A photo of Erica smiling. She seems tired, but happy.

ERICA PRINCIPE CRUZ

Playful Resistance Researcher

As a queer Pilipina-American, my lived experiences of being othered have been countered by enriching playful practices, counterspaces, and countercultures. From communal celebration of my identity via traditional Pilipino folk dance to the enduring battles against oppressive forces in the Legend of Zelda series, play has been a source of restoration integral to my persistence in my STEM career. When my intersectional identities complicated my engagement in the joy-centric counterspaces of my local Pilipino community, playing video games became core to my personal methods of resistance against oppression: inspiration and strength to persist despite mircroaggressions, slurs, and other various cruelties stemmed from game mechanics of joyful interdependence and in-game reminders of the power of mobilized, united communities against oppression. Video games enable rest, hope, and strength for me as an individual who constantly feels othered in my daily life. Because of this, my research focuses on how digital games can be designed to function similarly to support the other in society as computationally supported countercultures and counterspaces.