A Melbourne Exhibition Dedicated To Australian Women In Gaming

Image: SPARX, programmed by Maru Nihoniho of Metia Interactive

Code Breakers is a new exhibition from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne's Federation Square, focusing on the achievements made by women in the Australian and New Zealand games industry.

The first of its kind in the country, the interactive hands-on event opens late July.

Image: Avatar from Tearaway Unfolded 2015, directed by Siobhan Reddy, published by Media Molecule

There will be a whole bunch of games to play from a variety of established and emerging women in the Australian and New Zealand games industry. We're talking lesser-known indie titles and yet-to-be released games to big-name classics, platformers and role-playing strategy digital board to graphical adventure and racing games - directors, programmers, developers, digital artists, writers, producers and designers will have their work featured.

The games on show include Ninja Pizza Girl, Armello and Need For Speed: No Limits.

But why does this even need to exist?

"Despite women making up almost 50 per cent of game players, they account for less than 10 per of the games industry," says Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO of ACMI. "Code Breakers seeks to shatter stereotypes and celebrate the women who are breaking down barriers and building vibrant, creative careers within a global industry that is increasingly diverse. Our hope is that the industry will soon reflect the diversity of the gaming community it seeks to serve."

Code Breakers asks a few questions, as well: What does a more inclusive games industry look like? How do we encourage this diversity?

Image: Ninja Pizza Girl 2015, developed by Nicole Stark, published by Disparity Games

Each creator in the exhibition reflects on the (sometimes challenging) journey they've made into this male-dominated industry, revealing the human stories behind their games through a custom built exhibition audio tour.

"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," says Rebecca Fernandez, a games programmer who worked on recently released PS4/Steam titles Tricky Towers and Armello.

Image: Lisy Kane, Producer, League Of Geeks
Image: Siobhan Reddy, co-founder and studio director, Media Molecule

Some of the women featured in the exhibition include Lisy Kane (Producer at League of Geeks, co-founder of Girl Geek Academy and one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the games category), Katharine Neil (independent Game Developer and director of Escape From Woomera), Maru Nihoniho (Founder and Managing Director of Metia Interactive and recipient of a New Zealand Order of Merit for her service to the gaming industry) and Siobhan Reddy (Co-Founder and Studio Director of Media Molecule, named in Fortune's 10 most powerful women in gaming).

ACMI says Code Breakers has been curated in collaboration with an advisory committee made up of key industry figures Kate Inabinet (Animation and Games Industry lecturer at RMIT and creator of education based games for children), Helen Stuckey (media arts curator, researcher and Program Manager of Games at RMIT) and Leena van Deventer (Co-Director of Women in Development, Games and Everything Tech (WIDGET), game developer, writer and educator).

The exhibition is free, and runs from 25 July to 5 November 2017. You can get more info here.


    Fantastic news! ACMI always put a fair amount of effort into their exhibitions, so I have no doubt this'll be worth a visit or two.

    Sounds pretty cool, might mosey on down when I'm over for PAX!

      All conveniently close, ACMI's about a 15 min walk from the convention centre or an amble over the bridge and a free tram.

      I forgot about that, I shall do the same ;)

        Will probably be a good idea to pre-order tickets, more than a few PAXers will have the same idea.

    I just want more good games, I don't care who makes them.

      nether does the industry, they dont care if you a woman or a guy its the lest exist industry ever.

    How come we never get an event celebrating MEN in gaming? Pisses me right off all these woman only celebrations and events.

    I'd probably not go to this.

    I don't *need* to know anything more about the unsung work from women locally, in games. That reads poor but I am pretty au fait with some of those games already.

    I don't *need* to learn about some of the names listed by Rae in the article, because I already am aware of their output.

    ACMI hasn't exactly focused on games and gaming and the people at the coal-face for what seems like a bloody long time, so this is a good thing.

    If anything, trolls notwithstanding (you know who you are), attitudes of people who perhaps share the sentiment reflected in the comments above should be open to visiting, and seeing something they are either a) unaware of b) wanting to learn about.

    It's too easy to pick on fools who gum up this or the CS:GO women's league article with their "what about the blokes" comments, I'd rather try and appeal to someone who doesn't know they might have a cracking good time by going to the event.

    It's an academic event in snooty Melbourne anyway, it's not like that's unheard of. I hope they take it on the road.

    Will Kotaku be sending their ladies to cover the event?

    Much like game development, game journalism is a huge dudefest with a disparaging percentage of female journalists. Which I guess isn't too related to the topic, but I think it's as important to keep in mind.

      Very important, could be considered an ethical issue.

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