- Role: Doom and Quake mapper / modder
- Location: Colorado, USA
Queerly Represent Me had a chat with Alexa, a mapper and modder for Doom and Quake.
QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?
Alexa: I'm a 34 year old lesbian trans woman who makes mods and maps for the old PC games Doom and Quake. It's something I've been doing for about 23 years now. I also write music for other mods occasionally, as well as for my own.
QRM: How long have you been involved in the game industry, and what projects have you worked on? What are you working on currently?
Alexa: I got started by making maps for Doom in 1994 or 1995, so about 23 years. Most of that time I didn't release anything, though more recently I started releasing my mods. Some of my recent ones are Shadows of The Nightmare Realm and Umbra of Fate, both for Doom, and Temple of Azathoth for Quake. All my releases are here if anyone wants to play them.
Currently I'm working on a map for a Doom community project based around near-death experiences. I'm also starting the initial ground work for a hybrid FPS/adventure mod for Heretic that will be based around a coven of witches that protect the village they live in.
QRM: What inspired you to get started in the games industry?
Alexa: It was kind of a hobby at first, but also a burning desire to make my own games. I was utterly obsessed with Doom growing up, and once I found out I could make my own maps I jumped in with both feet.
QRM: In what ways do you feel your experiences as a queer person manifest in the games you work on, and influence the work you do?
Alexa: I don't think they manifest in my work so much as they do in my interaction with the respective communities. I'm very open and honest about my gender and sexuality, which I hope has helped people feel more comfortable around people like me. If they don't know me, I'm just another unknown to fear.
QRM: Do you have a favourite queer character—in games or media more generally? If so, what is it about them that makes them your favourite?
Question asked by @kamienw.
Alexa: Pretty much any game where my own player character can be just like me. 😂 More specifically though, I really liked the Mass Effect series, both for the possibility of Shepard being a lesbian woman, and for Steve Cortez. Both are played straight, with no stereotypes or jokes. Just everyday people who happen to be queer, and that meant a lot to me.
QRM: Have you ever encountered roadblocks in trying to include queer characters in games? What do you think is preventing greater diversity within games?
Question asked by @dustinalex91.
Alexa: I thankfully haven't experienced any road blocks yet. My upcoming Heretic mod will likely have a few queer characters, however. I'm expecting at least a few raised eyebrows with this, as well as questions of, "Is this necessary in such a game?" To which I'd answer, "ABSOLUTELY!"
QRM: Why do you think it is important that queer audiences are able to see themselves represented in the games they play, and in the developers who make the games they see? What can we do to improve the industry for queer audiences and devs?
Alexa: I think that visibility is very important in dispelling myths and fears. Without visibility, we remain as stereotypes for people to fear and poke fun at. It's also important to feel welcome and safe in the games we play, and including more positive depictions of queer characters goes a long way here.
QRM: Have you ever mentored somebody in your role in games, or been mentored? If so, what made these experiences worthwhile for you?
Question asked by @pepelanova.
Alexa: I haven't done much mentoring, and haven't ever been mentored. However, mentoring people is something I would love to do more often. I immensely enjoy teaching people things and love feeling like I helped someone.
QRM: In what ways can non-queer folk increase and support queer diversity present within games, as well as in the industry more broadly? How can we all work to support intersectional approaches to diversity, and why is this important?
Alexa: I think it's hard to get a diversity to work without tolerance, so I think one of the biggest things non-queer folk can do is just to talk to us and listen as non-judgmentally as possible. That really is the best way to spread understanding and build support.
Outside of that, when writing in a queer character, come to us for advice. Don't try to go it alone. We won't bite!
QRM: Is there a message that you would like to share with the queer game players, game studies researchers, and other interested folks who comprise the Queerly Represent Me community?
Alexa: Follow your passions and stay true to yourself. And always, always spread love, not hate.
You can find Alexa's mods here.