Girls Make Games: Looking Back at Demo Day, Hosted at PlayStation HQ

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Girls Make Games: Looking Back at Demo Day, Hosted at PlayStation HQ

Five teams of incredible young creators recently presented their projects to a panel of industry leaders at our San Mateo headquarters. One of their games will be professionally developed and published.

Education was always a really big part of my life growing up, and its importance was reinforced in more than one way. Getting an education meant getting a chance at a better life, and my parents reinforced this belief through example. They labored day and night to ensure their children, especially their daughters, stayed in school and they also encouraged us to give back to the community.

We launched Girls Make Games, a summer camp for teaching girls game development and offering them a home to express their shared love of playing and creating video games, and often the only place for some of the girls to feel like they’re not the only one.

Girls Make Games: Team Invenio

Team Invenio, Grand Prize winners of Girls Make Games Demo Day

We just wrapped up our 4th and biggest summer season. There were camps all over the country vying for a spot in Demo Day, an event that marks the culmination of GMG’s summer program. Demo Day brought the top five teams from across the country together at PlayStation’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, to present their demos to a panel of industry leaders: Shawn Layden, President of Sony Interactive Entertainment America and Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios; AJ Mendez, New York Times Bestselling Author and former wrestling champion; Maria Essig, Business Development with Google VR/AR; Tim Schafer, founder and CEO of Double Fine Productions; and Katie Stone Perez, Principal Program Management Lead for Xbox.

While at Demo Day each team would present and compete for the Grand Prize – having their game developed professionally and published!

Girls Make Games: Demo Day Judges

This year’s Grand Prize winning team? Team Invenio with their original game, Find Me. In this artistically impressive game, a shadow gets separated from the person it belongs to and, through a series of puzzles and platform levels, begins the journey through a haunting cityscape to find its home alongside its human where it feels safe and home.

Find Me

After the inspiring events of Demo Day, I got the chance to speak with Team Invenio about their original game, Find Me, and what it was like being surrounded by girls with a passion for games.

How was it collaborating with your team on Find Me?

We all worked so well together and had such a good time doing it. Everyone was so hardworking too, whenever we got frustrated with something we would laugh about it for a little while and then get back to work.”
“We each had a role to fulfill, whether it was art, music, or level design, and we were all able to work together to make the game.”
“All of my teammates were really supportive and nice. They all had great ideas and they listened to my ideas. They were all really fun but when we needed to work they worked really hard and were very encouraging. I really enjoyed working with them.”

Girls Make Games: Grand Prize awards

What inspired you to create Find Me?

“We came up with the idea after receiving a writing prompt in our camp journal, which was ‘Create a game where nobody dies.’ That’s where the idea for the shadows came from!

“The whole team really liked that idea so we built off of it from there. Light is really interesting and there’s a lot you can do with it so it wasn’t hard. Then we started to figure out what the themes of our game were going to be as it was coming together, the main themes being loss of self, and the importance of things that go unnoticed.”

-Team Invenio

What did you enjoy the most about your experience with Girls Make Games?

“I learned so much this year. I got to learn how to use Unity, the process of game design and things like game flow and metrics. I loved creating the world of the game and I loved designing the puzzles and mysteries in it. I also had such a great time working with the team, they’re the best.”

Girls Make Games: The NarwhalsGirls Make Games: The Idle Breathers

Three years ago when I founded Girls Make Games I couldn’t have imagined spending an afternoon at PlayStation inspiring young girls to enter the field of game design by showcasing their own original games, and yet that’s exactly what we did and it’s just the beginning.

We will continue to provide girls a welcomed home to further their passion for gaming, inspire the next generation of great game designers, and show the world that girls make games!

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8 Author Replies

  • That is awesome.

  • A wonderful event. Congrats to all the teams involved.

    • Thank you John! The teams went home even more inspired to continue working on their games, and to make new games. Appreciate your support!

  • It’s all cool and fun that you support these youngsters. But sadly, this direction is not a future nor is it the best marketing strategy, it infact will only create more controversy and buzzfeed.
    The best investment is still in the Far East, your home country, Japan. What i\m saying is your culture, such as Anime.
    The Internet love anime, and so are kids, regardless of nationality. Make big-budget AAA anime games like persona or ninokuni and soon, you will change the whole industry. Anime is the future, this is not a joke, this is a fact. Sooner or later, you will realize how right i am. Mark my word and save it.

    • What? What does your passion for anime, cause let’s be honest this “passion for anime” is all about you. What does it have to do with education and getting more people involved in the gaming industry?

  • Oh wow, really cool! Congrats to the winners and all who participated : )

  • This is great!

  • Find Me sounds pretty cool. Congrats to all the teams and especially to the young ladies who won.

  • Shallow sexism straight up.

    Who cares about the genders of people who make their games? Low IQ SJWs that’s who. Hopefully now that they are fully occupied with renaming horses they can leave games alone.

    • People like you are why programs like this are necessary in the first place. You look ridiculous crying “sexism” here. Read some history.

