Discover more from GAM3 ON: Level Up Your Gaming News
Women Leading Game Studios: Boba Studios Paves the Way for Inclusivity and Representation
In a male-dominated industry like gaming, the emergence of women leaders is a significant and much-needed change. Boba Studios, spearheaded by Ashley Guchhait and Kyrstin Cooksey, stands as a refreshing example of women-led innovation in the gaming world. What started as a senior year project at the Maryland Institute College of Art has blossomed into a game studio with a mission to create inclusive and engaging games for women. In this article, we explore the importance of women leading game studios, delve into Boba Studios’ creative process, their commitment to supporting women gamers, their engagement with the community, and their thrilling Kickstarter campaign. Aspiring developers, particularly women and people of color, will also find valuable advice to navigate the gaming industry successfully.
This article is based on Games for Gamers 13: Unveiling Diversity & Creativity: Ashley & Kyrstin.
Why Women Leading Game Studios is Important
The gaming industry has long been dominated by male perspectives and narratives. However, the emergence of women leaders like Ashley Gutreit and Kirsten Kotsi from Boba Studios signals a pivotal shift. Their creative vision and dedication to making games for women bring fresh perspectives, unique experiences, and empowering narratives to the forefront. By leading the way, they inspire other women to join the industry and challenge gender norms, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and diverse gaming landscape.
Creating Games for Women
Boba Studios’ commitment to creating games for women stems from their personal experiences and the realization that the industry lacked space for women game designers. Ashley Gutreit’s dream of having her own game studio since childhood motivated her to tell her own stories and create games that resonated with her experiences. Recognizing the lack of representation and opportunities for women in the gaming industry, Boba Studios not only aims to create games for women but also uplifts other women indie developers, fostering an inclusive space for all women in the gaming community.
The Development Process: From Thesis to Color Mechanics
Boba Studios’ game, Squirrelly, Rerouted, showcases their creative process and innovative approach to game development. Combining storytelling, fine arts, and love for puzzle games, Ashley and Kirsten devised a color-based mechanic that sets their game apart. The 2.5D puzzle adventure game revolves around color theory, allowing players to mix and match colors to interact with the environment and solve puzzles. By immersing players in a visually stunning world, Boba Studios offers a unique and engaging gaming experience that challenges problem-solving skills.
The Representation of Women in the Gaming Industry
Boba Studios’ focus on creating games for women is rooted in its commitment to representing women in the gaming industry. Their games cater primarily to young adult and adult women, and they actively work to support and empower women gamers. With around 90% of their online downloads and event visitors being women, Boba Studios prioritizes their women players, creating spaces that resonate with their interests and preferences. Their involvement in organizations like IGA DC’s chapter further demonstrates their dedication to promoting inclusivity and equality in the gaming industry.
Engaging with Boba Studios Outside of IRL Events
Boba Studios distinguishes itself by its transparent and authentic connection with its audience. They understand the importance of building a strong community and have actively sought ways to engage with their players. Beyond physical events, Boba Studios maintains an online presence, sharing updates, and behind-the-scenes content, and interacting with their community. Through their online platforms and Discord server, players can provide feedback, suggestions, and ideas for the game. Boba Studios values and listens to their players, making the gaming experience more enjoyable and inclusive.
Kickstarter Campaign: Bringing Squirrelly Roo Plushies to Life
In an exciting development, Boba Studios has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring Squirrelly RooPlushies to life. The campaign aims to create adorable, high-quality plush toys featuring the lovable character from their game, Squirrelly, Rerouted. By involving their community in the process, Boba Studios not only provides fans with an opportunity to own a physical representation of their beloved game but also allows them to support the studio’s growth and future projects. The Kickstarter campaign offers various tiers of rewards, including exclusive merchandise, art prints, and even the chance to have your name featured in the game credits.
Advice for Aspiring Developers in the Gaming Industry, Particularly Women and People of Color
Establishing a Strong Support Group
Getting started in the gaming industry can be tough, especially for women and people of color who may face additional challenges and barriers. That’s why it’s crucial for aspiring developers to establish a strong support group right from the beginning. Surrounding themselves with people who believe in their talent and potential, and who will support them throughout their journey, can make a significant difference. Having a support system helps aspiring developers stay motivated and resilient, even when faced with discouragement. It’s important to remember that they are not alone, and there are many others interested in what they’re doing and willing to support them.
Perseverance and Resilience
In any industry, there will always be negative voices and individuals who try to bring others down. Aspiring developers, particularly women, and people of color, need to remember that they are the only ones who can decide to stop pursuing their dreams. It’s crucial to stay determined and never give up. While there may be unsupportive individuals along the way, there will also be countless others cheering them on. Focusing on the positive feedback and pushing forward is key. Aspiring developers possess the power to overcome any obstacle and achieve their goals.
Seizing Every Opportunity to Connect
When it comes to finding their people, one valuable piece of advice for aspiring developers is to seize every opportunity that comes their way. They never know what they might find or who they might connect with. Being open and present in the moment is essential. Organizing and attending events, both big and small, can lead to amazing opportunities. Whether it’s participating in major events like Otakon or engaging in smaller gatherings like Artscape, aspiring developers can meet like-minded individuals who share their passion. Even chance encounters can pave the way for meaningful connections and collaborations.
Investing in Relationships and Authenticity
Investing in relationships is another crucial aspect of success in the gaming industry. Aspiring developers should recognize the uniqueness and worth of what they are doing and take pride in it. Building a committed and driven team is vital, as it requires hard work and perseverance. It’s important for aspiring developers to communicate to themselves that their work is valuable and worth pursuing. They should focus on those who appreciate and support their work, as not everyone will understand or appreciate it. By investing their effort in people who resonate with their vision, aspiring developers can cultivate a loyal following and create a sense of community. In the gaming world, there is no need for competition; instead, aspiring developers should find joy in creating spaces where people can connect with their work. Embracing their interests, working together, and staying true to themselves and their creative vision are key factors in paving their own paths and contributing to the evolution of the gaming industry.
Boba Studios, led by Ashley Gutreit and Kirsten Kotsi, stands at the forefront of women-led game studios, paving the way for inclusivity and representation in the gaming industry. Through their creative vision, commitment to creating games for women, and active engagement with the community, they are reshaping the narrative and fostering a more diverse and inclusive gaming landscape. Boba Studios’ Kickstarter campaign further demonstrates their dedication to their audience and the growth of their studio. Aspiring developers, particularly women, and people of color, can draw inspiration from their journey and valuable advice to navigate the gaming industry successfully and create their own impactful games. With Boba Studios leading the charge, the future of women in gaming looks brighter than ever.
This post is sponsored by Blockstars
Blockstars’ mission is to enable human connections, competition & collaboration that motivate a desire to be remarkable. Blockstars is developing an amazing free-to-play mobile game that will be released this summer. Stay updated by signing up for the newsletter here.
Women Leading Game Studios: Boba Studios Paves the Way for Inclusivity and Representation was originally published in gam3on on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.