Although she works as a user interface developer for Montreal’s biggest video game company, Ubisoft Montreal, Cohen-Palacios is turning heads with Pixelles. Her not-for-profit community organization promotes and provides resources for women who are interested or curious about video games, whether as a career, hobby, artistic medium or form of personal expression.
Cohen-Palacios and game-designer Tanya Short, who also runs the Montreal-based game studio Kitfox Games, co-founded Pixelles in 2012.
The initiative offers monthly workshops, mentorship programs and activities, completely free, including a “Make Your First Video Game” program. What they focus on the most, however, is to offer women a safe place to learn and get some experience in the primarily male industry.
“When you’re the only woman in the room at a games event, you can end up feeling like the representative for your whole entire gender. It’s a huge amount of pressure,” Cohen-Palacios says.
“We offer a space where you can leave all those bags at the door, where you can learn alongside other people for fun,” she adds. “We offer a feeling — an ability to become empowered by your own self, wrapped in a video game package.”
Although Pixelles focuses on providing the necessary resources for women, its monthly workshops, social events and some select programs are available to all genders. In addition, anyone with the expertise can volunteer as a mentor.