Ker-Chunk is the female-led gaming company empowering women characters
It seems a tale as old as the dawn of time. A princess awaits her handsome prince to hop, skip, and jump the many trials leading up to saving his precious, beautiful flower.
But, if you’re playing the new mobile game PrinceNapped, you’ll come across an opposite storyline of what you’re probably expecting.
Game designer Molly Proffitt sat with Refinery29 and discussed the new game concept and aesthetics.
Unlike the alluring (and ineffectual) princesses that have been represented in video games for a while now, such as Princess Peach, Princess Zelda, and Princess Kitana, PrinceNapped is scratching your previous conceptions of game storylines.
PrinceNapped is a mobile game created by Ker-Chunk Games in an attempt to switch up the normalized gender roles. In this game, it’s Prince Douchebag — I mean, Edwin — that’s being saved.
The Prince in question should have probably been named Chad or something. Proffitt tells Refinery29,
“We literally Googled the word ‘douchebag’ and started pulling pictures.”
Proffitt shares her journey about the game’s production. As a child growing up in Nashville, Tennessee. Needless to say, she didn’t see much support for women in the STEM community.
“Coding classes weren’t really available for women, and there wasn’t a lot of messaging out there that was like ‘you can do that.'”
She’s been working as a game designer for a while now. After a stint working for Atlanta Studios, she decided it was time to take gaming development into her own hands.
A self-taught application designer, Proffit graduated college with a degree in Media & Game design from SCAD. In 2012, gaming had taken a different turn, with female gamers becoming more active on social media — specifically on Facebook.
“I was starting to see the data really, really change. 2011 to 2014 was the heyday of Facebook games and you were seeing women of all ages starting to pick up games.”
Molly made it her goal to reach this audience. Dabbling with creating games over the next couple years, she came across a study by Jun Group, which claimed 60% of females played games daily compared to a shocking 47% of men.
Armed with a team of badass females, Ker-Chunk got to business. The game’s heroine, Clara, was born in a world where female empowerment comes first.
“We want to continue tackling messages that reverse stereotypes and deal with confidence — we want the player to feel like they are in a position of power.”
Every level in the game was created by her. The game “revives classic kinds of gameplay has been a success formula for many of today’s most popular mobile games,” by having users “unblock” the puzzles that open up pathways to reach the Prince using Clara’s various powers.
We definitely need more Mollys in the world. These gaming changes are a huge step in the right direction. While I love my male protagonists as much as the next person when it comes to gaming, it’s a nice shakeup to have a woman do the dirty work.
Peep PrinceNapped in the app store today, and let us know what you think.