Q & A with Merritt Kopas
What do you mean when you talk about “utopia” in relation to game developing?
For me one of the really cool things that games can do is ask us to imagine some other way of being. Usually, the scenarios that games ask us to imagine are not that revolutionary. They’re about, like, what if there were aliens and we had to shoot them? Or what if there was magic and people used it to fight each other?
But I think games can ask us to imagine, what if we lived in radically different ways that were more sustainable or ethical? Or what if we related to each other in healthier more ethical ways?
So games that deal with societies, or even just individual relationships, can be really cool because they can give us new ideas for how we structure our lives.
How does the concept of ‘care’ intersect with feminist game development?
Care to me is an undervalued form of labour. Not just in games, but in society. But especially in games, we’re not often asked to care for other characters in games. Sometimes we’re asked to take care of pets or animals, but rarely other people. We mostly use other people in games, like resources, or get information out of them. Sometimes we have less instrumental relationships, but we usually don’t have to comfort people or care for them. I think we’re sort of not dealing with this whole facet of human relationships and interactions. And I think there’s really compelling work than can be done there. That’s sort of some of the stuff that I’ve been trying to do.