    • Damore’s PSN id revealed?

    • They focus on females because they are disproportionately represented in the game industry compared to males. Males historically have been in a position of power and have had countless advantages compared to females.

      In essence, groups like Girls Make Games help foster these aspiring young minds so they can have a bright future in the industry. It is a fantastic thing and I am delighted to see it working out so well. Having multiple points of view in any creative process isn’t a bad thing, and just by adding more ladies to the equation, you have a chance to see even more extraordinary things in the future.

  • To my shame, I hadn’t heard of Girls make Games before, but this looks just plain wonderful. It’s really good to see this kind of care and support for girls (and women of all ages) in games, providing an environment to encourage them in their work, art and passion – as opposed to the rather hostile environment they sadly too often find themselves in.

    Gaming is not “a man’s world”, never has been, never will be, even if “people” of a certain intellectual level – which I really want to be just a rather uninspired but unfortunately vocal minority – might wish it to be so.

    We`re all in this together, to have fun, to enjoy ourselves – and if we’re lucky enough to get the chance, to bring joy and inspiration to other people in the form of interactive art.

    This really put a smile on my face, so thank you for sharing. And thank you for doing it, in the first place.

  • Man, some of the comments, particularly on facebook are pretty appalling

    “Girls make games what!!!. They also make sandwiches what!!!!. And babies what!!! What year is this madness. 2017 is amazing. Imagine the future”

    All I can do is shake my head…

    2:…seriously? there are no women of color… at all?? I mean, MAYBE I’m jumping the gun and I can’t make out any in the top photo, but even then… That’s rather disappointing to see, but I know it’s voluntary rather you decide to join the camp or not, but on the employment side of things, rather disappointing to see… Sony, you need more diversity, I hate to say it.

    • Hi NIGHTRAVEN3, I’m the founder and director of Girls Make Games, and I’m a woman of color. 100% of of GMG’s core team (there’s only 4 of us) are people of color. The program is still young and growing, and we’re hoping to attract girls of all backgrounds with the help of companies like Sony, who offer scholarships and financial aid to make the program accessible to everyone. Please help us spread the word!

    • NIGHTRAVEN3, I get the sentiment and the concern completely, but it seems strange to get mad when there are only five pictures with people in the article and, like, four of them clearly (to me, at least) contain women of color. Also, as Ms. Shabir pointed out, the team behind the program is made up of women of color. This is an important concern! but maybe, like, ask about it rather than immediately be angry, especially when there clearly were a number of people of color present.

      Thank you for this program, and thank you to everyone involved!

  • Awesome to see this program thriving.

  • Fantastic to see these programs going on, and congratulations to everyone who took part!

  • Nice to see programs like that. Good initiative.

  • Great to see the encouragement of girls to follow their interest in gaming. Hopefully they continue on the path, or whatever they desire. I bet boys would also love to have a program such as this. Or even better, an inclusive program for boys and girls of all backgrounds to work together.

  • Unfortunately I’m too old to participate, but thanks for such a great event :D we need more youngsters to join us! Hopefully things like this will expand beyond the states.

  • When’s Boys Make Games?

    • This is like watching a football game and getting angry that the other team scored the last 5 touchdowns without acknowledging that the game started at 1000-0

    • Found the SJW.

    • I’m just going to copy and paste billyok’s comment verbatim:

      “People like you are why programs like this are necessary in the first place. You look ridiculous crying “sexism” here. Read some history.”

    • If you actually knew the history you wouldn’t white knight.

    • you have these because you are babies that are spoiled you dont want equal anything you new age left wing are sexist woman and disgusting members of terrorists like Antifa how this is fine and you call him sexist when your here acting like you have it so hard being a woman when facts and all evidence show woman are the most spoiled group now days its disgusting how you call him sexist for wanting the same thing for men .you are perfect example of why America is in a near civil war and why trump won becuase of sexist women like you that are full of hate and call others out for wanting same chance but thats not ok because he is a man . disgrace go get a education from a real school see how men are minority in work place now or in universities but women are spoiled and its ending it why trump won and Putin cleaning house because you and your idol Anita are

  • This event gets bigger & better every year!! Great job!! Love that you stress the importance of a good education – a shame many our politicians don’t seem to feel the same way.

  • This is a very awesome event. Glad things like this help an industry I love become more diverse.

  • why is this a thing its sexist this day and age , sick of women having there own programs and in school we have to claw and fight are way through just to be held down and insulted for doing same as them , worse now we have all black schools only but funny the most held back group these days as all facts and studies show from getting jobs to schooling is the white male . men they have have next to impossible times now days and yet all this woman BS .
    worse when the few times there was a school that tried to say all white people it was racist and sick and its ok like racist capitol of Chicago 3 black only schools . well because for the past 13 years men have been the Minority and insulted daily by programs like this . These are fine if it was OK for both sexes to do this or have white only schools or Asian only schools but were not we are labeled and hated and called racist , Nazi and worse for doing same thing as women or colored people .

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