8 Questions: Ana Ribeiro

Constance and I came across the awesome Ana Ribeiro at the SouthWest VR conference a couple of months ago. We loved her presentation (which you can see further down this page) so we got in touch with her and asked her to respond to our 7 questions*. 

*You may have noticed that this is now called 8 questions… Following our last meetup, it was suggested we add another asking women how they got into the games industry – it’s not always a straightforward route and we want to show women as many options as possible to develop their own pathways into games.

Gear 1Can you describe what you do?

Game Designer, Developer, Programmer and creator of Pixel Ripped. Not forgetting to mention that I’m pie and sushi maker and a ice cream addict.

What’s your favourite game?

Today I would say Tetris.

Can you remember the first game you played on a computer/console?

Frogger on the Odyssey 2, I can barely remember, I think I was 3 or 4 years old…

What are you working on now?

Developing Pixel Ripped 1989, my first game to be release in the end of the year for Gear VR, and next year on Valve and Oculus Rift platforms.

Who is your favourite game character to play?

Amazon from Diablo II

What inspires and drives you?

I’m always motivated to create and discover new things, especially related to games.

^ Ana’s presentation at South West VR ^

What excites you about the future of games and/or game technology?

I grew up playing games and saw the games industry booming and becoming what it is nowadays – I feel I’m part of this and I want to contribute.

What excites me the most is the growth of this young industry which has so many things to explore.

I use to say I have a crazy scientist inside of me that feels complete when making games, because there is so many things to explore and learn, with all new technology that this industry is generating, which motivates us to push beyond and try to create the unimaginable.

How did you get into making games?
It is a long story, but here it goes… I used to have a different life. I got a degree in Psychology, worked for the Justice Council making divorces for 5 years. Had a “stable” life, what society and family expected you to do. But then inside of me I was burning. So, in a form of escape,  I started to make pies to some how use my creativity to run from this bureaucratic repetitive work.

Then my colleagues really liked them and ask me to bring in more to sell… in a week the whole corridor was buying pies, and then later, the whole building where I used to work. The pies grew up in such a way that I had to contract 2 people to help me make and deliver them.

It became a small business I had – 4 thousand pies a month. Clients started to ask for a shop where they could go and buy the pies.

This is when my life change happened. At the course I did for how to administrate your own business, I discovered something really important that changed my life. 

2 oculs eyesThey questioned us about what we really liked to do as a person and not just about the business. The course was really intense and pushed me to discover myself . For the first time I stopped and ask myself what I really liked to do and not what I should do for money, society or whatever. 

Then it came to my mind this big realisation: What I always had done my whole life, was play video games.

Then I realise that nowadays, I could actually do a course and make games. I decided then to change everything and follow my dream. I got the money I had saved to build the pie shop and sold my car and left that creep job at the Justice Council and travelled to the UK to make games and here I am!

I did one year of Games Programming course at Sae University in London and then I did a masters degree in Games Design & Development at The National Film & Television School (NFTS). Pixel Ripped was my final project at NFTS and I believe my experience administrating the pie business helped me to get this student project so far. 

7 Questions: Gemma Thomson

GameCity 2012

Can you describe what you do?
I am a game designer, working at an indie studio in London. Because it’s indie, my work is exceptionally varied – from contributing to design pitches, drawing level maps and providing prototype 3D assets, to arranging meetings and generally helping to run the studio.

What’s your favourite game?
Unquestionably Beyond Good & Evil – my personal benchmark for how a game narrative should feel.

Can you remember the first game you played on a computer/console?
I like to think it was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on SEGA Megadrive – it sparked a fanaticism in me which simply will not die – but I think my first game was actually 688 Attack Sub, played through Norton Commander on MS-DOS.

What are you working on now?
I can’t be specific, but we are working on a number of new game projects across a variety of platforms – all generally with an eye towards tablet devices. It’s an exciting flurry of design meetings, concept sketches and research. We’ve also been keeping International Racing Squirrels up-to-date since it was launched on iPad, so I’m occasionally testing and balancing new features for that.

Who is your favourite game character to play?
I’d have to admit that I don’t connect very easily with most game protagonists, but I very much enjoyed playing World of Warcraft as my engineering, destruction warlock – especially back in the days of Wrath. As a rule, I prefer to play healers in any multiplayer game, though.

What inspires and drives you?
Each time I try to answer this I end up with a different motivation, as ultimately I’m not that sure. I’m passionate about creating worlds and experiences, and I’m simply driven to try and do this better. Ultimately I want to create games which are at least as rich and fun as the ones I’ve already enjoyed.

What excites you about the future of games and/or game technology?
I make it a personal point to avoiding speculating on technology, having already lived through HD-DVD, Philips CD-i and the under-appreciated Dreamcast. Hardware seems to be all-too-fleeting, but what does excite me is the thought that games can be a more mature and inclusive medium. The movement to increase diversity in the games industry, coupled with gaming’s broader reach now, should hopefully mean that one day we can pick a game to suit a mood in the same way we would a film or a book – and not feel like we have to defend that choice.

7 Questions: Terri Mardel

7 Questions is hopefully going to be a long term series q&a’s carried out with women from the games community. We’re interested in finding out what women do, what games they play and where they are going and we hope you’re interested too! To kick things off, we have Terri Mardell, Design Director for Road Hog Games….

newspaper picCan you describe what you do?

Currently I am finishing a course in Games Design, and I am also Design Director for Road Hog Games. In my role as Design Director, I am responsible for all aspects of design for projects within the company. As well as designing the games themselves I am responsible for the projects paperwork and also have some QA responsibilities.

What’s your favourite game?
Any of the God of War series, in particular, the second one. I love the mythology, the art style, the gameplay, everything.
Can you remember the first game you played on a computer/console?
Space Invaders! I still love playing it now. I also have very early memories of my Dads ZX Spectrum, and a game that involved wiggling a joystick to keep a man running on a log.
What are you working on now?
Mobile app/games. Currently a modern remake of a retro classic.
Who is your favourite game character to play?
Kratos (from the aforementioned God of War)
What inspires and drives you?
Firstly, a passion for playing games. I play all sorts, from console games, to Candy Crush in 5 minute bursts. This passion for games is what drives me to want to create my own. There is no greater feeling than seeing someone enjoying one of your games and quietly thinking to yourself “I did that”.
What excites you about the future of games and/or game technology?
Games have always been an escape, where else could you battle a minotaur and live to tell the tale? As technology advances, games are becoming increasingly more interactive, in new and unconventional ways. I look forward to experiencing what comes next.

If you’re a woman in games and you’d like to answer the questions yourself, head over to our questionnaire and we’ll publish them on the site.