Celebrating Women in VR: Q&A with Ana Ribeiro
How did you get your start in the tech industry?
Ana Ribeiro: I’ve always played games since I was a little kid, but it took me a long time to consider that my passion for video games could turn out into a potential career.
It was easy to realize which career my heart was into: game development. I took the leap and decided to go for it, having no skills at that point, just a psychology degree and years of gaming experience. So I flew to England to study for a degree in Games Programming and an MA in Game Design & Development. In 2013, I tried the Oculus DK1 for the first time and since then I have been creating games in virtual reality.
Tell us about your current role.
AR: I’m the Creative Director of the Pixel Ripped series, which pays a wacky multi-dimensional VR game homage to the early days of gaming. Pixel Ripped started as my final project for my MA degree; I had this crazy dream about how it would be to revive childhood experiences and play games like they used to be, and this dream was now possible thanks to VR. Then finally in 2017 I found ARVORE, the publisher which helped not just fund but co-produce the first episode, Pixel Ripped 1989, which got released in 2018, and now we’re working on the next installment of the series: Pixel Ripped 1995.
Who’s your favorite figure from women’s history?
AR: Lady Gaga is a big inspiration for me, the way she innovates and managed to change the music industry. She continues improving at her career and manages to help others on the way and stay humble. I want to become the Lady Gaga of the games industry.
How do you see yourself making history?
AR: My dream is to inspire young girls around the globe to reach for their dreams and become leaders in their fields. I believe that, if we keep up the hard work, we can prove to the world that women are relevant for the industry by releasing great creations and making history—history which will inspire little girls to want to become leaders in the future too.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young girl considering a career in tech or the arts, what would it be and why?
AR: Still nowadays, I see society educating young women to chase a delusional dream of “beauty”, a life goal defined by others. The princess’s dream is way too overrated, and it’s far more interesting to become the hero.
Don’t let anyone pull you away from your dreams; stick with it because the answer to success is knowing who you are.
How do you see women pushing the state of the art forward in the fields of augmented and virtual reality?
Bringing variety in gender, expertise, and disciplines can increase the chances of innovation in the right direction. We are in a blue ocean right now, where the most out of the box we go, the better we can become. All this variety of vision that women, the LGBTQ community, and men can bring together will just enhance our chances of success.
Mar 23, 2020 at 23:09