The fifth annual Girls Make Games event has concluded this past week, and the winner of the development contest has been crowned.
This year’s event was the biggest summer camp season to date which ended with “Demo Day”, a chance for the top five teams from around the nation to come together at PlayStation’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, and present demos of the games they made to a panel of industry leaders: Shawn Layden, Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios; Siobhan Reddy, Co-Founder and Studio Director, Media Molecule; Helen Chiang, Head of Minecraft Franchise; Reiko Ninomiya, Director, Product Localization, Nintendo; and Deepthi Menon, SVP, Words with Friends at Zynga. Teams participating in Demo Day each presented their projects and competed for the Grand Prize – having their game developed professionally, funded on Kickstarter and eventually published.
The judges’ final selection as winner of the Demo Day competition was Team Atlantis with their original game, What They Don’t Sea (WTDS). In WTDS players take the role of a marine researcher with the Rachel Carson Research Organization (RCRO), who has been sent to collect samples of a special kelp for an alternative energy project. When asked about the inspiration for the game, the team, Twyla, Catie, Claire, and Riley, said they were inspired by their collective fears of deep oceans and the mysterious creatures that live there. The game’s development, including art, animation, and programming were all produced by the young team members.
The Demo Day competition was just one part of the 2019 edition of Girls Make Games. The summer camp for teaching young women game development and offering them a place to express their shared love of playing and creating video games was founded in 2014, by Laila Shabir.
Girls Make Games 2019 may be over, but registration for 2020 summer camps will open in November. Up to 100%, need-based financial assistance is available due to the program’s sponsors. There are ten camp locations, as well as online game development tutorials for Unity and Stencyl available on the Girls Make Games Portal.
Stephen Krusel, known as Sven Kroosl to some, has played video and tabletop games since 1987 and has written about the gaming industry since 2008. He has yet to be convinced that Final Fantasy Tactics is not the pinnacle of gaming.