We are excited to share Patience‘s story as it shows perseverance and that hard work pays off.

Hi Patience, please introduce yourself.

Patience Ashiokai Ocquaye

My name is Patience Ashiokai Ocquaye. I’m a black game designer and developer from the UK. I’m currently a Junior level designer at King games in Stockholm working on Crash bandicoot: On The Run!

I am extremely passionate about the representation of black women within the gaming industry, and I wish to inspire more people to jump in and create some cool games. 

How did you get into the video games industry?

The desire to make games started when I was a child, I was utterly addicted to anime, and it inspired me to pursue game design as a career which led me to university. At university, I learned how to use the Unreal engine, build 3D models as well as texture and animate. When I finished my degree, I decided I would do my masters just to solidify the knowledge that I had and the direction I wanted to go into. 

I graduated in 2017 with hopes of becoming a game designer within a few months but I soon realised that I would need to create a game to showcase my skills. I began by creating and publishing my first app game called the ‘Kuki Game’ using Unity that was inspired by the classic Space Invaders. 

Unfortunately, after its release, it still wasn’t enough to get me a job within the industry but that didn’t stop me. I decided to work part-time and create my second app game called ‘MindTheGap!’ which was a bigger success than I had expected. I was able to get 1000 downloads, and I was a finalist in the Indie Prize showcase in Shenzen China 2018 and the UK 2019 which led to my game being published on the Chinese servers by Apptutti. 

During both of these games, I was applying for jobs like crazy, non-stop cover letters, non-stop applications, non-stop everything. I was able to make it to the face to face interviews, but I always lacked industry experience, which let me down. After I graduated In 2017, I applied to work on Candy Crush and Farm Heroes at King 3 times, and I was rejected three times, but in 2019 they saw my passion for games and design that made them put me on a team better suited for me which is creating new games. 

In your opinion, what efforts the video game industry can make to attract and retain black women talents?

I think it’s about representation and inspiring those who see them, they should show more diverse people working within the industry so it can motivate people to see themselves within the creators. 

Gaming events should have multicultural speakers from different backgrounds and jobs sharing their success stories more often as well as expressing how they feel within their environment. 

The work atmosphere must make black women feel comfortable and free to express their true selves and not feel the need to conform, fit in or dress differently. 

I think the game industry needs to be more adaptable to the current times. It needs to evolve with the generation to the point where anyone no matter what race, sexual orientation or disability should feel comfortable, free and love going to work in the industry so they can go beyond their full potential. 

Any words of advice for anyone looking to be part of the games industry today?

Don’t give up. Your passion, your drive and your motivation to learn, mean everything. Rejection doesn’t mean the end; it means that place isn’t right for you. Don’t let anybody tell you; you can’t because you can do anything.  

Keep your head up, keep doing your “thang”, voice your opinions and be proud of what you make because you will get to where you want to be.