Sometimes, there are romance books and authors you fall in love with. When I first picked up Game On by Seressia Glass, I had that feeling.
Even though I'm admittedly not a gamer, this book spoke to me immediately. Maybe it was due to the author's amazing writing or the fact that I hadn't read a concept similar, but I could not put it down once I started.
I was so invested that I was ready to jump for joy when the publisher reached out and talked about having the author write a guest post for Culturess. That's why this post had to be featured so close to Christmas as it felt like a present just for me.
Bad Christmas joke aside, I'd like to thank Berkley and Seressia Glass for working with me on this and sharing the inspiration behind Game On.
Seressia Glass opens up on representation and how it inspired Game On.
Again, I'd like to thank the author for taking time out of her schedule to write this up so I could share it with you and I hope it makes you want to pick up more books of hers. I know it did that for me!
How representation in video games/fandom inspired my newest romance
For a while, the majority of my social time was spent on the old bird app. While connecting with other writers, I had many discussions about having seats at the table, building a longer table, and how it didn’t mean kicking other people out of their seats. Discussions fighting against readers and authors who didn’t think Black authors could write and that’s why they didn’t sell; that Black romances couldn’t have HEAs because of the characters’ racial identity; and that a Black female character with a career as a physicist wasn’t believable.
If we were having discussions like this in Storyland in general and Romancelandia in particular, I knew it had to be going on elsewhere. Existing in spaces in which people didn’t think we belonged was a common denominator across media, geekdoms, fandoms. Like cis white women thinking BIPOC authors were taking publishing slots from them, cis white males believed that something was being taken away from them and given to women, especially to BIPOC women. This seemed to be particularly true in gaming, when Black female gamers would be minding their own business gaming on a streaming platform only to get hate raided.
A lot of vitriol rained down on social media platforms over the last four years. People were doxed. Swatting became a verb. It all left an indelible mark on me. I already knew that Game On would feature a Black female character as the lead but instead of her being a college gamer diversifying an esports team, she’s an advocate for lack of and bad representation in games—and a professional DEIA consultant. Samara’s a hero, a voice for the voiceless. I also knew that I didn’t want my male lead to be an alphahole either, so I made Aron a unicorn: a game company CEO who, when confronted with receipts of problematic content, immediately leaps into action to uncover the truth and makes things right.
Despite the weighted topics, Game On is also a rom-com so there are light moments too. It’s also a romance fantasy in which adversaries become allies and stand side by side to confront and defeat those who would tear them down. It’s a lighthearted, serious love story that’s also inspiring and hopeful. Kinda like those in the mean social media streets, doing what they can to make things better.
If you haven't picked up Game On yet, then her post should give you the incentive. As someone who absolutely adored this book, I cannot recommend it enough. If my endorsement isn't enough, the author gives us some insight and backstory which is honestly the push some readers need. Either way, I absolutely adored this book and I know I'll be grabbing a copy for my shelves.
Game On by Seressia Glass is out now where books are sold.
Will you be grabbing a copy of Game On for your shelves? Let us know in the comments!