Girls on Film Interview

Q&A with Blushbox Co-Founder Katie Gall

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As part of this year's fabulous Girl Germs event we are incredibly excited to bring you GOFF's first games event. Collaborating with the fine folks of Blushbox and Bar SK, Girl Germs attendees can try out a bunch of PC and VR games that prove that games are definitely not just for boys. Katie Gall, co-found of Blushbox and curator of the GOFF game space answered a few questions for us about what she does and what she has in store for us next Saturday.

What led you, and the other women in the collective, to form Blushbox?

We started blushbox as way to establish a community in games that looks at love and intimacy in game design.

As an industry we think video games is catching up as an art form but it has a long road ahead to reach the depth of exploration present in cinema.

We wanted to provide a group that would take responsibility for education, hosting events and encouraging game creators to craft these kinds of stories in a game format.

What have you got planned for us at GOFF?

We’ve lined up some classic independant games from stories of space exploration to fantastical musical terrarium planting.

We’re know a great many designers who are striving to make games for women with meaningful stories and we’re really thrilled to be able to introduce some people to the world of gameplay for the first time.

Storytelling in games does share a lot of aspects with cinema but when you give a person some agency over what happens in a story you enable players to experience a story in many different ways.

Being able to put yourself in someone’s shoes and walk around in their skin is very different to watching a character grow on screen. There are some fantastic female creators out there trying to take games beyond action and gun violence to a place of imagination and emotion and that’s what we’re here for.

Some of the titles we’ll be showing are:

Earthlight - The story of space exploration, the company making this has recently been contracted by Boeing to train astronauts in the Australian Space Program. The game has a female protagonist and a female lead designer.

Luna - A healing story about learning from your mistakes, set in the stars. Designer Robin Hunicke was behind the game Journey and strives to create meaningful and beautiful worlds in her games.

What Remains of Edith Finch - What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of strange tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, you’ll explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories as she explores her family history and tries to figure out why she's the last one in her family left alive. Each story you find lets you experience the life of a new family member on the day of their death, with stories ranging from the distant past to the present day.

The games industry is frequently characterised as an unwelcoming space for women, is this something you’ve found in your career? How important is it to have female mentors and colleagues?

You can’t make a soup with only one ingredient. You need a lot of different foods to make a good recipe.

It is known that both game content and the industry itself is predominantly male, however we’re seeing a shift in the gender makeup thanks to what I feel is largely attributed by the independent games community. One of the defining features of what makes the independent community unique from AAA developed games (studios that are generally funded by a publisher) is that there is more creative freedom. This freedom allows developers to explore unchartered content because they’re not obliged to follow direction from a publisher.

What else do you have planned for the next 12 months?

We have a busy 12 months actually, in October we’ll be interviewing a legendary game designer, Brenda Romero about how to design for emotions and intimacy in game play, we’re hosting more of our XXXhibition showcases and we’re gearing up for Heartbeat, our first symposium which is being held in Byron Bay in January. Essentially we’re trying to facilitate a range of ways the community can start engaging in thinking about games as a meaningful storytelling vehicle and we’re doing this through, making games, hosting events and curating resources.

What is your favourite female-centric movie?

I really love Amelie. It’s so lovely and whimsical and the lense and personality of Amelie is so unique. I’ve seen very few other movies out there that capture the kookiness that Amelie does. I also really enjoyed Wetlands which is a German coming-of-age film about a girl dealing with her parents divorce. It’s gross and weird and features a lot of characteristics that aren’t usually portrayed in female characters such as burping, farting, gross investigation of one's own body, pregnancy, sexuality, self harm etc. It’s a really good film that’s somehow lighthearted but also incredibly deep and relatable.

Katie Stegs