Everything you need to know about the Heroes in Gaming Awards Jacket


Heroes in Gaming • November 18, 2022

It’s really important in this incredibly digital age to celebrate the things about yourself that make you unique. Historically, the gaming world has had a lot of the same. A lot of the same people, a lot of the same aspirational imagery, a lot of the same protagonists, and not everybody gets to celebrate themselves in that.

We (Paidia Gaming), Stephanie Peloza and Cuddle_Core think it's really important to enrich the culture of gaming and to celebrate everybody that wants to take part in this incredible world.

This is why we came up with the Heroes in Gaming (HIG) Award. In collaboration with Roots Canada, Jeannail ‘Cuddle_Core” Carter and Stephanie Peloza designed their own jacket to gift to the award recipients.

Below you will learn about the design process, the meaning of the patches and who received the jacket.

What is Heroes in Gaming?

Heroes In Gaming is an awards effort to recognize individuals in the gaming space that are making a conscious and concrete effort to improve the culture of gaming, to make it kinder, more accessible, and healthier for everyone that wants to participate.

To celebrate the recipients of the HIG award we decided to think out of the box and instead of a trophy we wanted to gift an Awards Jacket that the individuals could wear proudly.

Both Cuddle and Peloza selected 4 recipients to honour with this award.

Stephanie Peloza provided us with some examples behind the selection process:

One of our recipients created amazing custom content for The Sims that was very widely recognized, that allowed gamers of colour to truly represent themselves better in game with more accurate skin tones and more diverse options. Others might be content creators that have really, really positive, nourishing communities that leave the gaming world a bit better than it was before they showed up.”

The Recipients

Nominated by Stephanie Peloza:


BlackTwitchUK Founder, Sims CC Creator, Twitch Partner, Elgato/Alienware/Dell Partner


Taliesin & Evitel

YouTube Creators, Streamers, Hosts


Sam Maggs

Author, Games Writer, Comic Writer

Narrative Lead at Wizards of the Coast


Nominated by Cuddle_Core:

Emily Tran

CEO of EQNX Gaming, GameHERs Award 2021 - Most Inclusive Team

Featured in Red Bull, PlayStation, Twitch.TV & Forbes



Content Creator, Community & Project Manager

D&I Consultant, CEO of Noir Network



Illustrator, Character Concept, Artist,

Emote Artist, Gamer


Stephanie Nneoma

CEO/Founder of NNESAGA

UK’s Leading D&I Organization for Gaming, Comics & Anime


This leads us to how the jackets came to be. ⤵️

The Design Process

In Collaboration with Roots Canada, we were able to make a custom Awards Jacket that reflected both Cuddle and Peloza’s style and vibe. But before we dig into that, let’s talk about the collaboration.

Roots Canada is known for putting out some of the most sought after collabs with both gaming and lifestyle brands. We’re talking League of Legends, Drake with OVO, Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N and the list goes on. The varsity style jacket dates back 40 years and was inspired by a sense of community and team spirit. Being the root of our Heroes in Gaming Awards purpose (no pun intended) it only made sense but to work with Roots on creating a jacket to gift the recipients of the HIG award.

Throughout the span of many months Cuddle and Peloza connected with the design team at Roots to sort out the following:

The Basics

First it was about deciding the basics of the jacket. The leather and melton colours, the type of rib knits and pattern for the collars and choice of lining.

The Cresting

Both Cuddle and Peloza had separate designs that we will dive into the meanings below. The options for patch placement were endless. Giving them a completely blank canvas to transform into their Heroes in Gaming masterpiece.

“My favourite part of the design process was definitely being able to give so much input into the aesthetic of the jacket, from the patches on it, to the colours on the collar. I really appreciated being given so much freedom to give as much creative style and flow to the jacket as I wanted,” said Carter.


Once the designs were mocked-up and approved by Roots it was time to produce samples. Stephanie was able to visit the Roots headquarters in Toronto, Canada and was able to observe her back patch getting embroidered. Let’s just say if you thought embroidery was quick you guessed wrong. The back patch alone took +8 hours!

During the production of Stephanie’s Back Cresting of Paidia Character Mae (Photo Courtesy of Roots Canada)

The Meaning Behind the Jacket - Cuddle_Core Edition

The patches on Cuddle’s jacket are to symbolize the many aspects of her life. We sat down with her to get her take on each patch.

