Classic novel inspires women-only Game Jam winner

03 September 2014

Game Jam winner Kate Ho

Game Jam winner Kate Ho

A digital adaptation of the classic Scottish novel, Sunset Song, was the winner at Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) women-only Game Jam.

The ‘Y Not Game Jam’ was delivered in partnership with BAFTA Scotland to raise awareness of the under representation of women in the creative industries.

Organised by the School of Engineering and Built Environment, participants were asked to create digital games and applications from scratch in just two days. Held in the Student Association Building, a total of 15 women took part.

 Judges included Luci Black, producer at Media Molecule; Fee Stewart, MD at FormerDroid Ltd; and Isla McTear from BAFTA Scotland. 

The overall winner was Kate Ho, of Tigerface Games, who chose Sunset Song as her inspiration. The novel focuses on the struggles of Chris Guthrie, a young woman who grows up in a farming family in Scotland at the start of the 20th century.

Kate said the idea behind the game is to tell the story of Chris through SMS text messages.

She explained: “Essentially, you play the part of one of Chris’ childhood friends who she hasn't seen for a while. Through texting and replying to her, you find out more about her, and what happens to her throughout the book.

"I wanted to see whether it was possible to retell a classic Scottish story in a way that is more interactive than just reading a book. I was inspired by the way we use text messages and whatsapp to talk to friends. I wanted to see if it would be a good way to tell a story.”

Dr Romana Ramzan, GCU lecturer and Game Jam organiser, said: “The games industry needs more women. Although women account for almost 50 per cent of the game-playing population, they only make up 6 per cent of the workforce. The Y Not Game Jam was a great opportunity to reach out and encourage more women into the industry.”

The Y Not Game Jam also included presentations from Luci Black and Dr Jo Twist, from UKIE. They discussed their experiences in the games industry and why they feel there is a greater need for more women to enter it.

Dr Ramzan said: “We had a great turnout for the Y Not Game Jam and the overall response was fantastic. We partnered BAFTA Scotland to raise awareness of the under representation of women in this industry and to encourage more women to participate in such events. This is the first of many events we will be putting together to address the issue of diversity.”

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