BAFTA Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) held a women’s only Game Jam Event, designed to raise awareness for the under representation of women in the gaming industry.
The two day event, held at Glasgow Caledonian University, kicked off with an inspiring keynote speech from Luci Black, Producer at Media Molecule responsible for BAFTA-winning game’s Tearaway and Little Big Planet (1&2). Luci spoke about how she found her way into the games industry through a combination of luck, connections and good timing. She also tackled the subject of sexism and gender in the industry.
In the blokes I designed curiosity but certainly no sexism. I've never felt discriminated against for my gender but I know this is not the same for everyone. – Luci Black, Media Molecule.
Dasha MillerLuci’s speech was followed by an insightful panel of industry veterans including Luci Black, Dr. Jo Twist (CEO, UK Interactive Entertainment Association), Dr.Sarah Dargie, Timea Tabori (Engine Programmer, Rockstar North) and was moderated by Dr. Romana Ramzan. The panel discussed discrimination and the importance of educating people about the video game industry at a young age.
Dr Romana Ramzan, GCU lecturer and Game Jam organiser, said: “The games industry needs more women. Although women account for almost 50 per cent of the game-playing population, they only make up 6 per cent of the workforce. The Y Not Game Jam was a great opportunity to reach out and encourage more women into the industry.”
With discussions over the fifteen women participating in the Game Jam took to the Student Association Building to pitch their sleeping bags and discuss their ideas. The participants were tasked with only 48 hours to design a game completely from scratch following the theme of “Heroic Women.” Luci Black was on hand with lecturers from Caledonia University to offer advice and support as the weekend progressed.
As the 48 hour event came to a close the participants had developed a variety of games that branched across different genres - from thirdperson-shooter to RPG. But it was up to Luci Black; Fee Stewart, MD at Formerdroid LTD and Isla Mctear, BAFTA Scotland to judge the games. The overall winner was Kate Ho from Firebrand Games who created a unique SMS-text game based on the classic Scottish novel Sunset Song.
Dasha MillerKate said the idea behind the game is to tell the story of Chris through SMS text messages.
She explained: “Essentially, you play the part of one of Chris’ childhood friends who she hasn't seen for a while. Through texting and replying to her, you find out more about her, and what happens to her throughout the book.
"I wanted to see whether it was possible to retell a classic Scottish story in a way that is more interactive than just reading a book. I was inspired by the way we use text messages and whatsapp to talk to friends. I wanted to see if it would be a good way to tell a story.”
The game won over the judging panel for its originality and commercial value.
Dr Ramzan said: “We had a great turnout for the Y Not Game Jam and the overall response was fantastic. We partnered BAFTA Scotland to raise awareness of the under representation of women in this industry and to encourage more women to participate in such events. This is the first of many events we will be putting together to address the issue of diversity.”
- To play the winning game, text hello to 01473 760205. Normal texting rates apply. If your tariff has free texts, it won't cost anything.
Question decisions you are uncomfortable with, don't buy the games that upset you - make them because Games are worth it. - Luci Black