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 1st BIRTHDAY!!!

HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY to our little Studio!!!  And a BIG THANKS to our ‘inkers and thinkers’

To Celebrate we have released a small stop-motion Animation starring our unique Studio Characters ‘Sparky’ and ‘Inky’ you can find it on this link for Youtube.  As Paper is the Anniversary gift for the 1st year we thought we’d create our animation using an old favourite Ink and Card.  The Animation was made as part of an 18 hour challenge which took place yesterday where we created the artwork, cut it all out and then animated and edited it.  Phew!

So we made it to the end of our Very First Year and hasn’t that year gone super fast! I’ve spent some time recently reflecting on the years before its important to remember how you got somewhere and the last few years have been challenging from working for shockingly bad people and being treated unfairly to working with great people where longtime friendships have been made.  When I had my light bulb moment I was working an underwriter at HSBC it was 2012 and I realised I wanted to be inspired to get on with stuff, I knew I wanted to do something more.  I was creative. loved writing stories and loved Gaming so much. Having children with Autism made me want to do something digital that I could include them in.  This was my light bulb moment and I worked over the following years to try to achieve my aim of becoming a businesswoman in Digital Story-telling.  

In 2016 I finally took the plunge. I knew I had to get on with it.  I wasn’t getting any younger and I didn’t want to end up working back in a Bank unless I really had no choice.  I started from home originally and looked around for a Studio.  In July 2016 I found a little Studio at West Studios in Chesterfield and began building my company.

It hasn’t been easy, from the onset I started the Studio up from Nothing.  Hence why all our productions carry the slogan ‘Starting from Nothing’ I have had no handouts or funding. Everything has been a result of personal savings and hard graft which makes the efforts and achievements so much more fulfilling.  

Since then I’ve had some fantastic support and we would like to take this opportunity to dedicate our latest video released today to all those who have supported us.: Family, Friends, West Studios, D2N2, Derbyshire County Council and all my students and their families.  I really appreciate your help, interest and direction and wouldn’t be here with out you guys.

So here’s to another year….

This is a quick slide show of our 18 hour animation.

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Want to know more about us:

Check out our website and social media.  Please give us a like and a subscribe/follow to help get us noticed.  Thank you.

www.sparkyink.co.uk

Facebook

@sparky_ink

Youtube

 

 

 

Another Crazy Taster Session: The DASG Rollercoaster.

Back in May the Studio visited Derbyshire Autism Services Group Youth Club in Chesterfield for another of our crazy taster sessions.

They were a lively bunch and not too shy of the camera. We had a fab time creating some human animation in the way of a Rollercoaster and some claymation; which will be posted on our channel in the near future.  Check out the film on youtube.

Our taster sessions are about engaging people in something that they are interested in but may not have the confidence to explore.  This Rollercoaster is quite time consuming to do and for the participants it demonstrates some great skills such as leadership, team engagement and trust, and not be afraid to engage and have fun.

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Thanks to all the guys and their leaders there for all your support and the fantastic engaging welcome. Was a fab night!!!

Enjoy!

Please like and subscribe or to learn more about the Studio check out our website at http://www.sparkyink.co.uk.

Happy Viewing!!!

For More information about Sparky Ink Studio Ltd check out;

Our Website:
http://www.sparkyink.co.uk

Our Blog:
https://orangewolfindustries.wordpress.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/sparkyinkstudio

Twitter:
@Sparky_ink

Copyright Sparky Ink Studio Ltd 2017. All Rights Reserved.

In association with our ‘Starting from Nothing’ Project ©2016 – 2017

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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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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Website tidy up…

Spring is here so we wanted to have a look at the website and tidy it up a little.  Check it out at www.sparkyink.co.uk

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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

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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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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