Pioneering Arab women representation in video games through self-taught game development

Maya Khalil's innovative approach to self-taught game development quickly gained recognition and acclaim within the industry


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Published: Fri 9 Jun 2023, 10:13 AM

Maya Khalil, an Egyptian artist, has emerged as a trailblazer in the world of video game development. While pursuing her studies in motion design at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Khalil taught herself how to create video games, driven by a passionate goal to establish greater representation for Arab women in the gaming industry. Her inspiring journey showcases her determination, creativity, and the power of self-teaching to challenge gender stereotypes and pave the way for a more inclusive gaming landscape.

During her time at the School of Visual Arts, Khalil immersed herself in the world of motion design, exploring different artistic mediums and pushing the boundaries of creativity. However, she soon realised the under-representation of Arab women in the gaming industry and the urgent need for their voices to be heard. Fueled by this realisation, Khalil embarked on a self-guided journey to learn video game development, utilising her existing design skills as a foundation.

Without any formal training in game development, Khalil undertook the challenge of teaching herself the necessary skills to bring her vision to life. Through extensive research, online resources, and an unwavering determination, she delved into coding, game design principles, and storytelling techniques. Her journey was marked by countless hours of trial and error, but she persisted, determined to create a space that celebrated Arab women and their stories in the gaming world.

Khalil's primary goal was to challenge gender stereotypes and provide a platform for Arab women to express themselves in the gaming industry. Through her self-made video games, she defied conventional narratives and is working to introduce strong, multi-dimensional Arab women characters as protagonists. Khalil's games will be showcasing the diverse talents, stories, and experiences of Arab women, shattering stereotypes and paving the way for a more accurate and inclusive representation in the gaming world.

Khalil's games not only aimed to empower Arab women but also fostered empathy and understanding among players from diverse backgrounds. By immersing players in the experiences of Arab women characters, she encouraged a deeper connection and appreciation for their culture, challenges, and aspirations. Maya believed that video games have the power to bridge cultural gaps and facilitate meaningful conversations, and she harnessed that potential to promote dialogue and inclusivity.

Khalil's innovative approach to self-taught game development quickly gained recognition and acclaim within the industry. Her games, characterised by captivating storytelling and stunning visuals, resonated with players worldwide. Her efforts have sparked conversations about the importance of diverse representation, inspiring other Arab women and artists to explore video game development as a means of self-expression and empowerment.

Khalil's remarkable journey as a self-taught video game developer highlights her pioneering efforts in establishing greater representation for Arab women in the gaming industry. Through her determination, creativity, and self-teaching endeavours, she has shattered gender stereotypes and created a platform that celebrates the stories and experiences of Arab women. Her work serves as an inspiration for aspiring artists.

To learn more about her work, visit www.mayakhalil.com.


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