Pratt Institute School of Design

Paradise Abyss
Roma Menon
The video game space can be broken down into ‘normative’ creators and ‘divergent’ gamers: normative referring to white and Asian bodies that dominate the game industry while divergent refers to black and brown bodies that consume the media. This thesis aims to build a bridge between the normative and divergent by investigating the medium under the Black Cyberfeminist critique and reexamines the challenges that gamers of colour and women of colour gamers continue to experience today. This thesis also uses an interpersonal method as a praxis in order to create a gaming experience where the normative and the divergent collaborate in participatory practice.
Initial Sketches & Development

Paradise Abyss: Game Design

Paradise Abyss: Game Trailer
Paradise Abyss: Game
As a normative and divergent designer, I wanted to collaborate with divergent and normative alike to create a game which challenges the heteronormative game experience. Working with a black gamer, we created a platform game where the player takes control of our main girl, Doki, to survive the monsters that stand in her way. The character design and the physical manifestation of the obstacles she experiences daily were presented to her and the feedback/changes were implemented thus creating a collaborative practice that ensures her accurate visibility as a divergent gamer. In the game, there are three planes: Paradise Skies, Material Ground, and Abyssal Caves. On Paradise Skies, Doki can receive magical mana and health to shoot the monsters by either collecting stars or allies. If she meets an ally she receives a temporary power-up for 10 seconds where the ally accompanies her to defeat the monsters. On Material Ground, she has to survive by defeating monsters like the ghostly K3 or Catler, personifications of racism and catcallers. In the Abyssal Caves, she has to defeat the Trolls and Stinger who charge after her. The goal of the game is to survive as long as possible with the help of her safe space and allies. Without allies or safe spaces, we are unable to deal with or defeat the monsters that gatekeep video games.