Last weekend, March 5-6, 2016, approximately 20 programmers got together to build video games. Something was different about these 20 game designers; they were all girls between the ages of 9 to 15 that were participating in the Girls Make Games program that was held at Dyn in Manchester, NH. The girls used Stencyl throughout the weekend to build games with breaks to play group video games and discussions about game design and working in technology.
This was the first event Girls Make Games had a small city, as generally the events are held in large cities; such as Boston and New York City. This was how the event in Manchester came about, an employee at Dyn, Kevin Raymond had his daughter attend the event in Boston and worked with a local game designer, Patrick Ryan and the founder of Girls Make Games, Laila Shabir to get the event brought to Manchester. Several employees at Dyn volunteered for the weekend to help at the event; including members of Future Tech Women. I had such a great time volunteering it was amazing to see the girls faces light up when they got their character to move across the game and how far the games came by the end of the second day.
I think what summed up the weekend was near the very end when we had to tell the girls it was time to stop programming their games, we were greeted by 20 groans and “do we have to stop?” When the girls didn’t want to stop programming to play games, you know it has been a successful weekend! They were emailed their games so they could continue to work on them at home.
Be on the lookout for a three week Girls Make Games summer program coming to the Manchester area! We will be sure to send out details as they become available.