Global Gamer Girl

Phillips’ game chosen to be released by Google


Beth Phillips

At the YouTube space in Los Angeles, junior Grace Phillips talks with a Girls Make Games representative about her upcoming game, Good Dogs Bring Joy.

Change the Game Design Challenge, sponsored by Google, partnered at the beginning of this year with Girls Make Games to create a challenge focusing on female gamers. This non-profit design challenge began last year in the spring, opening new doors for students ages 13 to 18, especially for junior Grace Phillips.

Towards the end of the school year 2018-2019, computer science instructor Dr. Cranston Christopher hung up a poster about Change the Game in his classroom. One day, Phillips took notice of the poster and her teacher informed her of the competition details.

A participant interested in the contest would have to submit a game idea, including the story, characters, concept art, and how it would be played.

After Phillips told her mom about Change the Game and mentioned her hesitation to enter, her mom told her that she was absolutely going to partake in this challenge, Phillips said.

Once school ended, she was able to find some time one weekend, and wrote a manuscript for her game idea. Phillips said she didn’t think much of it when it was finally submitted.

“I like to think about game development,” Phillips said. “I find the psychology of gaming interesting and how you can get people to understand things through colors and symbols.”

One day later, Philips’ mother received a voicemail from a Google representative detailing that Phillips was being considered as a national finalist for the Change the Game challenge.

“At that point I thought that they weren’t actually going to make me a finalist because they are just considering me,” she said.

In another call, she was informed that she in fact was a finalist and also won an all expense paid trip to Los Angeles, CA.

“It was really fun,” she said. “I got to meet new people and tell them about Klein Oak and the people here.”

During her trip to Los Angeles, Phillips was able to meet with the other four finalists, an internet personality Kelsey Impicciche, and the developers that worked for Girls Make Games. In addition to that, all finalists got to see the YouTube space for commercial videos for the games and got to be a part of an animation they were making at that time.

“The people from Girls Make Games are very nice and supportive; they really like my game,” Phillips said.

Phillips’s took some time to come up with a title which is Good Dogs Bring Joy, but to this point is still in the process of figuring out the right name.

“I do not like the title,” she said. “I don’t know what it is, but I can’t find the perfect title yet, so it might potentially change and become a subtitle.”

Her role in the development of her game is to pick out an art style, music, design, and some way to condense the mechanics. Phillips does not have to code anything, but might edit the game throughout the process.

“There was a lot that I put into my original idea,” she said. “I was worried that it wasn’t going to be enough. It felt so small and they gave me several months to do this and I have written it all in a weekend.”

Although there have been many minor changes to Phillips’s game since she became a finalist, the theme has stayed the same throughout the entire process.

“The idea of the game is that you play as a dog and you help your owner,” Phillips said. “Your owner is not having the best of times because her job is going under, but you don’t understand that because you are a dog and you just want to be playful and fun and you just want to make her life better.”

Once all of the finalists have added the final touches to their games, they are set to be released this year at the mobile Google Play Store in November.

“I’m excited to let everyone else experience this game,” Phillips said. “I think I personally will be utterly blown away just by seeing the abstract thoughts in my head realized into something so concrete.”