On Friday, September 27th, at The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, Friendship Garden hosted an exhibition showcasing the works of developers often underrepresented in the video games industry. From 6-11PM, over fifty community members came out to enjoy seven games diverse both in their gameplay mechanics and developer backgrounds. Attendees also got a chance to make new friends, snack, view presentations from local developers, and win prizes in a raffle supported by local businesses. At the end of the night, players voted on their favorite game, and combined with judges’ scores, we awarded one developer $500.
Check out the games, developers, and pictures from the event below. This was our first event in the Bay Area, and we are looking to keep growing. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay in the know for our next event.
Featuring the Developers and their Games:
Chaos Tavern by DragonBear Studios
Chaos Tavern is a co-op adventure game about running a tavern in an Australian inspired Fantasy world. Team up to make magic potions, serve guests, pacify monsters and unlock your tavern’s enchanted powers!
Meena Shamaly – Composer, Musician. Master of sound, poet, and radio presenter with ABC Classic.Passionate about creating music for stories and experiences.
Olivia Haines (she/her) – 3D Artist. 3D artist, illustrator and independent game developer.
Dan Szabo – Generalist Programmer. Devoted to creating games that offer new ways to experience the world.
Phoebe Watson – Indigenous Game Designer & Cultural consultant.
Games designer, creative thinker and bundle of fun.
DragonBear studios are a collective of diverse, queer and Indigenous game developers from Melbourne, Australia who are interested in telling compelling stories through whimsy and play.
Paulina Samy (she/her) – Creative & Managing Director. Producer, writer, artist, game & narrative designer who is passionate about accessibility and diverse representation in games.
Ben Boyd – Lead Programmer. Veteran programmer, Experienced Automation Systems Specialist, teaches Software Engineering at RMIT University, and app developer.
Lucy Shi – Concept Artist. An artist with a love of colour, anime, and comfy JRPGs, also a strong believer that happy dogs make the world go round.
Josh Morris – Rigger, 3D Artist. A 3D generalist with a huge passion for tech, poly-optimized character, topology for deformation and rigging.
Sisi is a solo game developer based out of Texas. They make narrative games that focus on helping players confront a violent world in an empathetic manner.
LIONKILLER by Sisi Jiang (they/them)
LIONKILLER is a choose-your-own-adventure game made in Twine. Play as Hua Mulan, a young lesbian who is conscripted into the First Opium War against the British Empire. Run a flower shop, kiss a girl, shoot a matchlock rifle, and uncover a military conspiracy! Your actions will lead you to one out of four different endings. Will you get the girl, or will you die an inglorious death?
Pedal Pushers by Amy Wibowo (she/they)
Pedal Pushers is an upcoming game about biking across Finland with your cousin, based on a real life biking trip she took with her real life cousin. You pedal rhythmically with your fingers, chat with your cousin about everything and nothing, eat snacks to fill up your biking energy, learn Finnish vocabulary, pick berries in the forest, and set up camp in the forest every night. The game features a charming and relaxing soundtrack by Aivi Tran and Louie Zhong.
Amy Wibowo, who goes by sailorhg on the internet, is putting the ❀soft❀ in software engineering by writing zines about algorithms with lots of hand-drawn illustrations and making cute pastel games based on her personal experiences.
robo-tea:1cup! by Josie Noronha a.k.a jo-robo (they/them)
Need a break? Let’s relax with a soothing cup of robo-tea! This queer dating sim is about consideration for others and designed for self-soothing. In this all-robot world you’re Galine, a guardbot who’s been given a curious task… Through the paths you choose, learn more about the bots around you and go on a cute, calm date!
Josie is a non-binary, South Asian game developer in Sacramento, CA. They make the queer robot dating sim series robo-tea!, and a card game about intimacy called Affection Game. Through game development, they have learned about their relationship with themself and others, and hopes the same can be achieved for others through their works.
She Dreams Elsewhere by Studio Zevere
She Dreams Elsewhere is a surreal adventure RPG about dreams and the extent to which they mirror reality. You are Thalia Sullivan, a young, anxiety-ridden woman who must delve into her dreams to confront her inner nightmares after realizing she’s trapped in a coma – all while discovering how exactly this mess happened in the first place. Unfortunately, some nightmares are harder to confront than others…
Studio Zevere is a one-man game development and film studio based in Cleavland, OH. You like weird, stylish games from new perspectives and an emotional rollercoaster of a story? Yeah, you do. Come inside, make yourself comfy, drink more water, and enjoy your stay. <3
SweetXheart by Catt Small (she/her)
Can you get through a week in the life of a modern black woman? SweetXheart (pronounced “sweetheart”) is a visual novel about microagressions. The game follows Kara, a 19-year-old Black girl from the Bronx seeking success in life, school, and her career. Over five fictional days, players experience the highs and lows of juggling work, school, race, and gender.
SweetXheart was also made with the help of Phu Nguyen (Sound Effects, Music), Eden (Music – Morning commute), and Arielle Martinez (Music – Evening commute)
Catt is a product designer, game maker, and developer who enjoys creating interactive experiences and helping people to become their best selves. Phu Nguyen, an LA-based artist and engineer, created the majority of the sound effects and music for SweetXheart. Eden and Arielle Martinez are NYC-based creatives who each contributed a song of their own making to the game as well.
Anthropic Studios is Mason Remaly (he/him), who co-organizes the UCSC Silicon Valley Playtest Night, Carolyn Whitmeyer, whose studies are motivated by her lifelong interest in art and nature, Evan Morris, Nick Romero, and Colin Quinn.
Way of Rhea by Anthropic Studios
Way of Rhea is an upcoming puzzle side scroller that takes place in a world where you can only interact with objects that match your current color.