Tales of sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault are bubbling angrily through the wires. In late 2017, the media attention to this perpetual ill and the harrowing #metoo stories sparked us to share our own computational tale of fiction that we humbly hope can participate in this dialogue. The computer as a medium offers a unique expressive palette for storytellers. With it, we can build models of crucial and moving issues in our world.
As a step toward this aim as it relates to sexism, we are announcing the launch of our interactive narrative called Grayscale. The experience is intended to provoke players to reflect critically on sexism in the workplace, both overt & hostile and more subtle.
In Grayscale players take on the role of a recently hired Human Resources manager and must navigate ethical tensions around sexism. Players are granted agency through a streamlined, aestheticized interface made to resemble a corporate e-mail client. Over the course of an in-game week, players will read and respond to e-mails from co-workers with varying outlooks in a toxic, melancholy workplace. Emphatically: our aim is neither to simulate the experience of a woman in the workplace nor to create a training tool. Instead, we aim to help users reflect upon a model of “ambivalent sexism” through storytelling.