MixIt-Up is a puzzle game which celebrates the work of AtariWomen game developer Dawn Epstein, and her work on the Atari 2600 game: Strawberry Shortcake Musical Match-Ups. The goal of the original game Strawberry Game was to rearrange the body parts of the characters from the cartoon show, “Strawberry Shortcake,” and match them to the characters’ complete form, clothes, and figures.
The MixIt-Up artefact challenged the idea that there is a correct and perfectly “matched” body by encouraging the participant to create their own representations. The different body parts make it possible to explore the diversity and uniqueness of individual characters. The purpose of this design is to challenge stereotypes and facilitate variety and inclusive ideas.
As an ‘Easter Egg,’ we incorporated a character that is not a part of the original Strawberry Shortcake game, but instead a part of the “Care Bears” game. Care Bears was created by Laura Nikolich, a colleague of Dawn Epstein, but it was not originally released. Despite beiing finished and ready to go, Care Bears was not released because it was a competitor for the release of Strawberry Shortcake. Both games were considered to be “girlier.” Parker Brothers, the company behind both games, decided that the ‘girly’ game genre was not economically strong and thus could not make an advantageous profit. The stigma that girls and women did not play video games was very dominating in gaming industry at that time. As a result of this stereotypical assumption, the video game market was predominantly limited to laser shooting games and restricted the audience towards for a 14-year-old boys.
Concept, art, and manufacturing: Yueqian Zhang & Jungeun Choi