Self-portrait of Gemma Thomson holding her compact mirrorless camera, wearing her usual black hat and surrounded by reflected railway signs.

Gemma Thomson

CEO & Designer at Box Kaleidoscope
Game designer, diversity advocate and educator

I'm a designer who believes that everyone benefits when games are made with diversity in mind - be that diversity of mechanics, content, or the people who create them. I am a proponent of paper prototypes, a keen game jammer and humble advocate for inclusiveness. Alternatively: I'm that camera-wielding game designer in the wide-brimmed hat, who you may have seen lurking at that event - or talking about railways on Twitter.

Play

Ardo

A proof-of-concept demo developed during Splash Jam, sailing on Norway's historic Hurtigrute. A new arrival in a strange new town, you must learn to communicate with the locals in order to overcome culture shock anxiety and obtain food.

Gameplay screen set in a town environment. The player character, in orange, is being spoken to by a local, in blue. A confused question mark appears beside the NPC's head, and they are speaking ina  tongue which mimics PlayStation controller symbols, as transcribed ina  text box below. Gameplay screenshot set in a bakery. Bread is visible behind a counter, labelled with two square-shaped glyphs. The player character, in orange, is speaking at length to the baker behind the counter, who appears confused.

Noah's Arks

A fast-paced action game for two players sharing a single touchscreen. As one of many workers at the Noah Shipping Company, you must work together to quickly arrange animals into pairs and dispatch them along a procession of arks. Pair off as many animals as possible within the time limit!

'Noahs Arks' title screen, depicting a blue flag on a pastel-shaded shoreline. The flag reads 'Noah Shipping ltd.' FMV screenshot in which a benevolent-looking God commands a burly Noah to do the impossible.Gameplay screenshot, depicting two arks laiden with animals at either end of the screen, as seen from a top-down perspective. Scores are shown in the middle; one is upside down to accomodate a player facing that direction.

A Planet Wakes

A narrative-driven strategy game for solo players, developed as part of Antholojam - curated by Zöe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz. You have been dropped in to rescue a struggling terraforming project, restoring the team and the planet to their full potential. Meet or exceed each area's resource goal in order to progress, and unravel the ominous mystery of this planet's past...

"A neat little gem that’s begging to go from prototype to polished game" ~Paste Magazine

FMV screenshot in which Prel, an amphibian-looking businessman, greets the player with a comics-style text caption.Gameplay screenshot, depicting an alien-looking base. Assorted colourful buildings are rendered in 3D isometric fashion, with resource indicators spawning from them. The UI includes a total resource readout, and a palette of buildings yet to be constructed.

Ludography

Game Jam Projects

Links generally lead to my blog, with play links (where applicable), recaps of the event, and details of the game's development.

Click (Lyst Summit 2016) Ardo (Splash Jam) Gemma Hat (Global Game Jam 2016) Planetary Caretaker (King Game Jam Sthlm) Noah's Arks (Lyst Summit 2015) A Planet Wakes (Antholojam I) Rymdströmming (SETI-Jam) Oddballs (DreamHackathon 2014) Play-tex (Lyst Summit 2014) Mimic (Global Game Jam 2014) GenePets (Cancer Research UK GameJam) Donkey Kog Country (XX Game Jam)

Upcoming jams:

  • Global Game Jam 2017 Stockholm, Sverige
  • Train Jam 2017 Chicago - Oakland, USA

Speaking & Writing

Visit the 'Speaking' tab for details of my upcoming (and past) speaking engagements. I also speak on the subject of diversity in games.

Associations

Diversi

Diversi

I sit on the board for this Sweden-based body which collaborates with industry, education, media and gaming communities in order to support and promote inclusivity and diversity in games.

LadyCADE

LadyCADE

I am LadyCADE's co-founder and branding/events manager, responsible for many of its women-friendly social gatherings and games showcases.

TjejHack

TjejHack

I chair the board and volunteer behind-the-scenes at this Sweden-based game development club for girls and women.

Game Jam Stockholm

Game Jam Stockholm

I mentor game jammers and help to run jam events at this non-profit, inclusive venture to foster a strong community for the creation of games in Sweden.