth an estimated $USD1B is expected to double by 2023.  The JEI has several upcoming FIFA events in preparation for the qualification of the national FIFA Esports team in 2021.  The Global Series will lead to the eWorld Cup.

 

Anthony Joshua has made the move from boxing to football, at least in the virtual world, after it was confirmed he will appear in FIFA 21.

Joshua will be a playable character in the video game's "Volta" mode – in which players are able to test their skills in a small-sided game with five-a-side rules.

Olympic gold medallist and world heavyweight champion Joshua is being introduced as a "Groundbreaker", alongside Kaka, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, Atletico Madrid youngster Joao Felix and FIFA 21 cover star Kylian Mbappe.

Diplo, a three-time Grammy Award-winning DJ and producer, also features.

Players will be able to pit their wits against the Groundbreakers, while also being able to recruit them into their squads.

I love it when everybody wins. But, I really love seeing women win more.

Elaine Thompson-Herah rediscovered her best form, after a tough three years battling injury, and captured our attention with a stunning performance last week, after winning the women's 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Rome.

After the race, the double Olympic champion explained that the changes to the track season because of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed plenty of challenges. Nevertheless, she motivated herself and dug deep to find her best.  And I respect that.  We should all respect that.

Female competitive gamers would love some of that kind of respect, but for them, it is a hard to find commodity. Their work environment is full of challenges, yet they often overcome numerous obstacles to achieve their goals regardless.

Chiefly, male gamers often devalue their female counterparts. Competitive gamer Sashaun Bailey knows all about that.

While playing Call of Duty mobile, male gamers assume Sashaun plays it for attention or she isn’t the one actually playing. Either way, they try to make her feel less than a ‘real gamer’.  It’s a common practice by male gamers, especially if women are playing on a smartphone. 

Although the gaming world can be is a hotspot for harassment, for everybody, women often feel it more. Studies show that a female’s voice in the ‘Halo 3’ game is three times more likely to get negative comments than a male voice, regardless of performance. Sashaun can attest to that because once male players hear her voice, they instantly start firing nasty and rude comments in her direction.

“I’ve gotten some pretty bad comments. I’ve gotten disgusting stuff, the racist stuff. I’ve been called the ‘N’ word... the ‘go in the kitchen and make me a sandwich comments'," she explained.

In the gaming community, the abuse and derogatory comments directed at female players is called ‘flaming’.  But Sashaun has her way of dealing with it.

“A lot of these guys try to distract me with their comments and their rude conversations, but I just stay focused and kill them. If I can’t, I mute the whole thing, so I won’t hear anybody.” 

Sashaun isn’t alone in adopting that strategy. In most cases, female players conceal their identity to avoid harassment. According to Audrey L. Brehm(2013) research paper, Navigating the feminine in massively multiplayer online games: gender in World of Warcraft, many participants in ‘World of Warcraft’ pretend they have a malfunctioning mic to avoid participating in voice chat during a game.

At the same time, when she’s not masking femininity, she’s embracing it.

Sashaun admits to being a bit of a tomboy but she knows competitive gaming is a male-dominated sport and so, the majority of her views from live streams are from men.

Knowing that fact often drives an effort to make their videos as appealing as possible for female gamers. Especially because viewers can donate money if they like what they see.

“A lot of girls use their femininity as an advantage in different ways. For me, I like to keep things simple by exercising/staying in shape because naturally, people want to see a good-looking girl play games - especially if she’s really good.”

 Her video content ranges from playing games while lounging to dancing in tights. One viewer from Sashaun’s live stream opined, “it's less about the game and more about seeing the girls.”

Winning for many female gamers looks like just like this: in the end, it comes down to redeeming feminine qualities that face ridiculously unfair scrutiny on a daily basis.

However, there are growing concerns that female gamers oversexualising their content, and that it can influence how the gaming community sees women in general.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

 

Oftentimes, conversations about diversity in sports stop at race. There’s so much more to explore.

Don't get me wrong, discussions around race and diversity are important because there is more work to be done.

Just last Wednesday, TVJ's Prime Time sports featured international equestrian Lydia Heywood. Heywood, who is the daughter of a British mother and Jamaican father, does not look like most of her fellow competitors. Hence, she is pushing for more diversity in the sport.

