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The Difference Engine Initiative is Opening Doors for Female Game Designers

The Toronto-based non-profit The Hand Eye Society is helping female game designers get their name and their game and audience.

The Hand Eye Society is a Toronto-based non-profit with an eye on supporting the local videogame community. Their collective efforts aspire to help people make games, connect game makers in a community of their peers and their audience, and to foster diversity in game creation, as well as the public perception of games. One of their current projects is called The Difference Engine Initiative, bringing female developers into their spotlight.

By introducing new gamemakers from under-represented groups into our community, the Difference Engine Initiative aims to diversify what kind of videogames are made. Our first focus is women, and so we have named this version of the Difference Engine after Ada Lovelace.

The Difference Engine is broken up into two six-week incubator sessions, and the first one has just been rounded up. The result is six new games, free to play online, from six talented women.

Icarus by Sagan Yee is "loosely based on the Greek myth of Icarus," only instead of building wax wings, you make a jet pack. Additionally, Icarus focuses less on combat (read: there is no combat), instead focusing on a character-driven story and lots of reading.

Salsa Loco by Stephanie Fisher is an "anxiety-inducing top-down action game about harvesting vegetables for salsa." Progressing through each level means moving quickly to defend your crops from pests before your time runs out.

Dame Game by Zoe Quinn is "a point and click comedy/mystery game about an apartment full of nerds and some missing take-out," while simultaneously integrating external websites into the game world. It looks a lot like an indie-noire game

Unicorn Justice Fighter/Unicorn Robber Baron by Una Lee is "part action game, part political economy simulation." A strange combination to match the name, until you realize that these unicorns are of the cut-throat bastard variety.

Adeline's Elopement by Cecily Carver is "a simple stealth game with a Victorian setting." The protagonist, Adeline, must duck and cover like Solid Snake or Adam Jensen to ensure her secret escape from the tight shackles of her parents' strict, tyrannical rule.

Kreayshawn: the Game by Beth Maher is a light ode to the American rapper Kreayshawn, inspired by the artist's infectious track called "Gucii Gucci." The 2D side-scrolling platformer captures the feel of the video surprisingly well, considering it only took two weeks to complete.

The application deadline for the second incubation cycle was up in the middle of July, which means the release window for next batch of games isn't too far off in the future. Be sure to check out the website if you're interested in game development or live in the Toronto area.

Source: The Hand Eye Society.


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