A game about bullying was the winner of this year’s Girls With Games Demo Day.
Girls Make Games is a three-week long summer camp for girls between the ages of 8-17. This year, 33 teams learned to design and program video games. The top five teams then had the chance to pitch their projects to a panel of industry judges during Demo Day.
Team Sarcastic Shark Clouds from Seattle, Wash. won with their game “Shredded Secrets,” a multi-narrative 2D sidescroller that examines bullying from both the victim’s and bully’s perspectives.
“They [Sarcastic Shark Clouds] told me, ‘We never thought we’d win’ and ‘We never thought our game was good enough,'” Girls Make Games founder Laila Shabir said on the PlayStation Blog. “Not only was it good enough to impress the industry experts, we’re going to make the full game over the next year and publish it on Steam and console.”
The other Demo Day 2018 finalists included a murder mystery called “Detective Blobfish”; “Luka,” a horror game about a mother’s search for her son; an oceanic educational game called “Kaiyo”; and fantasy puzzle title “The Return.”
Shabir said she hopes Girls Make Games can give girls everywhere a sense of validation and access to education — things she said she lacked in her home country.
“I grew up in a place that I could never call a home,” she said. “For 18 years, my family lived on a visa tied to my father’s job in the UAE. And the people in the UAE had a term for folks like us, kharji, which literally translates to ‘outsider.’ There, in an Arabic country, I felt free inside my house and shackled on the outside. I lived in a place where expectations on me always wanted to limit me in who I was, what I could say, and what I could do.
“Then one day, my family got the internet, and I suddenly had a portal into the world outside. I learned that it was possible to fulfill my dreams: to go to college, to start my own business, to empower other women to do the same.”