The Scratching That Itch series is where I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

It’s now been two years since I started the Scratching That Itch series, randomly picking things from the 1741 entries in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality and writing about them. I’d hoped this was a way that my humble blog about games could keep the conversation about racial justice going, but it feels like some of the momentum is being lost. Last year I was able to point to the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and some associated steps towards police reform, as tangible achievements. Of course, there was also the insurrection in the U.S. capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of racists tried to overthrow the presidential election and reinstate Donald Trump, who is basically openly fascist. As I write this, the House of Representatives is holding hearings on the insurrection, and I wish I could say I was optimistic that real consequences will come of them. But I am not.

It’s been a steady stream of bad news in the last year. There have been more than 250 mass shootings in the United States just in 2022 so far, including racist incidents like the Buffalo shooting, not to mention the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which 19 students and teachers were killed. We’re not merely seeing a backlash against racial justice efforts, but a broad wave of hatred and intolerance sweeping across the country. The Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortion, and Texas has already passed a law that effectively bans abortion by empowering private citizens to take legal action against any facility that offers abortion services. We’re on track to pass a record amount of anti-transgender legislation in 2022. We’re seeing a rash of voter suppression legislation passed in many states. The message is clear: any attempt to address systemic inequality is seen as a threat to the unjustly privileged position held by white men, so politicians and lawmakers are making aggressive moves to preserve it. And that’s just what’s happening in America. It’s clear we still have a lot of work to do.

On a brighter note, I randomly picked and wrote about 57 games (and other things) from the huge bundle, bringing the total over the first two years to 126, more than 7% of the entire thing. Like last year, I’ve highlighted some of my favorite picks below.