“Blanket Fort Chats” is a semi-regular column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Julie Huynh, an artist and interaction designer specializing in play and virtual spaces. Her work aims to make playful spaces using technology to create another level of interaction for users.
Miss N: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into making games?
Julie: When I was seven, I made a Monopoly-like board game with a KeroKeroppi (the frog from Sanrio) theme. I grew up in Sonoma County, California and I studied Studio Art and English during my undergrad at UC Santa Barbara, originally wanting to be an artist/writer or work in advertising. However, during my final year, I experimented with projected animations on my abstract landscape paintings and I haven’t turned back from art and technology since.
While I was working and looking for a graduate program, Parsons was the only design and technology program I applied to. All the other applications were for animation schools. So, instead of waiting on the waiting list for USC’s animation program, I decided to try out Parsons—known for their art and design interdisciplinary academics. I’ve played video games through my childhood growing up with console systems, and my favorites were puzzle, fighting, and adventure games. However, it wasn’t until graduate school through great teachers such as Kyle Li, Nick Fortugno, and Robert Yang that all those years of video games could direct me into telling stories through games.
Miss N: Can you describe your earliest memory of playing games?
Julie: The original NES 1985 edition. I think later that year my dad went to Japan and came back with 100 in one games, I was so stoked. Our original NES set also came with the original Mario and Duck Hunt with the zapper. I also got my first Game Boy a few years later, and still have it.
Shooting games stuck out because I felt so immersed playing Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, and then Time Crisis.