Monday, May 16th, 2022 - Rebecca Timmis Author

Girls don’t just play video games … we make them too!

Award-winning creator Rebecca Timmis has turned her ‘flipper-riffic’ 4-book MerTales series into a mobile game, with an early access launch on May 20, followed by an official launch on 6 July 2022. MerTales: Mermaid Rescue has been developed as a fun and gentle maze-based game that relies on problem solving skills rather than quick reflexes or violence, while keeping the girl-power theme centric to the book series.

“There is a huge number of girl’s games out there, but so many seem to be centred around make-overs and dressing up,” says Timmis. “I wanted to make a game that reflected the heart of the books – the idea that girls can have adventures and save the day, too, all by themselves.”

MerTales: Mermaid Rescue follows the adventure of 9-year-old mermaid Pearl Periwinkle as she searches the enchanting undersea village Cockleshell Cove for her missing seahorse, Silverdust. Players must navigate Pearl through 3 ‘sea-sational’ locations, answering ocean-based riddles and completing mini-quests in order to advance through each maze. Bursting with the same mermaid-esque cuteness and clever wordplay as the books, the game is sure to be a hit with newcomers to the series and established fans alike.

And there is no shortage of fans! With the first book, MerTales: The Best Friend Promise, released in July 2021 by Albert Street Press (an imprint of Allen & Unwin), closely followed by Book 2: The Daring Reef Rescue in September of the same year, combined sales for the books exceeded 10,000 copies within just a few months. There is even the possibility of a potential animated television series.

Development of the game was an absolute labour of love for the mother of three. “I’ve been writing code for websites for years. When I thought about making a MerTales game, I thought – how hard can coding a game be?” Over 14 months Timmis learned the coding language for GameMaker, a popular game-making program for indie developers. Timmis carefully crafted every character and background, meticulously sourced music tracks, and engineered the maze layouts before putting all the pieces together. “Every skill I’ve learned over the last 20 years came into play; animation, character design, illustration, fiction writing, coding. It was a huge challenge. But watching my boys play it and lose themselves in this digital world I had created was priceless, not least because they could see girls really can do anything – including make games!”

While the ‘girl-power’ trope is nothing new, Timmis believes it’s important not to lose momentum. “Girls are exposed to new media every day,” she says. “Having worked in male-oriented industries like animation and IT for most of my adult life, I know how pervasive casual sexism can be. So it’s vital that creators keep writing girls as characters who are smart, resilient, and capable of solving problems on their own. When the ‘strong female character’ label becomes synonymous with ‘female character’, then we can take a breath.” MerTales: Mermaid Rescue is available now for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Full press kit: https://www.mertales.com.au/press-kit/
Interviews and enquiries (game): please email Rebecca at [email protected] or call 0418 739 835
Interviews and enquiries relating to the MerTales book series: please email Yvette at [email protected]
 

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Rebecca Timmis Author


I am an award-winning author and illustrator based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.


Rebecca Timmis
M: 0418739835
W: www.mertales.com.au

Keywords

video games, children's books, game development, girls in STEM

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