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Community Playlists – Five games I play when I need a boost of Black joy

Welcome to our new Community Playlist feature! Community Playlists are personal playlists from the community and the DB team, focused on a specific mental health or emotional theme. While these lists are not prescriptive in nature, we hope that you’ll find some titles you’ll enjoy or just learn what’s out there helping other people.

Our first Playlist is from one of our mental health professionals working on the DB, Deb.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

I know you might be thinking that everyone in Avatar is blue, and yes, you’re correct, but thematically—and by a quick glance at the voice cast—you can tell this is a game about everyone historically impacted by colonialism and imperialism. There’s catharsis to running around a beautiful world, blowing up the colonial machines, and working to restore the beauty of the land that has belonged to your people for eons.

Spider-Man 2

Maybe an obvious choice but no game has made me feel the joy I experienced when seeing Hailey for the first time, a fellow Black, Deaf woman, in Spider-Man 2. Yeah, Miles is great but Hailey is where it’s at for me. Give me a Hailey game, please.

Jedi Fallen Order

Cere Junda, while not the main character in Fallen Order, is a force (all puns intended) to be reckoned with. The epitome of a strong Black woman, Cere cut herself off from the Force for reasons (play the game if you want to know why) and mentored young Cal and ultimately reconnected with the Force to take on the Empire.

Watch Dogs 2

Not much makes me happier than seeing Black male nerds. Too often, Black men and boys are depicted as thugs and criminals by media of all sorts, so to see the main character of a game be a Black man with a gift for technology, it felt like a revelation after playing all those other games with Black male leads.

We Are The Caretakers

An Afrofuturist game, We Are The Caretakers is an RPG about saving animals and your home from extinction. This one makes me feel similarly to the way Avatar did. Connecting with my heritage to protect what’s mine. As a big fan of Nnedi Okorafor and Wakanda, this game felt like it was made for me, instead of about me by people who might miss the mark and make me a token.

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