- Could you tell us a bit about how you started out in the games industry?
In 2012 I started studying Games Design at RMIT in Melbourne. After this I completed my Honours where I examined feminine representation in games. I officially entered the industry at the end of 2015 when I established a company, High Tea Games, with a business partner. I’ve also attended and volunteered for industry events such as Freeplay and Unite.
- What inspired you to join the industry? Was there a particular game you were obsessed with as a kid?
I didn’t really think of games design as an industry until 2010 when I visited the RMIT open day. There I saw the course being offered and it sounded like an exciting creative industry to be in. As a child I loved (and still love) The Sims franchise. The Sims inspires players to become the creators, and that aspect of game design is one of the reasons I decided to join the industry.
- What project(s) are you currently working on?
Currently at my company, High Tea Games, we are working on a point-and-click murder mystery for iOS and Android. Personally, I’m also working on a Visual Novel that thematically explores tarot cards and mechanically plays with the notion of choice in interactive fiction.
- What particular types of games or aspects of interactive storytelling interest you?
I love how games and interactive storytelling explore the mechanic of choice. I feel it allows stories to become more of a personal journey for the player. I love any game that makes me think through using choice or puzzles.
- Do you think approaches to interactive storytelling differ along gender lines? If so, how?
Hmm, I don’t think so. Everyone will have a different approach to interactive storytelling. I feel it depends on the story being told and how it should be told.
- What are some of your favourite games created by a woman or featuring a female main character?
I love Nina Freeman’s games How do you Do It? and Cibele. They both explore notions of sexuality and growing up. A few female protagonists that I love are Jade from Beyond Good and Evil and Eva Rosalene from To The Moon. They’re both strong characters who demonstrate their strength through emotional and mental characteristics, rather than physical ones. Finally I love games that allow me to create my own female protagonist. The Dragon Age and Mass Effect series’ by Bioware does this extremely well.
- Which upcoming games are you most looking forward to being released and why?
Oh! So many! I’ll narrow it down to four. Firstly, Unravel which was just released. It’s a puzzle platformer that features an adorable main character, Yarny who unravels as they explore the landscape. I’m looking forward to it as it explores themes of love and travel. Secondly, I’m looking forward to a role playing game called Horizon Zero Dawn. It features a female protagonist called Aloy who is a hunter trying to survive the post-apocalyptic world she belongs to. The protagonist looks interesting and I’m excited to explore the story behind the world created. Thirdly, I’m excited to play Persona 5, a Japanese role playing game. The Persona games are known for exploring themes of friendship and I’m excited to play a new cast of characters which explores this. Finally, I’m most excited for the latest Phoenix Wright game. The series follows Phoenix Wright, a lawyer, as he solves a series of murder cases that happen in the most unlikely ways. I enjoy the cast of characters it features and am excited for how the latest instalment expands the universe.
- What are your tips for anyone wanting to break into the games industry?
My two biggest tips are make friends and make games. There are some absolutely lovely people in the games industry who are extremely welcoming and will be willing to help if you reach out to them. Networking can be daunting so I suggest researching any local game dev meets and go along and try to meet some new people. It’s very important to make yourself known in the industry. And if you’re passionate about games, make them! There are many free tools out there that you can use such as Unity or Game Maker. Or, if you’re not a programmer, Twine is a fantastic engine that allows you to create your own interactive stories.
- Are there any Twitter feeds, websites, Facebook pages, forums etc you could recommend for people who are interested in games and interactive storytelling?
I highly recommend the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) website. They have chapters all over the world and usually use Facebook to communicate local events or jobs that have become available.