When Latinx in Gaming President and co-founder Cristina Amaya, co-founder Elaine Gómez and more took part in a panel at GDC in 2018, they had no idea what would come from it.
“We were expecting a couple people to attend,” Amaya said.
Instead, a packed room led to an engaging discussion — and the eventual formation of Latinx in Gaming.
“We’re a nonprofit that is devoted to helping Latinx folks find jobs in the gaming industry,” Amaya said. “We’re making sure we’re connecting people with the right companies, the right resources, with mentors and helping them as much as we can to be a part of the industry.”
At its core, Latinx in Gaming aims to break down barriers in the gaming industry and help the next generation of Latinx video game creators find their footing — something that was a difficult journey for many of the founders.
“I had relationships in the gaming industry, but not once did I think I should be in the gaming industry because it didn’t seem like an obtainable path for me. My parents expected me to be a doctor or marry a doctor,” Amaya said.
It wasn’t until Amaya attended a video game convention that it hit her — the games industry was where she belonged.
Latinx in Gaming hopes to eliminate those hurdles for future generations.
“We saw we didn’t have a space and we didn’t want the next generation to feel those things,” Gómez said. “If we can help them avoid it or help them jump a hurdle that we had to carry ourselves, the better it is for all of us. We’re running the same race toward the same goals.”
One of the biggest points Latinx in Gaming tries to impart to people is game development encompasses everything from lawyers to public relations.
“There are so many roles in the pipeline of game development,” Gómez said. “There’s so many different disciplines that come together to put out a game. I would say to figure out what you’re passionate about and then research.”
The group has helped Latinx people in a variety of ways from hosting a game jam to helping people plan for how to make their dreams a reality. And their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Multiple members were named to the Game Awards Future Class in 2020 and the group was named as the Game Awards’ Global Gaming Citizen in 2020.
“We were all so overwhelmed and happy,” Amaya said. “We’re grateful for the nomination and grateful for the community for being a part of it.”
But they are far from finished. From grants to career help, Latinx in Gaming is focused on providing as much help as possible.
“I’m hoping we can provide those resources to have those game (developers) if they want to come to the U.S. or be employed by indie or AAA companies to help them get there,” Gómez said.
Latinx in Gaming’s work may be far from finished, but its cause keeps all of its members excited and determined to continue to support Latinx people in any way that they can.
“It’s important that we strive to tell the story of as many Latinx folks as possible,” Amaya said. “We want to empower their voices. I would love for us not only to be heard in the United States by the big AAA companies, but also by local governments around the world.”