Diversity in sports, however, isn’t only about race. Diversity covers a range of things including sexual orientation (yes, track star Caster Semenya is a symbol of diversity in sports) and age. Diversity would also mean accepting different sports. A diverse range of sports.

So, Heywood is onto something when she encourages prospective athletes and fans to accept non-traditional sports. In this case, equestrian.

Contributors to the gaming industry also want diversity. Before Jabari Brown decided to make his own game, he modified and animated characters. A video game modifier is a person who makes minor changes to another artist’s work. Jabari modified and animated characters because he wanted to see people who look like him. His modified black characters are called ‘cosplayers’. They have super speed, super strength; typical superpower stuff.

 Diversity is a superpower within itself. It gives a sense of worth and comfort through representation. When people identify with something, they’ll keep coming back. Jabari’s characters are influenced by Jamaican culture. His characters speak patois and the word ‘dark’ in his moniker ‘Japter Dark’ represents his dark brown complexion.

Jabari recently decided to make his own game but admits it will take many years to complete.

His mobile game will be a side scroller endless runner. A game where the player is always running. His other game will be more complex. The concept is an HD fighting game like Marvel vs Capcom. This means, it will be labour intensive and will definitely need funding.

 I get it, sprinting events spark joy and delight in Jamaicans. Our athletes give their all, excel, and have been doing so for many years. Just the same, I believe nontraditional sports can spark pride in us because anything Jamaica is a part of what makes us very proud. However, it will take truly accepting diversity for what is it for the island to be genuinely known for equestrian sports, esports, etc.

When diversity is grasped, non-traditional sports and industries can flourish. Prospective athletes and gamers will  see non-traditional sports as a plausible career choice.

Although it is often considered a career choice well off the beaten path, as far as regular 9 to 5s go anyway, eSports innovator, Sheraine Peart, urges young gamers and designers to not think limits in relation to what can be achieved in a rapidly growing industry.

It’s no secret that embarking on the journey towards unconventional careers is often met with the usual warnings; always have a plan B or just to avoid it entirely.  Peart, however, believes that for gaming the winds of change have begun to blow in regards to such notions, in no small part due to the work of organisations altering that perception.  The work of places like the Jamaica Animation Nation Network (JANN), for example, has proven invaluable in improving the skill sets of animators in Jamaica.

“I hope Jamaicans won’t think of animation and game design as careers that only exist overseas,” Peart, the creator of titles like ‘Zsymel’ and co-creator of ‘Son (of a) net’ and  ‘Twisted Therapy,’ said.

“I’m proud of the initiatives supporting eSports in Jamaica. It’s hard work carving out space, getting the funds, and functioning in an industry that’s not as mainstream in Jamaica as say medicine. I’m very impressed with what has been accomplished but they [eSports organisations] need more funding,” she added.

 Funding aside, the digital artist, who specializes in animation, illustration, writing, and coding, can face a number of struggles.  One of the most significant obstacles Peart points out is a crisis of confidence.

“Working in a creative field is rough. There's a mental aspect to it that no one really talks about. It's as much about your confidence and belief in yourself as it is about your skills. I've met many artists who would be so much further than I am if they had the confidence to put themselves out there,” Peart explained.

At one point, she admits it was difficult even for her to know what to do next.  Peart was accepted into the Digital Stone Project in Italy and became the first Jamaican artist to take part. It resulted in her first international exhibition as a traditional artist.

After returning to New York, from Italy, she feared the worst.  She began to think it was impossible to top her previous achievement, to accomplish more amazing and groundbreaking feats.  The self-doubt crept in when she began comparing herself to others who were veterans.  Peart, however, sought solace in her art.

She designed Pari, a character from her virtual reality game ‘Zsymel’.  The character serves as a visual representation of how she felt during that crisis of self-doubt.  Pari is a war refugee trying to find ‘home’. She is a double leg amputee and a kickboxer whose friend Hok'to designs her prosthetics. She’s also the least developed character in the game.

 The key thing, however, is that the character doesn’t let her limitations stop her from accomplishing her dreams.

“I’m proud of the character’s growth and I want to share that with others,” Peart explained.

Pari and the eSports community have something in common, extreme limitations. The eSports community lacks funding and support, while Pari has no legs. Naturally, both situations could result in feelings of inadequacy. However, the eSports community would do well aiming to continue to match the example of Pari’s drive and determination regardless of the circumstances.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

Jamaica’s gaming industry has the potential to impact the economy in a positive way but it is, strangely, one of the industries that have the challenge of COVID-19 to cope with.

