This 19-year-old is bringing diversity to video games

19-year-old Geneva Heyward says they’ve been into video games since they were three years old. Their dad used to fix computers so there was all this early exposure to technology throughout their life, but it was when they were in 10th grade that they realized designing and creating the video games they loved playing so much was possible.

“I really like thinking of something I don’t know how to do and breaking it apart and then seeing it come to life,” Heyward told In The Know.

Heyward’s first big project was a game called Green Hero, where the main character tries to save the world and fight climate change. A large proponent of Heyward’s characters and game storylines are driven by their interest in conservation and desire to see more character diversity. 

Green Hero went on to win the National STEM Video Game Challenge, which only solidified Heyward’s passion for video game design.

“I felt really passionate about it,” Heyward said about Green Hero. “And that passion made me know that I could keep doing this, over and over.”

Heyward’s teacher recommended they apply to the School of Interactive Arts (SIA), a pre-college program that trains students in the art and design of game development. Heyward was accepted and fell in love with the regular challenges of the courses and watching themself make progress each week. They began designing multi-player games with more complex storylines and characters.

Confident that video game design was something they wanted to do, Heyward worked hard to get accepted into New York University to continue expanding their knowledge.

“I focus on making someone believable — characters that have full personalities and different sides to them.”

Now Heyward teaches at SIA, where they first honed in on their craft. To Heyward, it makes sense to give back to the learning community that helped them grow so much before they even reached college.

“I feel like I’m here to offer as much as I can to these students,” they said. “I wanted to contribute to that nice, safe feeling that I had while I was here as a student.”

Watch the full episode of In The Know: Next Gen above to learn more about Geneva Heyward’s innovative approach to storytelling and design in their video games.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you should also check out the 12-year-old gender creative who wants others to be accepted.

More from In The Know:

Meet the 21-year-old actress starring as the leading lady in “West Side Story”

Finally, a sunscreen created for Black women that won’t leave an annoying white cast

These super sleek sustainable white sneakers are stain and odor-resistant

Save up to 50 percent on these chic bags during Coach’s huge summer sale

The post This 19-year-old is bringing diversity to video games appeared first on In The Know.

More From

  • Amazon shoppers love this $8 nail cream that helps promote healthy nails

    In fact, many Amazon shoppers swear by the Onyx Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream as a way to transform weak and unhealthy nails. Enriched with several key vitamins, minerals, and other precious ingredients, this highly-rated cream provides much needed moisture to dry and thin nails so they can become longer and harder. It’s a potential solution for anyone prone to mysteriously cracked and split fingernails, as well as those who have damage from acrylic and gel manicures.

  • These trendy socks are temperature-controlled and celebrity-approved

    With many people confined to smaller spaces due to quarantine, the blood circulation in their feet might possibly be reduced as a result of longer times spent sitting and less frequent movement. An easily applied and cost-effective remedy for poor circulation is to swap your standard gym socks for compression socks, which experts say are worth the investment. This initial reaction is fully justified, but the benefits that these products provide aren’t exclusive to those with blood circulation problems, those with foot pain or the elderly.

  • Turn your backyard into a zen oasis with these must-have hammocks

    As the weather's finally hot (and staying hot! and you're probably getting the itch to head outdoors, one of the easiest ways to upgrade your backyard and essentially ~transform~ it into an oasis is with a hammock. To me, there's no better feeling than relaxing after a long day outside, especially if you're fortunate enough to have space, and to add a hammock is the ultimate comfy upgrade.

  • Sur La Table is offering up to 65 percent off Le Creuset and more — but only for 4 days

    Right now until July 13, at Sur La Table you can score up to 65 percent off top-rated cookware, skillet sets and more from Le Creuset, All Clad and Staub.