Xmiramira Talks Expanding Diversity in Gaming From the Ground Floor

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Brandon Shamy / ONE37pm

On this week’s episode of Inside the Screen, Aaron AKA Don sat down with New York-based gamer Xmiramira. Primarily a Sims streamer, Amira created the Black Simmer, “a community & forum dedicated to diversifying the Sims community.” They cover a ton of ground in her interview, discussing everything from her genesis in modding (at only 12 years old!), the future of Sims and making a career out of gaming.

Throughout her career, Queens Gaming Collective member Xmiramira has emphasized the importance of representation in video games. She and Don speak about her impetus for getting into content creation. There was a total dearth of proper representation in the gaming content, and she wanted to start to demonstrate that people from all backgrounds can make a career out of gaming. "You didn't really see any black Sims in Let's Plays. You didn't really see too many black creators, there was only like like two or three well-known black creators at the time. And I'm like, well where's the variety? Where's the range, with black and POC content?" she tells Aaron.

By successfully creating amazing content as a black woman, she was opening up pathways for people not historically represented in gaming to find themselves mirrored. “Just to let other black folks know like, ‘Hey, you’re not the only one that plays Sims,” she says of her reasoning.

As with a lot of episodes of Inside the Screen, they also spend a bit of time discussing what it’s like going into gaming as a career path. Xmiramira addresses the support she got from her parents, with the caveat that there’s always a bit of resistance when it comes to unconventional career trajectories. “So they were supportive, it’s just they were kinda like, ‘So when are you gonna get paid?’” she says. She’s since been brought on by Sims to consult on some of their updates emphasizing a more robust commitment to diversity. Her forum, Black Simmer, has amassed a whopping 160,000 members. I’d say she’s getting paid.

Xmiramira also notes that this isn’t just an issue with the Sims, it’s an issue with video games generally: “It’s not just a Sims issue, it’s a broad, it’s a very broad industry issue.” There are potential avenues for improvement. “I want to see games created with more than just two demographics in mind. I want to see games created for all of us. As far as accessibility, affordability, diversity, proper representation in stories. But in order to do that, things have to be changed at the ground floor. Different people from different backgrounds would need to be hired and make sure that they’re in comfortable work environments and paid and paid properly,” she says. She’s absolutely right.

Don and Xmiramira conclude the interview with some amazing advice for upcoming creators. Whether you’re a gamer, streamer or any variety of creative, her advice cannot be beat. “Stay consistent. Don’t let people and their negativity get to you. Do your research, and whatever you do, try to be the best at it you can absolutely be. Be open to taking advice. Be open to learning from people. I think one of the biggest things is just not listening to naysayers.”

This is an episode for the books. Between her advice and incredibly astute assessment of what needs to change in gaming, Xmiramira is an absolute earthshaker in contemporary gaming culture. She is continuing to change gaming for the better; we can only hope the industry will follow suit.

You can follow her on IG, Twitter, her personal website and Twitch. Queens GG has also recently collaborated with ColourPop Cosmetics on a beauty collection, so make sure to keep your eyes on their Twitter for all the latest news.

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