Eight years of Girls in Games & still going strong

In its 8th year running, we welcomed a new group of excited young women onto the MDS Campus to try their hand at game development for our Girls in Games workshop. From schools across Auckland 50 excited female students in Years 9 & 10 joined to collaborate, design, create & programme their own video games.

Girls in Games is an art and programming initiative to engage and empower young women, encouraging video games as a potential career path. On Tuesday 17th November we hosted our Junior Girls in Games event, open to girls in Years 9 & 10, this free, one day workshop teaches them the basics of game art & game programming. 

Girls in Games is an opportunity for the girls to experience the game making process, hopefully opening their eyes to opportunities they may not have considered before”

says lecturer Dr. Samah Hassan, teacher of the programming workshop at the event.

It's a fun-filled learning experience for young girls and an opportunity for them to explore their young minds.” Lecturer Shilpa Ranjit adds. 

Helping run the workshops on the day were our current female Games students, sharing their knowledge with the younger generation and showing first hand that game development is a career path that women can pursue. Alongside this, the new logo and t-shirt design was created by Sophia Rawson - an MDS alumni and previous participant of Girls in Games. 

Senior Lecturer and organiser Tece Bayrak emphasises:

Girls in Games is one of the best examples of collaboration. With this, we create space for the young ladies to give back to the community by volunteering in future events, holding workshops, and even coming back as a keynote. In the past, we had many opportunities to empower our female students and graduates to help grow a voice for diversity in the games industry.”

We were lucky enough to have Lauren Bardebes from Rocketwerkz as our Keynote Speaker. Sharing her own story and providing insight into the current careers in the industry was an inspiring start to the day and allowed the girls to see what careers exist in the world of Game Development.

Game Art Lecturer Tamryn Gretton, who previously worked at local studios, speaks to her experience and the value of the event: “The games industry can often feel intimidating for girls to enter. Girls in Games is a nice way to make them feel welcome and allow them a space to play, create and maybe even consider a career in the industry.”

Girls in Games has been running since 2013 and has no signs of slowing down. A growing local industry and a steady increase in the quality and accessibility of software tools have meant making games is more approachable than ever.

"It is inspiring to see that these students (years 9 and 10 in this case) are able to make a small game in just a few hours. It is about demystifying game development; opening doors and showing that making games is for everyone.” says Jordan Browne, Games Programme Coordinator.

Beyond games, Tece Bayrak discusses how the initiative aims to open broader opportunities for high school students within the wider technology sector in consideration of Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Mathematics:

I see game development to be a cauldron of STEAM and I hope the workshops play a part in increasing diversity in these subjects.”

Girls in Games would not be possible without the ongoing support of key faculty members: Tece Bayrak, Shilpa Ranjit, Samah Hassan and Tamryn Gretton. We would also like to thank the student volunteers who continue to support the workshops. This year’s dedicated team were: Xin Yin Lee, Courtney McCallum-Cadd, Lera Blokhina, Davina Stone, Linda Yang and Rachel Colaco.

If you're interested in taking part in the Girls in Games workshop keep an eye on our website for next year's dates!

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Lauren Bardebes from Rocketwerkz
Our incredible staff and student helpers