Happy International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month! This week we’re excited to celebrate by welcoming Michelle Shaw as our guest on the “Game With Us!” weekly Kongregate livestream, sharing our World of Women NFT with you, and chronicling Fernanda Contreras’ story on how she got started in the video game industry.
We will be playing Incremental Epic Hero 2 and Raid Heroes: Total War this Friday at 10 am PST with Michelle Shaw. Join us here:
World of Women NFT
Last year, Kongregate bought our own World of Women NFT. The collection is championing diversity and inclusion in the Web3 space by empowering artists around the world. Learn more by joining us during our livestream this Friday!
Fernanda Contreras’ Story
At the time of Gamaga’s founding, there were barely any video game companies in Chile and therefore no support for these businesses either — there were no classes and no books about game development. Everything was self-taught.
Now, Chile has the fastest-growing video game industry in all of South America. I’m excited to see where we can go from here and what we can inspire in women everywhere.
I was the type of person that didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future. I loved saying yes to any opportunities that life threw at me, but I wasn’t sure what my skillset was, and my teachers hadn’t put much support or effort into helping me find them. So, I went into marketing and publishing, unsure of where my passions lay while my brother Rod was developing video games and looking to open up his own company.
During my senior year in college, I felt stuck at a fork in the road — trying to figure out which pathway to take next.
For my final project, I had to spend six months researching a particular industry but I had no strong feelings toward any in particular. My professor had each student pick from a hat out of 150 possible topics.
Out of 150 possibilities, the paper I chose was the only one that said, “Video Games.”
During those six months, my brother and I became very close and by the end, he was offering me the opportunity to open a gaming company with him.
At the time, I wasn’t feeling good about being given this opportunity, so I left and lived in the United States for two years and I loved that experience! When I came back to Chile, I started at an advertising agency and found myself hating it.
My brother Rod said, “Hey, come back and work with me. You’ve got the experience. Let’s build a company together.”
So I started to build Gamaga from the ground up and in the meantime learned about video games, how a company works, and the importance of each department. At that point, people were contacting me, wanting to know what it was like for a woman in the industry and working to open up gaming to becoming a more diverse industry.
I became a voice for the industry in South America, speaking on why it was so important for women to be involved in all aspects of gaming from development to owning companies.
And here I am now.
Without noticing and without thinking, I fell in love with the industry. By just being open and speaking about my experience, I became a voice for women in gaming. I’ve had women contact me and say “Hey, I heard about you, I enrolled in some courses to teach me how to build a company,” and they started to create their own businesses.
Just that fact for me — it’s incredible. I’m trying to give back the best I can to the world.
Fernanda Contreras is the Head of Studio for Gamaga, along with her brother Rod Contreras. Together they co-founded the Chilean video game company Gamaga in 2009 with Kongregate acquiring the company in 2022.
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