Although the gaming industry does not require face-to-face interaction and is ahead of the curve in terms of dealing with the new norms that come with COVID-19, tournaments, where there are those interactions, have taken a hit.

Dexton Graham, founder and CEO of eSports Jamaica, organizes tournaments for his company.

It has always been a dream of his to emulate the ones he witnessed watching the NALCS (North America League of Legends Championship Series). He recalled in a personal blog post, “I was totally blown away by the skills on display but more so at the whole set-up, seeing a whole arena filled with people cheering on players, hearing commentators (shoutcasters) calling out plays, talking about what the players can do to win, calling out spells and skills filled my heart with excitement.”

 

He continued, “in that moment I decided I wanted to see this happen in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean and ultimately take a team from this region to the world championship.”

Like most ideas, for them to become a reality, funding and other resources are paramount. According to Graham, his organisation “normally gets sponsorship for tournaments that are held at venues.” But with the absence of tournaments because of his eagerness to follow COVID-19 protocols and avoid influencing crowds, there are no reasons to reach out to sponsors right now.

Still, Graham who is also a gamer and goes by the moniker ‘theav3ng3r’, realises that  “the current economic state would adversely affect our sponsors' ability to sponsor any event.” Some of the organisation’s sponsors are Pizza Hut, Jamaica Esports Initiative and Island Sports Network (recently changed to Flow Sports App).

Hopeton Cherrington, a tournament organizer for the Jamaica eSports Initiative (JEI), says COVID-19 forced the organisation to cancel all tournament-like activities and continue to utilise online platforms. Cherrington explained, “we are in the planning stages for events for next year since COVID-19 forced us to cancel all activities for the remainder of the year. We hope all will be well by then, God’s willing.”

The pandemic has encouraged JEI to use Discord more than ever. Discord is described as “reliable for staying close.” The app serves as a place for friends, gamers and other communities to talk and hang out often.

According to JEI’s website, they have an event on Discord scheduled for today, August 24th at 6:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m.

Esports Jamaica is also coping online where they host online eSports events.

Though the organisation has “minimal expenses running the business at the moment” and is able to manage its operations easily, Graham says prize pools for online events are kept “at a manageable level like from US$20 to US$200.”

It’s latest event called ‘Nexus Cup’ was held on May 12. Teams competed in a game called League of Legends for a share of a US$350 prize pool. This was sponsored by the Jamaica Esports Initiative.

The organisation also held tryouts/qualifiers to select players to represent Jamaica in a regional online tournament with other members of the Global Esports Federation on July 30.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Just days after arriving, NBA stars shared their issues with being locked down in the Disney 'bubble' in Orlando, Florida.

Glen Henry, a Jamaican video game developer, says playing video games is a good way to escape trying times.

Though it’s a common belief that video games are inherently bad for mental health, studies reveal their benefits.

As a child, the developer remembers how playing video games like Phantom 2040 on the Super Nintendo with his bigger brother made him feel invincible, free and happy.

According to Glen, 29, video games have the ability to keep many safe and sane especially in these trying times.

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a new normal and many of us are having a hard time adjusting.

Visiting fantasy worlds in moderation can provide relief from an unpleasant reality.

“I think a healthy amount of escapism is beneficial— sometimes life is way too loud and stressful,” says Glen.

“I think video games offer an opportunity for us to disconnect for a bit. To learn a simpler set of rules and allow us to exercise a bit of mastery and control that we wouldn't normally have.”

Glen develops video games with the intention of helping others who may be going through something in life.

Steam is a platform for developing, playing and commenting on games. Glen has a profile on the platform with three games with players comments suggesting his developments have helped them feel better and less alone.

“I've received reviews on Grimm & Tonic (his most recent video game). Specifically, regarding the game’s bleak outlook on capitalism.”

“I initially conceived that game (Grimm & Tonic) when I was going through a particularly difficult time in my professional life. I was frequently burnt out and needed a creative outlet for my frustrations.”

Glen also plays video games to rest from developing them. There are many video games that are capable of easing the mind apart from his own.

Currently Glen enjoys ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizon’ because it reinforces purpose and control in a time when it’s easy to feel lost and confused.

