Little Rock – Final Artist Statement

by | Dec 5, 2016 | Artwork #4: Experience

Artist Statement

I decided to make a game about Racism. Specifically, I wanted to make a game about being one of the first black people to take classes in an all white school. I based my game on the Little Rock nine and the history surrounding their entry into Central High.

I had two inspirations for this game. Firstly, one of my favorite aspects of Dada art was how it was unafraid to comment on the political situation in Europe before World War II. I specifically remembered Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, by Hannah Höch because of how each section of the piece critiqued a part of the art and political scene. This was part of my inspiration for making a political game.

The second inspiration was that I went to a wealthy, mostly white private high school. There were black kids in it, but they were uncommon. I knew one of the kids, Micheal, pretty well, but I never ended up asking him if it felt strange to be surrounded by white people all the time. My original game idea was to make a game based on him.

But I know nothing about what he went through. I ended up asking other people who were in similar situations while making this game, but after getting about halfway through the game, I realized that I would not be the right person to make this game. I could not capture that experience well. I think someone should make the game I originally wanted to make, but I feel someone else could capture that experience far more accurately.

I decided to make my game more historically based then. Specifically, I based my game on the Little Rock Nine. Everything the people in this game say is based on what was actually said to the members of the little rock nine. And everything that happens to the main character ended up happening to the black kids in Central High.

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I would never thought of making this game had I not been in this class. I think the one misconception this class has cleared up for me is that art games can’t be fun. I used to think that art games were not fun because making a point and creating a fun game seemed almost contradictory to me. But after seeing people in this class make games that did both well, I understand that is not true.

Also, this class has made me a better designer.  I was told that games were experiences before entering this class, but I never quite grasped the significance of that. Now I understand that a good game is about how to communicate the experience you want to clearly. And often times, that experience might be something like racism.