Marina Diez, CEO at Three of Cups Games talks about getting started in game development, and making the world a better place through games
How did you break into games?
I’ve been playing games for my whole life. However, I started thinking about making games for a living after finishing my degree in Italian and German linguistics. While I was working on marketing in the fashion industry, I discovered the engine Bitsy and some months later I made the game Hey, Dad: a brief story of a mental illness where I talked about my dad’s bipolar disorder and my experience with it.
Then I started making games with a focus on mental health and self-care. In the meantime, I was doing lots of community work in Madrid, my hometown, as well giving my first talks around games.
In March 2018 I applied to a master’s in games design at Brunel University London, I got accepted, moved to the UK in September 2018 and here I am now. Moving here brought me and keeps bringing me lots of opportunities I could never have dreamed of in Spain.
What has been your proudest achievement so far?
To have the strength to put together an amazing team, set up a company in the UK and announce it to the world. This has been my dream for a long time, but I never felt experienced enough or I was scared about getting people on board for a project I didn’t know what outcome was going to be.
However, I’ve been lucky enough in finding awesome human beings that always remind me that I’m not alone in this.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
To believe in myself and trust my gut. When you work in the games industry a common feeling is: “I don’t know what I’m doing.” It’s so important to not listen to that tiny inner voice and keep working and making stuff, even if it is crazy or ugly.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I think it’s exciting to create experiences and make people not only feel different emotions, but also sometimes even change their lives or perception about life. Sometimes a person approaches you saying that they played your game about bipolar disorder and that made them feel less alone as they also had a loved one with the same illness. Just knowing that one single person feels like that thanks to my games, makes everything around being a game developer worth it.
What’s your biggest ambition in games?
To make games for everyone and to help to improve the world through them. I’m totally convinced that games can be a force for good in our society and help with many issues. This is a powerful media and we should take advantage of it wisely.
What advice would you give to an aspiring game designer or developer?
Never Give Up. The games industry is a difficult place, but work hard, listen to advice, trust your gut and you will be fine. Don’t compare yourself to others. Stay humble but believe in yourself. And keep making games no matter what.