Awards come home to roost for chicken video game jammers
Three friends who met at the University of Northampton have scooped the top award in a highly pressured competition for female video games makers.
2020 Games Art graduates Bethan Buckley and Akvile (Adrian) Vengalyté joined forces with Games Programming grad, Chloe Byrne, to enter the Women In Games games jam – a competition which challenges teams to create a fully playable game from scratch, within five days.
The trio were joint winners of the Best Game category with Eggcellent Care, a fun title which sees you control a chicken trying to protect its eggs from a series of predators, by shooting effluent from its rear end.
They also picked up the Best Art and Best Design awards, and were also shortlisted for Best Music.
“We’re really proud of the game,” said Bethan, who is from Coventry. “It has a really cute style and we pushed ourselves to make it the best we could – it’s an important competition so we wanted to challenge ourselves.
“We were all in different locations for the games jam, so communication and teamwork was really important. To win was an amazing feeling.”
The competition, which attracted 15 entries from around the globe, was organised by the Women in Games organisation, which is aiming to correct the gender imbalance in the games industry.
According to Women in Games, the industry consists of only 28 per cent women, and this is skewed even further in senior positions and certain departments, with nearly 90 per cent of all programming roles in the industry fulfilled by men.
Bethan said: “I hope things will change, but there is still this stigma around the industry, which I am sure puts plenty of women off from pursuing video games as a career choice.
“It’s good to see that software companies are trying to evolve, and make games that appeal to everyone, as we move away from the stereotype that only guys play games. In reality, everyone plays games, whether on their phone, a console or computer. We had a fairly even split on our Games Art course, which is encouraging, and I’m glad that Chloe, Adrian and I have been able to get our work out there, via the games jam.”
Since returning to her hometown of Plunge, in Lithuania, following graduation, Adrian, has been busy picking up freelance projects, which have seen her design characters for fantasy games.
She said: “When I came to the University of Northampton, I knew nothing about making games. But when I finished my course this year, I felt I had massively improved and had developed my skills to the point that I am now able to work in the industry.”
Chloe, who is from Northampton and programmed Eggcellent Care, said: “I was the same, in that when I came to uni I ‘d never programmed anything. But the course taught me everything I needed to know, and it’s definitely the career I want.”