My name is Saffista and I am a gamer, a games researcher, and a content creator. I have been gaming since Coleco handhelds and teaching and doing games research for more than 20 years.
How did you get into gaming & what do you do in gaming today?
I started using games in the classroom when I was teaching elementary school right out of college. Now I teach game studies and design to folx who want to make games themselves one day.
What challenges have you faced being a woman who plays games? What can be done to overcome these challenges?
For me it has not just been about being a woman, but about my intersectional identity. My sex, age, race, and sexual orientation are a Venn diagram with a sweet spot of oppression that makes it a constant struggle to be heard on issues of diversity and inclusion in the professional space. At the same time, I feel like that sweet spot makes me almost invisible in the content creator space when my male presenting counterparts of a similar age are often seen as experienced rather than just “old”.
Are there any positives about being a gamer? If so, what do you think they are?
Gaming always has its positives. Over the years games have allowed me to relax, teach, learn, and make some of the closest friends I have.
Are there any women in games who have inspired you? If so, who are they and how have they inspired you?
There are far too many to name! There are so many amazing women/femmes/non-binary folx working in games that I couldn’t possibly name them all. Just look towards spaces like AnyKey, Not Your Mama’s Gamer, I Need Diverse Games, Adrift Gamer, and more and you will find more inspiration than you can handle! LOL
What’s your favourite game / franchise to play on Xbox?
There are so many amazing games on Xbox, but I have to say it’s probably a tie between the Mass Effect Trilogy and the Halo Series. That means that this is going to be a great year for me gaming wise!
Is there anything else you’d like to highlight & tell us about (anything you’ve achieved, work you’ve done etc)?
This last year has given me a lot of time to think about my achievements so I would have to say that being recognized for my work in multiple circles. Having an academic award winning blog and podcast, being awarded the Xbox MVP award 3 times, and (right before lockdown) receiving an international Lifetime Achievement Award in Design Communication for my work in Game Design Communication. I am most proud of making a thing that I love into a career.