“I've been having fun playing Animal Crossing: New Horizon. It allows me to navigate achievable goals at my own pace.”

Playing and creating video games is an outlet for Glen and for so many others. Maybe we should consider ridding the stigma about video games and give it a try. It may just help reduce stress and anxiety levels, especially in times like these.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck recently dismissed thorny issues surrounding Jamaica’s #metoo awakening with a chuckle.  For the country’s eSports community, like many caught in the awkward but important moment of reckoning, the issue is no laughing matter and never as straight forward.

Sexual harassment is very much a big issue among professional gamers. 

Recently, victims of the crime in the gaming community recounted their #metoo tragedies on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Claims ranged from ‘LovinDaTacos’ holding a girl hostage until she agreed to kiss him to gaming freelancer, Ginny Woo, being accused of abusive behaviour and grooming (for which she later apologized for on Twitter).

Some, like Omeed Dariani faced repercussions. He resigned as the CEO of the Online Performers Group (a top industry talent agency) after claims came out about him implying that “sleeping around was the way to get ahead.”

Companies have since disassociated themselves with many gamers. Twitch, a live streaming service, reminded the game community that it is also taking claims seriously.

Sashaun Bailey, a competitive gamer in Jamaica, believes the major issue stems from the fact that society is set up for people in power to take advantage of those who aren’t but there are always two sides to every story.

“The #metoo movement is a double-edged sword with a lot of complications. There is no doubt that terrible acts of sexual assault on many levels are committed in various industries throughout the world. The way society is structured- it just allows people in power to take advantage of those who have none,” she said.

But on the flip side: “This is a huge issue and more occurs than you think, however, there are those who use this movement to take advantage of innocent situations, simply for attention, pity and sympathy and more.”

Sasahun strongly believes that some of the girls in cases where the #metoo movement has been abused should also be held accountable when it comes to light that there isn’t truth to their claims.  She has, in an indirect way, claims to have been the victim of false accusations and innuendo.

While he has never been accused, Sashaun’s husband, Tri-Force, has had to deal with the suggestion that he sexually harasses girls from the couple’s eSports team. Empire Arcadia has a female division called ‘Valkyries of Arcadia’. 

According to Sashaun, there have been rumours about her husband’s activities with the young women in the group simply because it is assumed that a man cannot be around as many women as the group employs without there being inappropriate behaviour.

“People wonder how he is around so many girls and nothing goes on … they prop up stories and say he has sex with his own girls ...”

“This is why I stepped forward to deal with the girls directly…so people can stop trying to create a #metoo situation on him. The more he is limited in dealing with the girls directly, the better off he is.”

She pointed to another incident where she believes the #metoo movement is used irresponsibility. 

Sashaun referred to a situation where she had a player who she believed had a consensual intimate affair with a woman who later took to Twitter, calling Sashaun’s player a 'predator.'

“That's not a #metoo matter, that's a lovers spat which she is using the #metoo movement to victimize herself for public opinion and sympathy. This is dangerous and I know a lot of girls that do this to guys. It's really an ugly cycle on both sides.”

She also believes there is too much silence on the issue, in general.

“There is one way to cut down a lot of these other incidents and that’s for us ladies to come forward with a report,” she said

Like Sashaun, I believe victims and abusers alike have a responsibility in cauterizing the existence of sexual harassment in the workplace but I hasten to say, it is important that in speaking about the victim’s responsibility to speak up, we do not go into the realm of victim-blaming.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

 

Usain Bolt is among a number of big-name stars who will take part in the first-ever FIFA 20 eSoccer Aid event today in the name of charity.

The developers of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), Wizards of the Coast, realize their content has a tendency towards stereotypes, making it possibly racially insensitive and the characters lack diversity.

The team of developers behind the game is working to change that but many fans of the largest tabletop roleplaying game are furious, believing that because the game is fantasy, with fictitious ethnicities, there should be no issue.

On June 17, the D&D team published an article titled, ‘Diversity And Dungeons & Dragons’.

It discussed their design goals and their failure to meet them over the years.

“Throughout the 50-year history of D&D, some of the people in the game (orcs and drow) have been characterized as monstrous and evil...that’s just not right, and it’s not something we believe in.” According to D&D, what they believe in is depicting “humanity in all its beautiful diversity.”

