Girls Make Games

In 2013, a CNN report listed “game designer” as one of the fastest growing jobs for the next decade, and the games industry revenue is projected to hit $90 billion by 2017. But though women now make up 47% of video game players, they represent a much smaller proportion of the game industry.

That’s one reason why Girls Make Games founder Laila Shabir is passionate about bringing girls to game development. The other is because game development offers girls an unparalleled opportunity to express themselves, which is why Shabir has developed a series of summer camps and workshops designed to help girls explore the world of video game creation. Girls Make Games is an offshoot of LearnDistrict, San Jose-based team of gamers and educators dedicated to providing students with access to knowledge through educational games and interactive experiences, and the workshops were developed in partnership with Double Fine Studios, MIT, and other organizations.

Girls who attend the three-week camp learn design, art, and programming by designing video games. At first they work individually, but then they form into teams to create a final project. Together, they brainstorm ideas and concepts and ultimately their collaborate leads to fully-formed games.

One such project was created at this summer’s first Girls Make Games camp in Mountain View, CA. After presenting their prototype to a panel of judges at the camp, the team of eight – called The Negatives – was given the chance to fully develop and release their game, The Hole Story. They reached their Kickstarter funding goal on August 12, and The Hole Story is moving into full development. This early success bodes well for the future of Girls Make Games, learning opportunities for girls, and maybe even the game industry as a whole!