ACMI (The Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is holding a first of its kind exhibition in Melbourne, Australia called Code Breakers: Women in Games. Code Breakers is a free exhibition, premiering Tuesday the 25th of July, 2017 at ACMI, located in Federation Square, Melbourne. The exhibition celebrates emerging and established female game makers in an interactive and immersive setting.
Before we get started let’s look at the stats for a moment, they’re quite eye opening. Despite women making up almost 50% of game players, they account for less than 10% of the games industry. This is because game development is still a male-dominated industry, it’s an industry which has notoriously excluded women from its games or overtly sexualised them when they have been included. So it’s little wonder this has been such a hard road for recognition for female game makers and developers to pave. Struggling through the adversities of sometimes hostile workplaces and even extreme cyber bulling or worse, the commitment and sheer passion for games and the industry these women have is mind blowing.
Looking at the big name titles in gaming of the last couple of years it’s clear to see this male-dominated world is changing. However, while we’ve come a long way from the days of women in games only ever appearing as a love interest to the male protagonist or as hyper sexualised pixel candy for male gamers, it’s still far from where we should be based on the statistics I mentioned above. This is why it’s so extremely important that we continue to support women in games and game development as much as we can and in every way possible. Rebecca Fernandez, a games programmer who worked on recently released titles: Tricky Towers and Armello has said “I think this exhibition is an excellent way to give Australians a peek behind the curtain of game development, and highlight that women are playing an integral role within the industry. I really hope it helps to inspire girls and women to begin making their own games.”
This exhibition will be jam packed with female talent. Whether it’s making commercial hits or indie titles, these women know games, contributing as directors, programmers, developers, artists, writers, producers and designers. Inside the exhibition you’ll find no shortage of things to do and things to peak your interest; you can crush bullies in Ninja Pizza Girl, run with animals in Armello, or race suped-up cars in Need for Speed: No Limits. With games made by emerging and established game makers, from platformers, RPGs, and digital board games to graphical adventures and puzzlers, there’s something for everyone, at every skill level.
But it’s not all just fun and games, Code Breakers will also ponder important questions in this post Gamergate landscape: What does a more inclusive games industry look like and how do we encourage this diversity? Each game maker reflects on the sometimes challenging journey they’ve made into this male-dominated industry, revealing the human stories behind their games via a custom built audio tour available on the exhibition. Code Breakers: Women in Games premieres at ACMI on Tuesday 25 July and runs until Sunday 5 November 2017. Information for the exhibition can be found at ACMI: Code Breakers.