Girls & Video Gaming…What’s all that about? 12.09.17 National Video Gaming Day!

Today is National Video Gaming Day. Yay!!!  Which is Brill that our Industry of both the Gamer and the Producer is being recognised.  In true Gamer Style I too will be spending some time knocking out a few rounds online or with some of the guys at the studio.

As I was thinking about all this Video Gaming malarkey and what it means to me as a Female Gamer, it seemed appropriate to choose today to share a little bit about my own Gaming experience.

It was few years back now (really…I prefer not to say the exact year) but the big fat brown Atari console had been on the scene a short time and this was my first encounter  with Video Gaming…it wasn’t even my own console but belonged to the brother of a friend and we stole goes on it when he was out.  I remember being memorised and intrigued by the game  PONG and wondering how did it all work?  I was still coming to terms with how the Telly worked so this just blew my mind!  It was amazing!  old tellyLater, I got into the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 (again neither of these were my consoles but belonged to my brother and a boyfriend).  It’s this bit that I find really interesting about how Girl Gamers…(Erm…we didn’t even have that name in those days) were viewed.  As Females in general, in those days…yeah the good old days…the view tended to be ‘small feet gets you closer to the kitchen sink’.  As a ‘tomboy’ all my mates were generally male and I noticed growing up that they didn’t have to do the same chores as I did…Cleaning the house, Ironing, cooking, washing the pots…to name a few.  Their tasks tended to be cool things like…building a tree house, making a tyre swing, fixing the car or getting their dreams and prayers answered with a spanking new games console for Christmas.

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It’s not that I minded doing the chores, it was accepted in society that that is what you did, it’s just there was a direct distinction between Male and Female Species and generally the Male ones seemed to have the fun while the Female one’s had to do loads of stuff.

I know it’s similar in the wild…the Lioness does the hunting and endangers her life while the Lion just hangs around with all the spare Lionesses and does nothing except hump and roar when the call comes for it.  This picture below details this exactly.  If these lions had games controllers in their hands then you’d know exactly where I was coming from. male lions copy

Pack of Male Lions. (photo courtesy of Google National Geographic Magazine 2012)

As it was the only keyboard I had was a ‘Bontempi’  with 24 keys embedded into beige plastic and I could play silent night on it.  It wasn’t a games console it didn’t even have a demo button on it.  I remember having to persuade my parents to buy my younger brother a games console/computer – the legendary ‘Commodore 64Plus4‘ Purchased from Dad’s savings from Woolworths, it was all I could do to be sure I could just get my hands on one.  If I asked maybe, just maybe Dad would have said yes…but it was 1980’s England and that just didn’t happen.

It hopelessly just seemed the normal thing that Males could have the consoles and Girls couldn’t.  sad face

My addiction and love of Video Gaming was soothed by the gentle sound of Data Cassette’s being filed through on wet Saturday afternoons in ‘Just Micro’ in Sheffield, whilst trying to persuade my brother or boyfriend to buy the games I wanted to play.  On some solitary afternoons of my youth I’d ‘wagg it’ from school and could be found in the Arcade on the Space Invaders Arcade Machine.

My first real experience of Home Console Video Gaming came with a husband and Children in tow and was the best thing since sliced bread and Microsoft’s answer to unicorn dreams…the Original XBOX.  Ginormous in size and with health and safety instructions in the booklet, that stated ‘don’t drop on a small child’…it was utterly amazing!

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My first online multiplayer experience was in HALO 2.  Master Chief…created a hero in me and this was one of the best escapism’s ever.  A Sci-Fi story where you became the macho Hero and it was you who would save everyone and everything.

halo 2.jpgThere was only a few hardcore Girl-gamers online at that time and Microsoft had not yet brought out the Female version of Master Chief – although his dependable companion Cortana was pretty cool.  I had two female friends online at the time and 98 male friends on my friends list.  My late friend Gary always said;

 ‘Having a female in the online gaming room made a difference…it made the team pull together better, made the males chivalrous and toned down the language and trash talking.” 

