Feet under the table

Us Grrrl Games have been supported by the loverly peeps at Bristol Games Hub, with space for meeting up and unfettered use of the kettle since we were a twinkle in our own eyes. GG now has a proper desk space on the top floor of the hub and I’m hoping to be there most days for at least a few hours so that I can focus on developing some of our GG ideas into actions  eg workshops, talks, events.

Grrrl Games is already in cahoots with various Women In Games talking about what we can do together, notably a Women Only Games Jam planned for Ada Lovelace week this autumn; check out XX Games Jam 2012  (btw the clockwork crocodile was my team) So hold the date: 13/14th October 2016. We are hoping for simultaneous jams in Bristol, Brighton, London, Ireland (not sure where), Montreal & Toronto. We are Everywhere!

There will also be a women’s meet up at Develop in Brighton so keep an ear out for that in July.

I’ve also been talking to women in VR, if anyone is interested in meeting up at all in Bristol.

I’ll stop now and tidy the desk a bit.

 

 

 

Blast from the past – XX Game Jam 2012

For some reasoning I’ve been thinking about what triggered our grrrl game activities and one of the definite sparks was a women-only XX Games Jam that ran in Autumn 2012 up at Mind Candy HQ in London (a very colourful space full of Moshi monsters). All those who went had a great 24 hours or so developing games with a bunch of women who mostly didn’t know each other beforehand. Jess & I went along wondering if we had any relevant skills to contribute and came home wanting to make games more than once in a blue moon (still working on that one!) and to encourage other women to have a go too. It kickstarted our cunning plan to develop software training, discussion sessions and taster workshops to build useful skills in preparation for another Grrrl Games Jam.

XX Games Jam was also where I created my Ada Lovelace icon that just reminds me of what a blast I had working with Terri & Kimmi, who I had never met before.

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There’s this featurette on BBC Click online about the XX Game Jam. It was a big confidence booster for a lot of women in games, including yours truly. These reporters get the point and are generally positive about the idea of women making games, and how women-only jams are a good way to encourage us to take our first steps. Just one women-only games jam was enough to give me confidence to attend mixed jams too. There’s a nice video here about XX Game Jam that includes interviews with organisers and attendees, and it just reminds me why we want to organise another XX Games Jam!

 

Weekly roundup: Diversity and development in video games

[Mashable] Diversity report card: Video games passed in 2015, but barely

This is article is one of a cool five-part series that Mashable did, examining strides made in 2015 in movies, television, online video, gaming and sports.

Starting with the recently released Pew study that confirmed what we already suspected; 50% of adult men and 48% of adult women — a nearly even amount — play games. It’s great to see the industry taking note of this, with new titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn, ReCore, Mirror’s Edge 2 and Lara Croft GO! all featured female leads and more offering playable female characters.

This is great, we are getting somewhere, however real diversity in games still has a way to go. Most of these leads aren’t minorities and the gaming landscape is still predominantly white. Mashable links this issue of representation to the bleak levels of diversity within the mainstream games industry:

Even in 2015, 75% of the games industry is male, and 76% of its members are white, according a 2015 self-selected survey from the International Game Developers Association. Only 9% of the survey’s respondents were East Asian, 7% were Latino and 3% were black.

 >> Read the full report

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[engadget] Developer diversity changes the way video games are made

Leading nicely onto this next piece, which examines in more details the roles of developers when pushing for diversity in games. The author also briefly explores the backlash from players who don’t feel diversity is necessary, speaking to Dr. Kishonna Gray, director of the Critical Gaming Lab at Eastern Kentucky University:

“Those who have always been reflected in any type of media suggest that diversity and accurate representations are unnecessary,” she says. “Those who make these comments have always been catered to. They have diverse stories. They have meaningful representations. They are not reduced to perpetual stereotypes.”

There’s tons more in this piece, including examples of cool games you should be playing, go read it!

>> Read full article

[Al Jazeera] In Pakistan, some gaming studios have made gender equity a priority

This article caught my eye as I was browsing through Twitter, mainly because Pakistan is not often celebrated for its’ gender diversity. Only about 13 percent of the non-agriculture workforce is female.

However some big studios in Pakistan’s rapidly growing gaming industry are challenging this. We R Play Studios have a 42 percent female workforce, 25 percent of Tintash Studios staff are women and CaramelTech Studios in Lahore are on 23 percent.

>> Read full article

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Level Up: A Geek Romance Rom Com

Lastly, not an article but a free (FREE!) book from author Cathy Yardley. The first in a geek romance rom com series, this book (according to a review) hits on everything that the modern nerdy woman could want. 

Go read it!

Happy New Years from Grrrl Games! Here’s some sort of resolutions

It’s 2016! The new year is upon us! It’s time to make a bunch of resolutions we won’t keep!

We’re starting the year with Constance and I on the opposite sides of the world – Constance is still in Bristol, running the amazing Grrrl Games meetups and i’m in Australia working on some exciting virtual reality projects.

But moving on from this geographical mishap, I want to make some sort of resolutions for Grrrl Games:

  1. Write more: This is a blog and it’s woefully unfilled… One post a week from now on, I promise!
  2. Get some answers: We started our 7 (now 8) questions idea a while back and I still – with not a hint of bias –  think it’s great. We’ll be pestering tons more women for answers in 2016 and post them up here in due course.
  3. Organise training: This is not for lack of trying… We spent the latter half of 2015 pushing for some women-only training days/introductory courses in Unity and we’ll keep on pushing in 2016.
  4. Attend more meetups: This is more of a personal one. Meetups are great and although i’ve been to a couple of VR ones in Australia, i’m still often put off by the fact i’m a minority at them. At the first one I went to, there were two other women there (I came with one of them) and it sucks. But not going to them because it feels daunting solves nothing, it just means there’s one less woman there, so back on the bike (or horse? or camel?) and just go.
  5. Read more / share more: Even if I don’t stick to my first resolution, there’s nothing stopping me reading and sharing other peoples’ writing on women in games.

I’ll start here with some good news from the NYTimes ‘Lara Croft Has Company: More Female Heroes Appear in Big-Budget Games‘, this brilliant interview with Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, senior producer for Starwars Battlefront and lastly rejoice! 2015 was a landmark for women in first-person shooters.