My name is Laila Shabir. I grew up in the Middle East in a– in a Pakistani family where being a girl meant a completely different thing than in the West. The predominant emotion that women feel in my culture is fear – fear of your reputation getting ruined, fear of emotional assault, physical assault. And if a woman steps out, other women will point fingers at her and make her step back. When we got our first computer, I started opening it up and doing all these different things with it. I think I wrote my first program when I was, like, 11. So, when I first applied to MIT there was a lot of pushback. My dad took that very seriously so he literally said… It sounds so sexist now, but he was telling me to live fearlessly. And, so, I moved here in 2005. After that, I think my life got a lot easier. It was interesting watching these American girls because they're getting the same messages that I got as a girl growing up in the East, except the messages here are more subliminal. Games are definitely a part of it. They don't get Xboxes for Christmas – they get Barbies, or something else, and their brothers get the Xboxes, even though they have the same expressed interest. So, in a way, they don't have access. Thank you all for being here and welcome to the second annual Girls Make Games summer camp. I just want to encourage you to think big and think about, I guess, the games that you play that you love, and why you love them, and what kind of games you'd want to make. There are just as many girls out there who like video games, who like computer science; it's just that… lots of people say that they can't do it. When girls come in and see other girls that are just as nerdy, they feel very validated in who they are. So, the idea behind Girls Make Games was to give these girls a home. We give the girls three weeks to make their own game. It's mostly: your imagination, how you approach game design, and "does the world need this game?" A lot of girls sign up for our camp and drop out just before camp starts. Their parents send us emails saying, "My daughter got the jitters – tonight. She's not coming tomorrow." They're so sure that they're gonna be bad at it because it feels like something that girls don't do. Girls just interact without having other people, like– like, boys… sometimes they kinda… think differently. At school if there's anything – any project – that has to do with a PowerPoint or electronics, all the boys would take control over it. We do hold workshops that are co-ed, and we had a little girl who asked a question about, let's, for example, let's say, "why is the bunny white?" And a little boy in the back just went, [mocking voice] "why's the bunny white?" And his posse of friends just started cackling with him, and the girl just kinda sh– shrunk into her own shell. And she never spoke after that. And you added the animations, right? The walking animations? Yeah. Yeah, of course. So– so we'll learn how to add those now. It's impossible for a lot of people to think that something as fun as playing video games can be educational at all. What could it teach you? So these are our milestones for what we need to get done… You work with a team, so it's teaching them negotiation, it's teaching them grit, perseverance… and then of course there are no boundaries to what you can make – because this is an imaginary world – and that's the part where the girls just go. The salon is one of the levels. Well, like, someone's washing your hair in the salon and you would, like, put down your iPhone, so I was, like, drawing iPhones. We're making this game called Sprinkles about a cupcake who lost its sprinkles. Games have stories, characters… a lot of things that would appeal to girls. This is, like, the library, where she can find some clues and reports. They want to make games where the protagonist is a really good person. So the story we kinda wanted to tell was a person overcoming their inner demons. She's poor, she's also a lesbian, maybe she's getting bullied and then someone walks by, like, and, you know, stands up for her? Yeah. I started out making games to help people learn, and now we're helping people learn other things, like gaining confidence or just being better at whatever you're doing through game-making. Games are important. They bring people together and make you feel, like, competition against yourself or others, and to do something we all enjoy. So I think they're very important. Games are a way of influencing youth, and the more positive images that you can send them, the better citizens they'll be as they grow up – and I think girls take that responsibility very seriously. And that's why it's so important for girls to make more games – so that more girls can enjoy games that are relevant to them and have good messages for them. There are a lot of women who have cool ideas for games but they think, like, "Oh, that's not a good job for me because I'm a woman." And so I think that if they decided that "I can do this!" then they would, like, go into the gaming industry and make a lot more games. Thank you so much, all, for being here. I can't believe it's been three weeks. We have six teams and they're all very passionate about the games that they're making, so let's hear it from them! "Home" follows the story of Sonia who is a young Russian girl, and what happens is Sonia wakes up in this room – a dark room with no memory of her past, or anything but herself. If you actually touch the guards then… you… die. In the process, I got a glimpse of the daunting amount of artwork that, um, game artists have to do… And the player with the ants would try and, like, get the cupcake, and the cupcake would try to avoid them. When she opens the book, it transports her to the Jurassic Age… Scattering all the pages through all eleven levels which she has to collect in order to beat the game. So that passion – that just makes me really happy, and I hope that they take it past camp. And I'm sure a lot of you have the same question where it's like, "This is great, but where do we go after this, you know?" When the girls start entering the industry, you start seeing impact in five, ten, 15 years when girls come up and say, "If it wasn't for Girls Make Games I wouldn't be here at Xbox. If it wasn't for Girls Make Games, I wouldn't be publishing my first title." And I expect that to happen. That'll be the moment that I'll say, "Yes! That's why we did this."