Things have got better for girl-gamers and the industry is recognising us and promoting us positively.  It’s great that the Industry is seeing value in the Female Gamer both in employment and directing sales.  Yet I still feel we have some way to go.  Online gaming is still a very much male dominated environment.  I know this because every game I play online has at least 8 out of 10 players that are male.  It could be the type of games I play maybe, yet I still see a lack of Female representatives within games; but happily we are getting there.

All I know is I love Video Gaming.  It ticks boxes of immersion and provokes dramatic creative thinking in me; the same experience I can get from a book, film or stage play.  Great games give a productive sense of achievement, entertainment, can help develop social interaction particularly for those who struggle to leave the house through anxiety or disability and can help develop skills and interest from the environment that the Gamer experiences.

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Stop-motion Animation ‘The Present – The Anguish of the Unexpected’.

A while ago one of our students told us about a time when he struggled to open presents given to him because of the unexpected that lay beneath the wrappings. He explained how it caused him such a lot of anguish and anxiety that he would just hide the gift in the wardrobe or under the bed.  He would keep checking it was there over a period of time but it would still take an enormous amount of courage to open the gift.  

This little stop motion animation created in Lego is about that experience.   The little lego-man in the film is worried about whatever is in the package and how will this change something?  How will he deal with the Anguish of the unexpected.

Originally this was going to be posted during Autism Awareness Week but wasn’t quite finished in time.  We hope you enjoy it.  Check it out on our youtube Channel or through our website at www.sparkyink.co.uk

Give us a like and a follow/subscribe.  Thanks.

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Inking & Thinking in Games Design – Sparky PONG 2017

Sparky Ink is helping our inkers & thinkers create stories in digital format through Games Design & Development.  As part of our introduction to our  Games Design and Development Workshops, we teach students how to create a version of Atari’s first ever digital game of ‘PONG’.  Creating this game sparks lots of skills, tormented looks, shouts of joy or terror depending on what goes right and wrong.  Our inkers & thinkers start to think more about the End user, play-ability and what makes a game worthwhile.  As well as gaining some skills of understanding the engine, appearance and sounds. We usually make this game using the Game Maker 2 Engine by yoyo Games Ltd.  

I’ve put a quick games capture of a simple version which can be found on our website at www.sparkyink.co.uk  (When I recorded it there was a slight lag on the sound)  This gives an idea of a first game to build.  

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If you are interested in learning some basics of Game Design & Development please contact us either via the website or our facebook or Twitter page.  All our workshops are Autism and Disability Friendly.

We are looking to run a virtual Webinar Games Design & Development Workshop in the near future.  Contact us for more info.

 

 

FREE! TASTER SESSIONS AT SPARKY INK STUDIO

We have set up an event page with EVENTBRITE for our taster sessions.  Checkout the page at www.eventbrite.co.uk

If you live in the Chesterfield and surrounding area and would like to try one of our Stop-motion Animation Taster Sessions.  

Please contact the Studio either through our webpage at wwwsparkyink.co.uk or email us at ginger@sparkyink.co.uk.  

Please note if you book a ticket you still need to contact us prior to the event.

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Snail Race – Back Garden Eventing

So if you have some time to sit and chill you might want to watch this little Snail Race.  Filmed on a wet soggy day about a month ago.  The snail Race is an exciting way to use a Samsung S5, a Husky Studio Dog and a piece of Chalk.  The stars of the race are of course two well conditioned Snails each with a massive footprint and greased up ready for success.  Find it here on our youtube channel SparkyInkStudio

This little video is part of our Autism Awareness Week 2017 specials,

If you are a youtube subscriber please subscribe and like.  Thank you for watching.snail race copy.jpg

 

A Crazy Fun Taster Session – Human Animation

As a Studio we regularly nip out and about to do taster sessions of the workshops that we offer.  Its a great chance to meet likeminded people at events and interact with local social groups.  At the beginning of the year we were invited to Chesterfield Autism Acceptance Group who meet at Monkey Park CIC in Chesterfield.

We had a really fun evening even though our technology was playing up everyone got together and made a Human Animation.  Some of the younger members were really intereted in the Stop-motion Animation and created a ‘Mario’ type Animation.

