Introducing: ‘Mini’ 8-Bit Evolved Gaming (Autism Friendly)

Following the success of our 8-Bit Evolved Gaming Nites we have started one for our younger gamers.  Taking place at our Studio in West Studios, Chesterfield we co-host the  ‘Mini’ 8-Bit Evolved Gaming Mornings each month; especially for young ‘uns’ aged 9 – 15. These Autism Friendly events are a great place to game with like-minded other young ‘uns’, make new friends, socialize and chat about everything gaming in a safe enviroment.

All games or challenges from games are aged appropriately.  Parents and carers are welcome to drop off and pick up and can either stay within easy reach by chilling out in West Studios Cafe and Shop or nip into Chesterfield Town.

Pre-registration is required. The cost is £8.00 per person with drinks and snacks included. Interested please contact the studio on ginger@sparkyink.co.uk or check out our info and make contact through our website at www.sparkyink.co.uk.

Payment is on the day either by cash or bank transfer prior to the event. Alternatively you can purchase a non-refundable season pass for ‘3’ 8-Bit Evolved gaming mornings which has a 10% discount.

Check out our Facebook Events for the dates @8BitEvolvedGaming

Logo and Pictures Copyright belongs to Sparky Ink Studio Ltd 2018

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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Our 4th ‘8-bit Evolved Autism Friendly Gaming Night’

This Saturday sees our 4th ‘8-bit Evolved’ Autism Friendly Gaming Night.  Rumour has it that there will be drums, guitars and a microphone as ‘8-bit Evolved’ creates its own tour with ‘RockBand’ and ‘Guitar Hero’.  

There will also be more fun on 4 player retro games and some newer titles on the Nintendo Switch.

Interested?  If you would like to be involved please register using our contact page on our website or email us at ginger@sparkyink.co.uk

 

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The 3rd Autism Friendly Gaming Nite

Last Saturday Sparky Ink Studio proudly hosted the 3rd 8-Bit Evolved Autism Friendly Gaming Nite.  We had an amazing nite playing retro/not-really-retro Nintendo Switch Bomberman and Mario Karts.

We’re still looking for more people to join the event so if you live in the Chessy area or would like to hook up virtually drop us a line.

We will be posting our footage from the night during the next week or so.  Keep Tuned and thanks for watching and reading our stuff it means a lot to us.

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Our 4th Autism Friendly 8-Bit Evolved Gaming Nite will take place on Saturday 22nd July 2017.

 

Our 4th autism friendly gaming nite in association with Sparky Ink Studio.
Want to be on our VIP list and get a ticket?
Message us or contact us via the contact page at www.sparkyink.co.uk

8-Bit Evolved Autism Friendly Gaming Nite….Is BACK!

ONE WEEK TO GO…..To our Autism Friendly Gaming Nite is BACK on Saturday 24th June 2017.  The doors open at 6.30 pm for social gaming.  It’s tickets only guys so to order your ticket please use the contact page at our website www.sparkyink.co.uk and we will come back to you.  Tickets are £10.00 with a £5.00 subsidy for first-timers or siblings.  Tickets are payable on the night in cash or via bank transfer.

Our gaming nights are designed to be a fun social time in a safe environment with other gamers.  The session will be divided between retro and next Gen console gaming.  We also have a variety of games on Steam.  We’ve put a poll on our Facebook Page to see which Retro consoles and games people would like to play.  

It’s gonna’ be a top Banana Nite!

If you don’t live locally but would like to be involved in our Gaming nites please drop me a line as we can often hook up via skype or through online gaming.  

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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.

 

 

8-Bit Evolved Autism Friendly Gaming Nite – Month 4 EVENT

It’s that time again when we get together for our monthly Autism Friendly Gaming Nite. Last month we had an excellent evening playing some fantastic titles together.

Among the titles were some old favourites and a Game which we all agreed they should make another game of and that was Valve’s “Left4Dead”  So much fun…not a game for the fainthearted especially when the “Boomer” pukes on you and the hoard attacks or if you disturb “the witch”.  We will be putting the game footage of our evening on our youtube channel later today.

Tickets for the event are usually £13.50 but we have reduced them as an Easter Spring treat to £10.00.  It’s a 2.5 hr session with drinks, salty snacks and haribos available.  Give us a shout if you would like to book a place.

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#InternationalWomensDay #WomenInFiction

Which female in your life changed your direction? Motivated you or inspired you to become someone different?  I think for most of us our mother’s, aunt’s, sister’s and grandmother’s probably are ranked pretty high up.  There are a few other’s too; for example someone that I personally admire as a woman is:  Mother Teresa:  Strong and productive, she rolled her sleeves up and got on with it. Most of all she made a difference with little reward.

However, since we are a digital studio I wanted to think about the Fictional Females because whilst we may not want to believe it, some of these have probably impacted us just as much as live Females:  So we’ll look at females from Games, Film and Animation. Please feel free to comment and tell us which Fictional Female inspires you:

Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) Alien (1979): As strong as they get.  Gets ignored throughout the film by the Captain, ends up taking on an Alien and surviving.  Then goes back  with a load of roughnecks (RIP Bill Paxton) and does it all again this time saving a soldier and a kid.  Strong determined will against all odds.  Fantastically believable character with a fantastic believable actress.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider (1996 on wards):  Female gaming icon you gotta love her.  Has the looks, the figure and great adventures.  Daring and intelligent.  What female wouldn’t want to be her…for at least a day!

Liara T’soni (Mass Effect Franchise) (2007 on wards): Alien Female ‘Asari’ Again another good looking with a fit figure female portrayed in a game.  However, what is inspiring about Dr. Liara. T’soni is she is written as an intelligent female who can take care of herself.  She is seen throughout the three games to seemingly grow up before the gamer. She goes from an intelligent historian to an even more intelligent shadow Broker in between having a very meaningful relationship with Commander Shepard (depending on the options you chose as a gamer)  Her presence in the game drives forward the message that she stands out from her own all-female race because of her bloodline and her crazy mother.  She’s had it tough but doesn’t let that cloud her judgement, she gets on with it, respects her superiors and is a massive support to her team.  When her planet falls in ME3 she continues to fight the enemy and to help others. A very well written character and a genius at multi-tasking.

Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) (1988): The hair, figure and husky voice. Jessica Rabbit has it all and she is faithful to the end to Roger Rabbit.  A woman who has choices before her but chooses to do the right things, who would not be inspired!

Lastly…

Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe):  Beautiful, seductive, intelligent and tragic. Roslyn is everything that Marilyn Monroe was.  A woman scared of getting older, scared of the future and trying to find a place in the world, wanting to be loved and cared for.  This character demonstrates a life lived dealing and hiding mental illness.  This character demonstrates a clear distinction between women and men.  The emotional speech about the Mustang killings sees both sides; the divided responsibilities and the emotion of dealing with decisions made; do you make a living or let the Mustangs go?  Roslyn becomes an extraordinary women standing up for an animal that is worn out and out of time, similarly like herself, Marilyn Monroe, Roslyn and the Mustang all share that hopelessness when faced with difficult circumstances.  Yet they all draw a graceful strength from it and let the audience make up their own minds. If nothing else, a powerful message of needing help is clear from this character. Why be inspired? Marilyn Monroe inspired Arthur Miller to write the character.

 

 

 

 

illness stops ‘8-bit evolved Gaming Nite’ for 2nd time in 2 months.

Due to Flu sweeping through the Studio, we regret that we have had to cancel the February Gaming night which was due to take place tomorrow.  Big apologies to our 8-bit evolved Gamers…hoping to be back to normal for Saturday 18th March for a fun night.

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Taster Saturdays!

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