Ubisoft’s E3 press conference set the Internet ablaze with conversations about the lack of women in gaming, but in reality the issue goes farther back than that. Publishers tend to cater their video games to the taste of males, even though women make up half of the consumer base. The video game industry also lacks women developing video games, and while the number the number has since doubled, it’s still much lower than it could be. Fortunately, I haven’t had too much trouble finding gaming-related projects by women on Kickstarter during my time writing this column, and I hope to see more as each week passes.
Ninja Pizza Girl
Project By: Disparity Games
Goal: $35,000 (AUD)
Current Funds: $18,681 (AUD)
End: August 13, 2014
Ninja Pizza Girl is a game that takes a stance against bullying, and while it’s not the first game on Kickstarter to do so—the immediate example I think of is SumoBoy—it does come close to making things relatable, even though it is clearly over-the-top. For instance, the protagonist is based on the developers’ actual daughter who, in between constantly encountering other, sometimes spiteful, teenagers, delivers pizza and practices Kung Fu. While the daughter seems to have a normal schedule for a teenager, she does just the right amount and kind of extracurricular activities that’s cool enough to turn into an imaginative platformer.
In an attempt to deliver pizzas in 20 minutes or less in the most dangerous city, Ninja Pizza Girl must run on top of rooftops in this endless runner. The problem is she must deal with teenagers who apparently want to make her job harder by ruining her life—not just with words but through violence. Fortunately, the protagonist of this endless runner is more than a capable runner—she’s a ninja! And with such capable fighting skills, I’m surprised she’s the one who is being bullied.
Ninja Pizza Girl tries to use more than gore in order to make an emotional impact on the player. All of the other teenagers are dressed as ninjas and work for a megacorporation. If they catch the pizza girl at any point in the games levels, they don’t just allow her to take her own life; they humiliate her by throwing garbage and insults at her. Fortunately, the game is designed to emulate a similar flow to the parkour-heavy Mirror’s Edge, so avoiding these nasty teenage ninjas should help players feel nothing to worry about.
Following in line with the anti-bullying themes, Disparity Games wants Ninja Pizza Girl to be as inclusive as possible. If you’re new to platformers or video games in general, then don’t fret; Ninja Pizza Girl will help you obtain your first yellow belt..
The Hole Story
Project By: LearnDistrict Inc.
Current Funds: $8,825
End: August 8, 2014
The Hole Story is a Kickstarter project that’s made possible by the Girls Make Games Demo Day. It’s a competition that challenges developers, who are girls from ages between elementary school and high school, to form a team and create a game within three weeks. In this case, the team that won created the adventure puzzle game The Hole Story; however, five teams were able to use their projects to pitch their idea to big-time developers like Tim Schaefer of Double Fine, who is no stranger to Kickstarter himself. As shown off in the Kickstarter trailer, these girls are seriously talented, and keep in mind that they are anywhere from elementary school to high school in terms of age. I suppose the idea is to get them interested in developing games while they are young in order to help them prepare for their future careers.
As for the game itself, it’s an exploration RPG about a girl named Wendy who is transported into a whimsical fantasy world after discovering a portal while digging holes in her yard. The world is filled with the kinds of creatures you’d expect as well as a royal family, complete with a princess. The princess is kidnapped, and Wendy sets off to rescue her using her wits and shovel. Most of the puzzles are solved by, well, digging, which nets you gear that you can use to customize your character’s stats. There will be fifteen challenges, all presented in increasingly difficult riddles. The more you dig, the more secrets you may discover including hidden levels.
What I like most about this Kickstarter is reading the young developers inspirations for getting into game development. While there are some who answered with games that gamers my age (mid-twenties) would be expected to say, I was caught off guard by some of the more modern titles like Minecraft and To The Moon. It puts things into perspective about different kinds of games that each generation plays, and I can’t wait to see how they influence these young girls future careers in game development. Judging by the fantastic concept art that’s on the Kickstarter page, I’m sure they are well on their way.
Have you seen any interesting projects on Kickstarter that you think deserve a mention? Are you a developer who is currently running a Kickstarter campaign? Let us know in the comments section, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.