The Sparky Ink Team had a fab night and this is a good chance to say a Big Thanks for having us!

As part of Autism Awareness Week we have produced the footage of that night and messed around a bit with it.  It was great Crazy fun!!!  Check out the Video on our Youtube Channel ‘Sparky Ink’  Give us a like and subscribe if you can and check out our other vids.  If you’d like to donate for Autism Awareness Week please check out out JustGiving Page at http://www.justgiving.com/sparkyink

Find our latest vid at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2ufT7vmqZQ  Thank you for viewing.

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BANANA WARS – Autism Awareness Week

As the Doomsday clock hits 3 minutes to midnight ‘Banana-Scoffer’ a small fat orange Alien with an extremely long sticky tongue lands on a table in Chesterfield, England.  His mission is to find and eat as many Banana’s as possible before they become extinct.  As Banana-Scoffer sits exercising his incredibly long tongue and twirling his eyes he notices a ‘random legoman’ enticing a ‘Lego ATAT’ with the world’s last Banana…he has to have it…no matter what…he reaches out for it…

Check out our new youtube video (Sparky Ink) to see how the story ends…

This video is presented on our channel and is dedicated this week to Autism Awareness Week.  Please subscribe to our channel, like and share.

Thank you in advance and enjoy and check out our other vids.yellow Banana promo poster copy

Inky & Sparky…Our Studio Character’s launch

A very exciting day for the Studio when we finally show our first video starring our two Studio Characters Inky and Sparky.

Inky is a DroneBot who enjoys inventing and building things.  His favourite film’s are ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Frankenstein’ and he takes a lot of his creative and scientific influence from them.

In our very first video starring Inky we see him creating his companion ‘Sparky’

 

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Please check out the video on youtube at Sparky Ink https://youtu.be/0Fwp6-Sjlp8 or check out the link on our website at http://www.sparkyink.co.uk find us on facebook or Twitter @sparky_ink

Please Subscribe and view our channel as we are trying to get as many subscribers and views as possible this week to raise money for Autism Awareness Week with the National Autistic Society.

Autism Awareness Week 2017


It’s been a crazy few weeks at the Studio getting things ready for Autism Awareness Week which is finally here!  Each day this week; to help raise awareness of Autism, we will be uploading a video to our Youtube Channel Sparky Ink.  

When you hit our channel any money raised this week will be donated to the National Autistic Society so Please! Please!! Please!!! Subscribe and view as much as you can.  Our content ranges from Stop-motion Animation to creative film-making and human animation.  Each video presented has a direct connection in some way to Autism. 

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Two of the future releases  Inky & Sparky  and Banana Wars

If you are unable to subscribe on Youtube but would like to make a donation then please drop us a line on our contact page at our website sparkyink.co.uk or check out our JustGiving Page at https://justgiving.com/SparkyInk

Weird Few Weeks

Phew!  Been a dashing around and getting well after a lengthy period of illness for the ‘Sparky Inkers’.  Not only were we all taken down with a horrible flu but we also had umpteen hardware failures on our studio laptop (which has been sent off for repair) the laptop was purchased when we opened the studio in August 2016 and we got it specifically for our editing and special effects suite.  It went bang a few weeks ago and we’ve been left with my old little Samsung plug in baby which is now in its 7th year.  Unfortunately whilst its great for running old adobe programs and Unity 5 it can’t run much else.  Therefore came the decision to raid the bank account and now we are awaiting delivery of a new gaming PC and i-pad in the next few days to help alleviate all these issues.  It’s left the bank account in the red but if we want to work then this is what we’ve had to do.

Despite all of this we remain very optimistic in our ‘starting from nothing’ year zero and with the new equipment on order we are encouraged that we will finally be able to get on with work again.  To celebrate we got a new white board and pens so we can now see all our game planning at a glance.  We’re steaming a head, now after what seems like the worse few months ever which we know is probably a big exaggeration we are hopefully back on track.

Thanks to everyone who has offered words of support, sympathy and encouragement during our first 7 months of life…we so appreciate it and you know who you are.

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