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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

This Exists... Because of A Lady

We’re Getting A Social Issues Video Game Featuring A Black Female Superhero, Courtesy Of The U.S. Government

The National Endowment for the Arts is funding a new interactive game from filmmaker and digital media artist Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D. It’s called HERadventure, a science fiction-based, multimedia platform project intended to target women 18-25 with the aim of bringing awareness to social issues affecting women like depression, discrimination, or pollution. The star of the project is HER, a black female superhero from another planet.

Inside Spelman asks, “What would happen if the societal issues affecting women put other planets at risk?” The answer is HER, the superhero created by Chenzira. Spelman College was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the NEA to pursue HERadventure and one of four nonprofit organizations to receive a grant for a gaming project.

“We knew that people were making and consuming art in new and different ways and thought it important to support that art making as well as that art experience by the audience,” Alyce Myatt, director of media arts for NEA told Inside Spelman. She said the review panel was impressed with Chenzira’s proposal especially because they planned to “address social issues and was international in scope.” Chenzira said it was inspired by her sense that “what we do on Earth impacts the universe − not just pollution destroying the ozone layer, for example, but our thoughts and how we organize gender roles and social systems also have impact.”

Inside Spelman explains the premise:

The backstory of HERadventure begins when HER, a warrior woman and inhabitant of Earth’s sister planet, comes to Earth to investigate why it is causing her native planet to freeze and slowly die. HER discovers that the auras of Earth’s women are diminishing. Consequently, Earth and other parts of the universe are negatively impacted. HER enlists a corps of “superheroes in training” (HERadventure users) to take meaningful action and offer solutions to issues such as negative self-esteem, discrimination, eating disorders, and depression, which are causing women’s auras to suffer. These issues are dealt with through visual metaphors in a 3-D environment. HERadventure users “teleport” through various levels of the gaming experience by using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, with a goal of helping the superhero save her planet and ultimately serve as catalysts for positive change in the virtual and real world.

Lauren Jarvis, Cyncere White, and Carina-Michelle Francis, three seniors at Spelman, helped to research superheroines, African-American superheroines (or lack thereof, they note), and African-American women creators like Jackie Ormes.

Inside Spelman writes that according to Chenzira, “Students involved in the next phase of development will work with women’s studies, sociology and art scholars who will consult on the project. They will also have an opportunity to create alongside artists who use filmmaking, 3D animation and computer programming as part of their respective medium.”

The plan is to release HERadventure on International Women’s Day this year, March 8.

(Inside Spelman via Washington Examiner)

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  • Anonymous

    Sounds very…deliberate.

    It’s exceedingly difficult to deliver Messages in an entertainment medium and maintain the proper balance (ie, more entertainment than Message). We shall see how well they can do that.
    I’ve no desire to play something that’s Important or Good For Me.

  • Chanel Diaz

    Sounds Intriguing Enough. But, Let’s See.

  • Lucas Picador

    Yeah… it’s sad, but fun gameplay is pretty much orthogonal to ideological correctness. I played the hell out of that Tom Clancy squad shooter game where you have to save the whaling vessel from environmental extremists by assassinating them all. Oh, the shame…

  • Reggie Rock

    Why would you ever put “interactive” before video game. Video games are inherently interactive. Issue oriented “games” already have a bad reputation for being preachy machinima with no gameplay elements whatsoever, the need to qualify game with “interactive” just makes it sound that much worse.

  • Anonymous

    Black aliens? You mean that aliens that just happen to look like humans can sometimes just happen to look like black people?
    (Sorry humanoid aliens always looking like white people is one of my pet peeves)

  • Ginger King Brown

    I want to know what HER Interactive thinks of this. (the company that does the Nancy Drew PC games.) on top of I take medication for depression. I really don’t want to play a game that involves that. sorry. I want to play a game to take my mind away from it.

  • Anonymous

    That’s sort of the reason for the NEA though. To make something that’s not commercial, but a creative expression.

  • Anonymous

    You know that part where right wingers say “political correctness gone mad” … well, this kinda feels like that, from the description.

    Social commentary woven into a game can be a good thing, trying to cram a game into a piece of social commentary doesn’t sound like something thats likely to have a wide-reaching effect :-/

    Either way, I look forward to seeing where they go with this …

  • Jason Hunt

    I always think as soon as you divide an issue into a gender concept you miss a great chance to reach not just half the population but all of it. Almost all of the issues they seem to want to address are human issues, why just aim it one group?

  • Anonymous

    Shall I link to the trailer of Brother from Another Planet or do you want to?

  • Inky

    Yeah, I winced a little when I saw this. I love it when video games tackle serious issues, and I think they CAN do this, but making a game as message first, gameplay second is rarely if ever a good idea. You won’t reach gamers by doing so, because they’ll probably assume you don’t “get” video games at all. (And, particularly if this ends up having clunky gameplay, they would probably be right.)

  • Anonymous

    It’s one of my all time favorites.

  • Duke Fleed

    The full body picture of HER is kinda scary, though. The face painted over her lower torso, the open mouth on the face just happening to be in her pubic area …. it’s a bit, how should I say, nightmare fuel.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    I want to see where this goes.

