Tim Vaughan

We sat down with Tim, who works at Electric Purple Studios.

QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?

Tim: Tabletop game designer; I lead a small team making role playing games.

QRM: How long have you been involved in the game industry, and what projects have you worked on? What are you working on currently?

Tim: Been working on games since 2011. Made several videogames with other students, worked for Microsoft Games publishing for a year from 2013 to 2014, worked briefly on Sunset Overdrive and Ryse: Son of Rome. Currently working on a tabletop role-playing game called Aeronauts.

QRM: What inspired you to get started in the games industry?

Tim: I love working with people to make fun things! Played tabletop role-playing games in high school, made some arcade-style versus games in college. It was super fun to watch kids play and get way into them!

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?

Tim: As we develop the world our game is set in, we make conscious choices of what themes to work in and what to leave behind. Our game world is fundamentally queer.

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.

Tim: Ian, from the comic run of Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat by Kate Leth. Abused by a former partner who refused to acknowledge his bisexuality, Ian becomes a hero and ultimately proudly claims his identity. His storyline is very sweet and good.

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.

Tim: Because the games where I’ve had creative control are indie, I’ve never hit roadblocks with this. That said, I think assholes like Gamergate who form negative-review brigades to scare management into dropping diversity (even though they represent a violent and aggressive subgroup) are the most prominent force against diversity in games right now.

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?

Tim: I think it’s important to see that not just our stories, but our voices telling them, are welcome in the world. The best way to improve the industry would be to see publishers and devlopers take a strong stand against being manipulated by anonymous fascists on the internet.

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.

Tim: Not really, I’m kind of just feeling it out as I go. Once I’ve had some success I’d feel much more comfortable offering mentorship to 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?

Tim: Positive reviews, retweets, broadly sharing messages of support and excitement for new projects. Overwhelm the negativity with what is positive. Signal boosting is a powerful strategy.

The same goes for helping all creators who exist in the intersections of marginalization. Helping those who are less heard than you to be heard is the first step. Hearing these stories helps to build empathy and understanding for those who have not shared the experiences, which in turn helps us all to make decisions that improve life for everyone, especially those in the margins.

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?

Tim: We’re gonna win.


Find out more about Tim on their Twitter.
Or follow Electric Purple Studios on their Twitter