To help steer them in the right direction, the team is actively listening to gamers.

“We created 5th edition in conversation with the D&D community. It's a conversation that continues to this day. That's at the heart of our work—listening to the community, learning what brings you joy...”

However, some members of the gaming community are sceptical of the changes.

Fans on twitter said: “It is fantasy, of course, it is stereotyped. This is exactly the way it should be...”

“Fictitious species are racist?”

“When the new orcs come out I'm gonna make them straight up racist caricatures of black people. it's going to be deliciously racist out of spite.”

A local player, Mikhail Green, says the game is a classic but he thinks this is tokenism at its best. “Business is business. When Twitter doesn't buy their games they'll come running back (reverting the game to what it was).”

I can’t say if this is a marketing ploy or not but it is a depiction of how seriously representation is taken in gaming— it’s not. 

Dungeons and Dragons contain both stereotypical and aggressive content. Players spend a lot of time playing it. Seeing stereotypical images over and over desensitize players to that type of content. It isn’t alarming either because it isn’t ‘real life’.

Therefore gamers are apprehensive about D&D’s attempts to implement diversity, believing that the change may harm the game.

But what must be understood is that whether or not people are talking about orcs or blacks, or the LGBTQ Community, the practice of buying into stereotypes could very well have deleterious effects.

It is the most subtle forms of prejudice that turn into more serious acts and/or beliefs like racism.

Darren Sammy, a former West Indies captain, brought to light that very fact recently when he learnt that a nickname his teammates in the Indian Premier League called him meant Blackie. He had thought it meant strong.

The realization opened an entire conversation about racism in India. Many in India had become so desensitized about issues of race that they thought Sammy’s reaction was over the top.

It is in this way, that seemingly harmless interactions can become very harmful. But hey, maybe it’s just a game. Maybe the D&D fans are right and adding diversity to a game doesn’t mean that much.

But what if it does?

Lewis Hamilton, for instance, just slammed former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone for saying there wasn’t a race issue in the sport even though there was a clear lack of diversity.

So there is something to be said about subtlety and subliminal messages about prejudice. And there should always be diversity because it shows up the flaws in prejudice, even in the instance where we are talking about fictitious people.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Esports organisations realize the reluctance of big corporations to help the gaming community. There are promising Jamaican gamers who struggle with recognition. Local companies have platforms to help.

Three days ago, Jamaica eSports Initiative posted a message on their Instagram stories. Their CEO, Gregory Moore, vented briefly about how blind local corporations are to the opportunities eSports can bring. By the end of the rant, he suggested a call to action: “young minds will rise up to create the industry for themselves and not rely on relics for validation.”

On June 9 The Gleaner published an article about Akeem and Tyreik Pennicooke. The brothers wanted funding to complete their Jamaican video game. The video game concept is relatable and interesting: “Arlinton, a 13-year-old boy who lost his parents in a car accident and now lives with his grandmother, Cherry. He performs jobs around his Portland community to help support his household and keep the environment clean while staying out of the clutches of George Campbell, an 18-year old gangster trying to lure youth into a life of crime.” Good potential for great gameplay. But there’s a lot where that came from. The gaming community needs more help.

Now I’m going to make a leap here. See if you can follow me.

Like clockwork, The ‘Dancin’ Dynamites’ commercials on TVJ repeat like crazy. They’re promoting reruns of the show. Dancin’ Dynamites is a Jamaican dance competition. It started in 2006 “to widen Jamaica’s appreciation of different cultures and different dances.”

Now here’s the kicker.

There are some gamers who fit right into a show like Dancin’ Dynamites, believe it or not.

Some gamers live-stream themselves playing. Some of these games are dance games like ‘Just Dance’.

Hasari Mustafaa does it regularly. She is part of a gaming team called ‘Valkyries of Arcadia’ and a dance group called ‘JaK'D - Jamaica Kosplay Dancers’.

If Dancin’ Dynamite had a segment for gamers, I wonder where the support for gamers and the acceptance for eSports could be today.

After all, the show attracts an audience of over one million viewers, 12 dance groups islandwide are selected to participate and the dancers get to present their routines on television weekly- an excellent recipe for exposure and putting our talents first.

The point with this quirky idea? There has to be a way, many ways, in fact, for eSports and by extension, game developers to get the support they need.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

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