Each year PAX East showcases the best of the best in the video game industry. Most of the time the games wow attendees in their art, story, or innovative game play. This year for me, however, I was blown away by the message one booth was sending to all those who stopped by to try out their games. When I dropped by the Girls Makes Games booth, I assumed I would just find a few games created by female developers; but instead I found so much more and was delighted to chat with some amazing people who are working to change the game industry from the ground up.
Girls Make Games is a summer camp that focuses on teaching and developing game making skills for young girls (average age is around 11-14 years old). As a quickly growing industry where only about 12% of the workforce is female, Girls Make Games wants to help expand this number by giving the camp attendees all of the tools to jump start their interest and ability to enter the Video Game scene. The camp runs for 3 weeks during summer and, for the time being, is a day camp operating from Monday-Friday, but has plans to eventually offer boarding options for a full “summer camp experience”. The attendees are broken up into groups based on skill level and range from those who have never coded before to some that have previous experience with coding. Right now there are about 18 locations open around the country that offer this summer camp.
Over the course of the 3 weeks the girls learn the skills to make games and at the end of the camp, they have their own games that they did all aspects for; art, mechanics, gameplay, etc. At PAX East I was able to play Blub Blub, the story of a cute little blob who encounters evil Jennifer, a villain needing to steal the cuteness of the blobs for her cosmetic company. The game is a platformer that was made by a 10 year old at the camp over the course of the 3 weeks and features her art, story, and everything.
Normally PAX East provides me with a fun filled atmosphere dedicated to one of my favorite hobbies. This year, however, Girls Make Games showed me so much more and I was happy to find this booth and talk with the women involved who are making this happen. If you are interested in more information on Girls Make Games you can find out how to register, dates, and much more on their website. Oh, and while there is an age cap for attendees, if you are older and interested there is information available on how to become a camp counselor.