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Welcome to Decoy Games

Ready, Set, Go! Imagine you are playing "Super Mario Kart"! Who do you picture playing alongside you, or even better, who do you picture building those games?

If you were to tell five-year-old Jewel that she'd be producing a video game at a Black-owned game studio, she'd scream! I grew up an avid gamer and later developed my skills into being in the gaming industry. Just like many kids who grew up in the early 2000s, video games were my escape! After school I would turn on the PlayStation and play all the classic cartoons turned video games, including "Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed," "SpongeBob SquarePants the Movie," and "Power Rangers: Dino Thunder." When the Nintendo Wii came out, I was able to get my hands on "Avatar the Last Airbender." It was a time of joy, heavy strategy, and expanding my creative mind. Little did I know I'd be able to work day-to-day with folks who create this! 

Straight out of college, I was able to work for Xbox, helping game studios produce inclusive games and practices, and then I moved on to spend two dynamic years of my career building games at "Minecraft"! Yes—you heard it correctly, THE "Minecraft." After several years of working within the Microsoft Gaming ecosystem, I chose to leave for a bigger opportunity—becoming a Games Producer at Decoy Games!

Left: Writer Posing on her first day; Right: Writer with the Founders of Decoy Games on both sides

While many in the Black community play video games, we represent a small majority when it comes to the gaming industry. In fact, Black people comprise 3% of the gaming industry, and there's even a smaller portion of game studio owners. I'd like to tell you about one—Decoy Games and the game-changing things they’re doing.

Decoy Games is an indie game development company founded by Khalil and Ahmed Abdullah. These brothers are known for their hit self-published game "Swimsanity," which can be played on multiple platforms such as PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam—which is iconic in itself! 

Khalil and Ahmed Abdullah have been playing games since the age of 3!

Khalil and Ahmed playing video games in their childhood home

They were huge fans of "Perfect Dark," "Left 4 Dead," and many other multiplayer games.

Not only were they avid gamers, their drive to succeed and dream big runs in their blood. They came from a family of entrepreneurs, which is no surprise that they ended up building their own major indie game studio!

Decoy Games started over ten years ago. Khalil started teaching himself to build a game in his classes during his pursuit of a Computer Science Degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst! Since the two brothers always stuck together, when Ahmed, Khalil's younger brother, joined him in class, they were able to work together to build the basis of what we know today as "Swimsanity"! 

After college, the brothers were balancing full-time careers in sales while working toward their dreams of Decoy Games. Khalil jokes about game development being equivalent to YouTube University because, just like many-early stage founders and indie game developers, the brothers had to learn a ton along the way. While the journey was not easy, the brothers managed w to self-produce, fund, and publish "Swimsanity" on multiple platforms: This iconic milestone launched Decoy Games into an even higher level in the games industry.

In the heat of the success of "Swimsanity," the brothers took a chance on themselves and left their full-time sales jobs to commit to Decoy Games fully. It's safe to say, it paid off.

Today, Decoy Games is currently working on a title with a major publishing deal! As many folks in the game industry can understand, I can't really say much more! What I can say is when this game is released, it will truly shift‌ the culture and bring even more gamers into the hemisphere! The true magic of Decoy Games isn't just what we are building but who we are as a team!

A dream team is an understatement. 

Full Decoy Games photo taken during 2023’s Gamer’s Developer Conference

Some may call us the Avengers of game-making. At Decoy, we are a dynamic team of 30+ energetic and extremely talented individuals. Our team spans across the country, and we truly all love what we do. Our disciplines span from Development to Environment, Animation, Character Concepting and Modeling, Visual and Sound Effects, Narrative, Music, and more! As a producer on the team, I can tell you that it is rare to go a day without laughing on this team while also being extremely efficient.

Decoy Games Team Selfies

The brothers have always ensured that they constantly provide opportunities to groups that don't always get access or exposure to the gaming industry while striving for excellence! It's reflected in our team, our collaborations, and our projects! For example, at Decoy, we've done a ton of third-party collaborations to represent different perspectives in games.  

Decoy Games is a force to be reckoned with.

Being a part of Decoy Games is literally being a part of history, and it is truly an honor to build with them! For more information on the studio and how you can participate in the movement, check out decoygames.com

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