Alayna Pagni

Queerly Represent Me spoke with Alayna, an artist, programmer, and designer at Electric Prune Juice.

QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?

Alayna: I'm a self-taught indie developer. I do 2D pixel art games; I do the art, programming, and design all myself!

QRM: How long have you been involved in the game industry, and what projects have you worked on? What are you working on currently?

Alayna: I've been teaching myself to make games for around 10 or 11 years now, I have one finished project, which is a puzzle game called Marshmallow in Fruit Land. You can find it on! I also did a little bit of art for Secret Little Haven. At the moment I am in planning stages for a new game or two!

QRM: What inspired you to get started in the games industry?

Alayna: I've played games and loved them since I was a kid, and when I was little, before I knew how games were made, I was already designing my own ones and making them into little books I called "pencil and paper games", haha! So it was always clear to me that making games was something I wanted to do and was passionate about.

QRM: In what ways do you feel your experiences as a queer person manifest in the games you work on, and influence the work you do?

Alayna: I always want to make sure to include nods to trans and gay culture, or queer characters, things like that. In Marshmallow in Fruit Land, I included the trans flag colors on an item, and it made me so happy to see that make people's day when they found it

QRM: Do you have a favourite queer character—in games or media more generally? If so, what is it about them that makes them your favourite?
Question asked by @kamienw.

Alayna: I unfortunately don't see enough of them to have a favorite, blah.

QRM: Have you ever encountered roadblocks in trying to include queer characters in games? What do you think is preventing greater diversity within games?
Question asked by @dustinalex91.

Alayna: I never have, because I make them myself, so if I want a character to be queer, I can go for it, haha! The problem in general is unwillingness and fear of upsetting "certain people".

QRM: Why do you think it is important that queer audiences are able to see themselves represented in the games they play, and in the developers who make the games they see? What can we do to improve the industry for queer audiences and devs?

Alayna: We exist, so we deserve to be represented and get to exist in the works of fiction that everyone else gets to exist in, too. To improve games we just need more queer people working on games, getting their games out there and seen, and not bowing to the will of angry bigoted people.

QRM: Have you ever mentored somebody in your role in games, or been mentored? If so, what made these experiences worthwhile for you?
Question asked by @pepelanova.

Alayna: I've given game-making advice before, but nothing specific like that.

QRM: In what ways can non-queer folk increase and support queer diversity present within games, as well as in the industry more broadly? How can we all work to support intersectional approaches to diversity, and why is this important?

Alayna: Buy our games and share them everywhere. Get the word out, hehe!

QRM: Is there a message that you would like to share with the queer game players, game studies researchers, and other interested folks who comprise the Queerly Represent Me community?

Alayna: Just keep going for it, keep making your things queer and raising your voices about wanting representation! We're making it happen!


You can follow Alayna on Twitter and support her on Patreon.
Check out
Marshmallow in Fruit Land here.