Behind The Mask Gameplay - Child Playing Videogame

Behind The Mask an LGBTQ Video Game! – by Project Beanstalk

Date grant awarded: March 2019

Our mission is to diversify the video game industry by creating video games that portray the experiences of marginalized groups including but not limited to people of color women, and the LGBTQ community. These games are meant to help people understand each other as well as themselves for more than just the stereotypes and false stories that we are taught about ourselve. Behind The Mask is a video game that represents the LGBTQ community. The story follows Iry, a young wizard who can see in color, that is until her parents force her to wear a cursed mask that forces her to see in black and white. Iry then runs away in search of a place where she can finally belong. We have put in a lot of hard work and research into designing this game that provides positive messages and a meaningful experience that represents the collective experiences of LGBT folks. Being designed to represent normal people makes Behind The Mask is a game that just about anyone can find relateable no matter their identity. This game is being developed by Beanstalk Founders Isaiah Johnson (@johnsonisaiah28), Marisa Diaz (@RojoDraws), Leonardo Leon (@LLDesign3r), and Tiara Gomez (@Crowned_Artist). Please Follow them on Twitter!

The lack of diversity in the video game industry has created a lack of mindfulness within several gaming communities and work spaces. This has led to many recurring atrocities within said communities including hazing, betrayal, low numbers of marginalized developers, and several forms of harassment. What’s worse is that this negatively affects the developments of games that are then sent out into the world with negative messages to spread that affects video game consumers and the people around them. By creating games that are designed with meaningful messages to empower underrepresented groups, we are showing the game industry that it would be much more positive, prosperous, and have stronger communities if it were more inclusive with more marginalized developers, well written characters from underrepresented backgrounds, and products that tell powerful stories of different cultures.

The initial seed grant was very empowering and foundational. Being our first grant, we were able to prioritize our needs and test the best uses for the funds. We were able to use the funds to help us complete the demo of our game Behind The Mask and get us on track to the steps necessary to plan and design the vision of it’s fully finished product and scope.

This larger award will be incredibly empowering. Aside from officially being able to incorporate into an LLC, we will be able to cover all of the expenses required to complete our game resulting in a product that will support us at least until 12 months after the release of our product. These costs include team costs, publishing, a hard drive, marketing and more. We will also be able to continue working with our budget based on the scope of our project.

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