Alaska Native Culture as a Game—But Not a Joke


If you liked reading about narrative video games about the trans experience, you’re sure to enjoy this Polygon piece on “the first indigenous-owned games company in the United States.”

Like a heist movie, the essay introduces the players (an Alaska Native educator and two games developers), sets up the stakes (the stereotypes of Native Americans that saturate the media), and then delivers the goods: the game they created together, about a young girl surviving in the Arctic.

Says one of the developers:

On the one hand, there were ancient legends of these mythical creatures and fantastic situations. On the other hand, there were practical stories about how to survive and how to live life in that region. We immediately recognized that there was this wellspring of cool stuff to draw from to make a game.”

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →