I have never been much into gaming, other than playing Bratz: Rock Angels and Finding Nemo on Playstation in 2009. But, heck – even I was intrigued by the idea of Australia’s very first gaming community for girls. Co-founder of Girl Geek Academy, and one of the world’s most notable video gamers, stopped by Sincerely, E to tell me all about how she did it. She probably did not start by getting stuck on level 6 of Finding Nemo, but hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere! Here is the story of how five-year-old gaming fanatic Lisy Kane grew up to make a career out of video games, became a successful entrepreneur and built her own army of female gamers around the world.
Lisy designs and creates games for a living, and she is making some gnarly waves in the industry. Ranked alongside the world’s best game makers, Lisy was the only Australian to make the who’s-who list of the global gaming industry, the Forbes 30 Under 30 2017: Games.
“I have been gaming since I was maybe 5 or 6, but I didn’t realise you could have a career in games until I dropped out of university for a second time and was reassessing my career path. I found out you could study a degree in game design and my world was flipped upside down. So it took me til my early 20’s to even understand there even was a games industry, let alone people in Australia making games.”
In my eyes, as somewhat of a writer, I take immense pleasure out of reading books. However, it is very hard not to judge books based on how I would have written them differently or how I would have portrayed a character if I curated them in my head. The same concept applies for Lisy when it comes to playing games VS. designing them.
“Being a game developer has definitely made me be more critical about the entire games industry – from how games are advertised, to how they play. Luckily, it definitely hasn’t detracted from being able to enjoy games. On the flip side, our team at League Of Geeks are always discussing, criticising and are excited by games. The latest World of Warcraft expansion has for sure caused a buzz at work.”
League Of Geeks is the Melbourne-based indie game development studio where Lisy produces her own world of gaming magic. She is responsible for internationally-released games such as Armello (2015), Hand of Fate (2015) and Push Me Pull You (2016). Lisy is also the renowned Co-founder of Girl Geek Academy. GGA is a global movement, teaching one million women to learn about, and hopefully have a career in technology by 2025. The initiative of the academy is to build an increased number of women in tech, women in games, women who make games, female designers and female founders.
“Greater diversity in the Australian Games Industry won’t only benefit the women who want to make games – it will benefit the industry itself. We’ve reached a point in society where it’s absolutely critical there is more equality in the technology industry. When you think about how many tech devices, tools and apps we interact with each day – how ridiculous would it be if they are only being created by one sub-section of society? There needs to be a diverse mix of people creating technology or the products won’t reflect or suit the needs of all the people who coexist within our actual society.
This is even more important for an industry like game development as not only does it require technology but it’s an inherently creative field with creative outcomes. Diverse creators will result in diverse stories being told through games. Let’s make shooters, but also, let’s make games about coming of age! A large part of solving the inequality we have is by raising the profiles of and create leaders from those who are underrepresented. When you see it, it’s easier to believe you can do it.”
Girl Geek Academy offers so many incredible, and not to mention insanely cool, programs and events for women interested in technology. They are responsible for hosting coding and hackathons, creating 3D printed wearables, and teaching lessons in game development, design, entrepreneurship and startups. Our lovely girl, Lisy, is responsible for creating #SheMakesGames – an event so well-loved, it has now become an annual event for GGA.
“#SheMakesGames was the first ever Australian all-female game-making day. It is a great place to start if you’ve ever been interested in the art of video games. We know there is a lack of opportunities for women to develop their skills in the games industry, so the #SheMakesGames program provides women with the opportunity to network and get support from others, and give them skills and confidence to be in charge of their own careers. The day offers a mix of training in both hard technical skills and the soft skills required.”
I am not a gaming fanatic myself, but Lisy Kane sure makes me want to be. She’s kicking all her goals, and still has a whole lot more she wants to achieve in her business life – including teaching those one million women how to become an ultimate girl boss in the gaming industry.
“I want to continue to make and curate unique experiences for a global audience; this includes both making videogames and the work I’m doing at Girl Geek Academy. I want to continue to be a leader and help bring more women and underrepresented people to this industry in a safe and supportive way.
I am hoping that myself and the work I do at GGA and League Of Geeks will see a shift in the game development industry to have a diverse and inclusive workforce. I would hope that this would be seen as the norm, not something that needs to be discussed and planned for. That’s the future I want.”
To follow Lisy’s gaming moves or to learn more about her insanely cool business initiatives, keep up via the links below: