South African game developer, Bahiyya Khan and her game developing team won the Best Student Game award at the Game Developers Conference 2019, which took place from 18 March to 22 March 2019. The South African game developer and her team took home the award as part of the Independent Games Festival, which is an awards ceremony which takes place at the GDC each year.
The South African game developer team consists of head, Bahiyya Khan, along with Claire Meekel, Abi Meekel, and Tim Flusk. This means that 3 out of the 4 members of the team are female, which is awesome. Bahiyya Khan came up with the idea for the game for her honours project for her game design degree she is pursuing from the University of the Witwatersrand. She designed the game, wrote the script and portrayed the role of the main character, Lilith Grey. Claire Meekel was the cinematographer and Abi Meekel did the sound engineering. Tim Flusk was the programmer for the game.
The team won the award for their work on a game called after HOURS. This full-motion video game sees players step into the shoes of a young female who was sexually abused as a child and who is now suffering from borderline personality order – a mental illness with symptoms that include extreme emotional outbursts.
The award includes a $3000 cash prize. During her acceptance speech, the South African game developer decided, as a person who follows the Islam faith, to thank her god and dispel any negativity surrounding Muslim people.
I’m Muslim, so I’d like to thank Allah first. I’ve never seen an awards show where a Muslim person won and I always thought that as an act of rebellion I’d say allahu akbar (Allah is the greatest) so there we go, no terrorists here. And to my mum and to my team and to all the people of colour — f&@k yes!
We hope to see more people join this South African game developer in getting international recognition for creating games.