Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design

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Will Wright. The Sims. 2000 20

Video game software. Gift of Electronic Arts. © 2024 Electronic Arts

Gamer, Amira Virgil: Hi, my name is Amira Virgil. I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I'm a content creator.

I didn’t really get into The Sims until like middle school. But my gaming hobby started at around four years old. The Sims is what I'd like to describe as a digital dollhouse. You're creating these little people. You’re telling their stories and you control the trajectory in which the stories go.

Narrator: One thing Amira Virgil noticed while playing The Sims was how difficult it was to create a character that looked like her. The game didn’t have enough options to create Sims with dark brown skin tones. So she decided to fix this problem herself.

Amira Virgil: The Melanin Pack is a skin tone pack that I created to bring a broader range of brown skin tones with vibrance because a lot of the darker skin tones were really gray and ghastly. And I was like, not really seeing anybody make dark-skinned Sims, even Black creators.

My wisdom tidbits is a quote that my mom loves to hit me with, which is “be the change that you want to see.” Me, having these discussions was what led to the Sims team eventually releasing an update with a hundred plus skin tones.

If you want to, go be a game developer. You don’t have to see somebody that looks like you doing these things either. Just go do it.

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