Women are taking over the gaming world
It’s time to give massive applause to all the women making strides in the gaming industry. Whether through design, writing, or producing, their meaningful creations rival the most famous male coders, adding exciting new voices, stories and perspectives.
Don’t just take our word for it. We’ve collected five of the most exciting women-made games in one place so you can see them for yourself.
The Gardens Between: surreal, beautiful storytelling
The Gardens Between is a series of time-based puzzles that speak to a bond between two best friends, Arina and Frendt. They embark on an emotional journey of shared experiences, figuring out what they must leave behind and what they should never let go. The tasks and imagery include objects from the characters’ childhood memories, like beachballs, paint buckets and cushion fortresses. It’s a short, heartfelt game that has won many hearts.
The game’s narrative designer and writer, Brooke Mags, was named one of Australia and New Zealand’s top 100 most influential women in games. She’s currently working with Remedy Entertainment in Helsinki. Many of Brooke’s creative endeavours have become award-winning game titles, including Paperbark, Florence, Control and The Gardens Between.
Intergalactic Space Princess: girl power space-adventuring
Intergalactic Space Princess is a game about finding your place in the universe.
It follows Meline, who, while dressed as a Space Princess, gets eaten by a giant worm. The comedic adventure begins when she wakes in another dimension and is mistaken for the real Space Princess. Working alongside coders Izzy Gramp and Alison Walker, designer Cherie Davidson loves how “gaming hybridises creative, interactive, lucid experiences with technical problem-solving.” Her obsession with gaming began when she started drawing Sailor Moon – all over everything she owned. This passion led her to study digital art and programming at university and then build an impressive portfolio, including games such as Tearaway Unfolded, Wander, Dreams and her favourite, Intergalactic Space Princess.
Ninja Pizza Girl: pizzas against bullies
In one of Australia’s most popular indie games, we follow Gemma, a 16-year-old pizza delivery ninja who needs to fight for her ideals against the ultimate adversary – teenage bullies. Designed with an old-school action player vibe, Ninja Pizza Girl teaches emotional resilience – and fast pizza delivery! An absolute must-play for anyone who likes pizza or hates bullies.
Designer Nicole Start founded Disparity Games in 2011 alongside Jason, her fellow games veteran and husband. The family-based company creates seriously fun games while highlighting issues like bullying and pay equality.
Armello: animals, magic, chaos
Think Game of Thrones with animal protagonists – this Grimm-inspired game has won countless international awards and boasts a 9/10 on Steam and 4.5/5 on Google Play. Armello has subterfuge, spells and tactical chaos as you venture through on the quest for the throne – a must-play for anyone who loves an excellent table-board game. The game’s producer is Australian-born Lisy Kane, who was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 in 2017. She ranks alongside the best game makers in the world. As a videogame producer, she runs production initiatives for Kepler Interactive and the Kowloon Nights games fund. She co-founded Girl Geek Academy in 2014, aimed at helping millions more women enter the gaming industry by 2025. One of Lisy’s greatest feats has been co-creating the hugely popular Armello game alongside League of Geeks.
Objects in Space: 2D stealth retro fun
If you like a bit of old-school, 2D strategy, Objects in Space is worth checking out. Customise your ship, and then head out into the star system to trade – but you’ll need your wits about you. There are pirates, criminals, corrupt governments and more to disrupt your day, but don’t expect that fast-twitch action you get with more modern games – it’s all about the strategy. Built around a series of incredible shorter narratives, Objects in Space lets players choose how much or little storytelling they want in their gameplay.
One of the game’s lead programmers and designers, Elissa Harris, sets out to create the style of games she loved most as a child – slower, more narrative-driven, and with just the right amount of 2D point-and-click stealth-action combat. Harris co-founded Sydney-based studio, Flat Earth Games with her brother Leigh, based in Sydney.
Come press play!
The Code Breakers exhibition has something the whole family can get into, whatever your skill level. Fight for the throne in Armello, defeat bullies in Ninja Pizza Girl, or reveal your true identity in Intergalactic Space Princess. But, more importantly, get to know the women behind the creations.
Is your mind running wild with creative ideas? Visit the Code Breakers exhibition and get inspired!
Story by Helen Steemson, Creative Director, Words for Breakfast
Hero Image: Intergalactic Space Princess (w Izzy Gramp): Licensed courtesy of Izzy Gramp (Design & Art), Cherie Davidson (Code & Production), Allison Walker (Audio).
Steemson, Helen. 2022. Five Must-play Women-made Games. The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). First published: 16 December 2022. URL: https://www.motat.nz/collections-and-stories/stories/women-made-games