Last spring, Lily Cain, a student from the School District of Maple, learned that she had finished in the top five for Google’s national competition called Change the Game. After a trip to California and many hours designing with the international program, Girls Make Games, a demo of Cain’s game, “The Other Realm” was made available on Google Play, with the full version coming out soon.
Google Play partnered with Girls Make Games as part of the competition to honor women entering and working in the gaming industry. Lily worked with a developer and coordinator from Girls Make Games to turn her ideas, artwork, and writing into a puzzle-experience game that can be downloaded in Google Play.
Response to her game has been overwhelmingly positive. “People are still saying, ‘Oh, nice job on your game, Lily.’ It hasn’t died down,” Cain said. “Online, I’ve read the comments and everybody is so nice. People I’ve never met before have positive things to say.”
It is hard to believe now that the whole experience almost didn’t happen. Cain described her hesitancy before entering the competition. “I almost didn’t do it because I didn’t think I knew enough about making a game, but I came up with a story because that’s what I know how to do, and then we got the call that I had become a finalist!”
Charlie Hessel, Cain’s art teacher at Northwestern High School, recognized her ideas right away as a great fit for the competition. “A lot of kids have ideas but they’re afraid they might come off as just not good ideas. I think this experience has given her the confidence that she does have good ideas. She’s not afraid to ask questions and talk through her process,” he said.
The experience working to develop her game has also changed the way Cain sees the world. “Before I just had so many ideas and I knew I wanted to make something of it and I never did until this opportunity. I still have these ideas, and I now know that what I create can become a reality - it’s not that far away anymore,” she said. “There are so many things you can do. I don’t know what I want to be yet, but creating something seems achievable.”
For now, she will focus on school and her extracurricular activities, busying herself with the Visual Arts Classic competition and forensics tournaments.
She continues to come up with ideas to make things and encourages others with similar aspirations to do the same no matter what level of experience they have. “I would say to just do it like I did. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing. I didn’t know hardly anything about gaming or creating one but I know so much more from my experience.”