Reflection: NYT Panel w/ Roxane Gay

On Friday night, I had the opportunity to attend a New York Times panel hosted by Sunday Review editor Rachel Dry and featuring Roxane Gay (one of my favorite writers), Michelle Goldberg, and Jennine Capó Crucet. The theme of the evening was to chat about politics, advice, and advice on coping with politics. Roxane did a special live version of her Ask Roxane advice column.

The panel was such a blast; seeing four amazing ladies convening on the stage to discuss today’s politics was incredibly invigorating. Towards the end of the evening, Roxane Gay happened to quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story. I watched this talk a couple of years ago but had not thought about it too much until Roxane was on stage talking about the importance of having multiple narratives.

I revisited Chimamanda’s TED talk and what she shared about the importance of stories stuck out to me: “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity….When we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”

For my Master’s project, I’ve been excited to explore digital games as a medium to have players experience and engage with the message I’m trying to share. Listening to Chimamanda and Roxane has reminded me of the importance in the act of sharing narratives and storytelling. I am interested in learning more about storytelling as pedagogy and identifying how the medium of videogames can enhance storytelling. Additionally, I was previously interested in doing a fairly linear game with one story. I’m now thinking about creating a game with multiple narratives. (Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is an excellent example of this, where a continuous narrative is told through the viewpoints of multiple generations.) It could be a game which revolves around a singular incident where the player can experience what led up to the event, the incident itself, and the aftermath through the viewpoints of multiple actors. 

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