    It has the potential to be preachy, naturally. The moment education is mentioned (rather than left as a pleasant secret to be discovered through gameplay), everyone’s defenses/doubt flare up. The same goes for film and television.

    However…this is shit that needs to be addressed. This is a black woman as the lead in a videogame. This is an interesting THING in general. I’m a lot more eager to give this a chance than the latest shoot-’em-up FPS or IREALLYWISHIWERETOLKIEN fantasy MMORPG.

    I’m especially interested to see the reviews for it. I have a feeling people are going to be more quick to doubt social analysis and deviations from the norm than cookie-cutter formula, and that, right there, will speak for itself.

    If anything, this will get people talking and thinking.

  • Reginald Charleston

    How come everyone but Mommy Professor knows that
    anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White?

    Ramzpaul thinks so….

  • Anonymous

    Why not just make this an FPS where the alien black woman kills white men?

  • Anonymous

    Anti-Whites get upset if there are not enough non-whites on TV or in NASA. That’s why we must have “affirmative action”. But to those same Anti-Whites, White countries turning into brown/3rd world countries (aka White GENOCIDE) is a non-event.
    Anti-Racist is just a code word for Anti-White!

  • Crispin Crisp

    How loving and inclusive. “Black pride!” – Nobody flinches. “White pride!” – Evilnaziracistwhowantstokillsixmillionjews! Anti-Racist is a CODEWORD for Anti-White.

  • George Wells

    Isn’t it pretty obvious that BLACK, BLACK, BLACK is being pushed in our faces all the time. Its time to stop that.

    The WHITE GENOCIDE Mantra is a rebellion against the wholesale nonwhite
    invasion of white lands, a rebellion against the brutal attack on the political
    rights of white people,a rebellion against the theft of the inheritances of
    white people, and a rebellion against the cruel assault on the posterity of
    white people.

    How is this not genocide:White countries flooded by
    non-whites.Whites are told be TOLERANT.Whites are forced to integrate.With
    assimilation we see the extinction of the White race.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

  • lcoye2002

    “this is shit that needs to be addressed”

    Yes, the plight of women causing other planets to freeze is number one on my list of things I want fixed.

    I’m no feminist, but it seems incredibly bizarre to justify the righting of social wrongs on earth in terms of it’s impact on the climate of another planet (rather than just for the sake of women here).

    Further, it’s far more likely that superblackherowoman’s planet is “freezing” because that’s what planets do (including our own, which is slowly cooling all the time). Rather than sending an envoy to fix the “wage gap” on some other planet, maybe they should consider relocating to another, newer planet.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    The whole background with the ‘freezing planets’ and whatnot honestly sounds like an abstract metaphor to me. That, I don’t see a problem with. Fiction does that all the time. And really, when you think about it, ongoing social injustice DOES effect us on a worldwide scale.

    “I’m no feminist, but…”

    Uh, if you believe in equality for women, you’re a feminist. If you don’t, then I’m not sure why you’re on this website.

  • Anonymous

    1. Where in the world did you pull “anti-racist” from, because it’s not in this article.

    2. How the heck did this comment get 15 up votes?

    3. *waits for down votes*

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Eighteen upvotes at this point.

    Looks like a lot of racists like The Mary Sue.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    You should be just as proud of being white as men should be proud of being men, or cis should be proud of being cis, or straight, or rich, or able-bodied, or thin, any other form of societal privilege that is regularly commended every day on the day.

    Yes, be proud of something that already provides countless societal and emotional advantages. It’s not like that is its own reward.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    It’s nice seeing you get the top comment, considering how many sobbing racists are flocking to this article in droves below.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure, it almost seems like some creepers came out of the woodwork because there’s four other posts of a similar vein which look to have been posted at about the same time. Either way it creeps me the fuck out.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah I think some of the skeptics are forgetting that just because the creators mean for it to be educational doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to convey it in a very entertaining way.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Exactly. And at least it’s something new with a purpose, not the same recycled garbage that’s clogging the arteries of the already stagnating video game industry.

  • Leon45Jones

    Will the game also feature and support spanish speaking midget aliens who turn sheets and clean spaceships or will this game be racist against spanish speaking little people?

  • Dustin Johnson

    Those people below don’t get that whites are wise to their crap, and their indoctrination is failing them – as it inevitably would. That’s what happens when you build and preach an underhanded dogma and force it on society. Dishonesty and whining instead of contributing never accomplished anything. Quit crying and get over it; watching you hurl unfounded accusations of racism at everyone who dares to disagree with what you and the TV say does nothing to heal the racial divide.
    For god’s sake, don’t you ever get tired of hearing yourself say “racist?” It’s not working anymore. Find a new angle. You people sound like the McCarthy 50′s: Lots of hot air with nothing to substantiate your slander.

  • Rag Narok

    LOL, this is a joke right? Doin’ it for the lulz?

  • AV

    “bringing awareness to social issues affecting women like depression, discrimination, or pollution.”

    As you all know we men just don’t breath. So it’s perfectly valid to make pollution a gender issue. We never cry or get discriminated either. Especially if we are white.
    Btw a comet will destroy all life on earth. It will be worst for the women.