The Butterflies

“To me butterflies symbolize hope and growth. How butterflies evolve symbolize how humans evolve, my growth through life and my career. Starting as a caterpillar, evolving to a butterfly, feeling comfortable in your field, being confident, that is definitely what this butterfly symbolizes for me and where I am in my life and that gives me a lot of hope.”

Art By: Kelly Toki

The Sunflower

“This is a very, very big deal for me. Anyone who knows me or sees my social media knows I adore sunflowers. Similar to what I said about the butterflies, sunflowers symbolise a lot of hope. Flowers radiate light and to me sunflowers symbolize that light radiating positivity.”

Art By: Kelly Toki

The W Patch

“The W Patch in Gold. I automatically think of wins in games and in general, people say “Get the big dub” or the Big W. There've been so many huge dubs in my life, so many huge W’s in my competitive sport and outside of it. All of them have led me to this point in my life.”

Art By: Carol Azevedo

The Controller

“I am a PlayStation 4 controller player. We call that a pad player. Though this is a little different in terms of design of the controller, to me this represents my beginnings, I’ve always competed as a pad player, I love the feeling of it. “

Art By: Carol Azevedo

Heart Patch

“I’m very expressive, and passionate. I love affection and I love showing that to people”

Art By: Carol Azevedo

The Paidia Patch

“Gotta have the Paidia patch. I worked with them for months. I loved working with the org overall. They’ve taught me a lot, like making content that caters specifically to how I want to make content, but also the professional aspect of creating it. And just loving a lot of the initiatives that they've created and the work that they do with different gaming communities. They uplift them, they expand them, they create safe spaces for the people within them.”

The Meaning Behind the Jacket - Stephanie Peloza Version

The Mae Patch:

“Mae is a new adventurer in the same way many people are new gamers. She’s just stumbled into this wild sci-fi fantasy world of Paidia through a pocket dimension known as Blank Space. Like new gamers when they enter this world, you can sometimes be met with a lot of intimidation or pushback. You are dropped into this world you know nothing about. It is completely unknown to you but you can discover it and make it your own. You can learn who you are, what you like to do.”

Art By: Carol Azevedo

Bug Bot Patch:

“Bug-bots are guides and protectors to humans that arrive in the world of Paidia. They’re with you to make you feel safe, provide guidance and help people like Mae find themselves in this new terrain. A helping hand, bug-bot signifies the importance of friendship and support new gamers benefit from when finding a space for themselves in this community. Mae’s very own bug-bot companion is named DUX-Auto 001 - the very first prototype of his kind.“

Art By: Carol Azevedo

Campfire Patch:

“When I first pivoted into the gaming industry as a career, I started with streaming. My stream is called The Campfire, and it’s a cozy community that invites folks to come as they are, sit around the fire with everyone, and share stories. We’d often explore narrative-rich adventure games or RPGS as a whole crew, asking questions, theory crafting and making decisions together. This patch represents that community feeling.”

Art By: Kelly Toki

Swords Patch:

“I’ve been a gamer my entire life, but as a queer woman I’ve always felt removed from the competitive side of things. I used to experience intense anxiety in multiplayer lobbies, especially FPS titles, because of the toxic culture and casual bigotry on display. However, recently I’ve come to really appreciate the athleticism of competitive gaming and I believe it should be something every gamer has access to - developing my Halo skills has done a lot more for me than just improving my aim.”

Art By: Carol Azevedo

Controller Patch:

“When I was a really little kid, I mean 2 or 3 years old, my family used to put an unplugged controller in my hand and cheer as I watched the SNES pixels on the screen. I’m sure my love for gaming started there, and even as I grew into primarily a PC player, consoles like Xbox really held a strong place in my heart. I had some of my favourite and first independent gaming experiences as a child on Xbox and I think the “sit together and play” feel of console gaming is a great way for folks to be introduced to this world.”

Art By: Carol Azevedo

The Paidia Patch:

“I was so excited the Paidia logo fit so nicely along the pocket line! I wanted to include this because I’m so proud of the mission our entire team pursues: a kinder, more equitable, more accessible gaming world where folks of all backgrounds can play and enjoy without fear or anxiety. The word Paidia actually means ‘spontaneous manifestations of joy’ and also references the goddess of play and amusement - what gaming should feel like for everyone.”


Heroes in Gaming