Elizabeth Boylan doesn't favour the shooting and space genres she feels saturate the videogame market.
Instead, the creative director of VectorBloom Technologies is creating games that incorporate ballerinas, butterflies and lulling music with a long-term goal of building a cult following among girls and young women aged 12 to 28.
"There haven't been enough game designers who are female. Now's the time for females not to be intimidated by entering the market," said the Emily Carr University of Art and Design dropout who registered VectorBloom in 2008 and started developing apps in 2009.
"Always the best games are made by people whose intention is to make a game that they love," she added.
Boylan, 36, had been struggling with developing a puzzle game but cast that aside to piece together a game based on her childhood passions.
Originally from Montreal and an admirer of the artistry of Cirque du Soleil, she longed to study ballet as a girl and loves music and costumes. She plans to develop 12 mini games under the umbrella title of Big Top Ballet.
Players of Kaleidoscope, the first mini game, which was released at the end of February, attach floating costumes to "paper" ballerinas that spin faster and faster. It's game over when too many costumes are dropped. It's available for download to computers and smartphones.
When the monarch butterfly arrives in the next version of the game to be released on Facebook in September, players need to fly the monarch through hoops to transform the ballerinas into butterflies as the music soars.
Boylan said the games will weave together and explore fantasy and nightmares. "That appeals more to females than having to spend hours to unlock all the levels instead of being to explore which one they like best," she said.
Boylan isn't worried some may see Big Top Ballet as playing into girlish stereotypes. "Part of the whole benefits of freedom, and that's what the feminist movement is about, is the freedom to choose," Boylan said. "When I'm free to choose without reacting to the patriarchy, then I'm going to create whatever I want."
Boylan's collaborators in Big Top Ballet include her husband, who's a programmer, and ill-esha, a former Vancouver-based music producer, DJ, vocalist and MC. Boylan, who lives in Nelson and plans to return to Vancouver next month, connected with ill-esha through Salmo's Shambhala Music Festival.
Boylan raised $5,000 through a crowd funding website for apps last summer. She hopes to pay online investors the required 54 per cent premium of their contributions from game sales by fall.
More than 6,000 individuals "like" Big Top Ballet on its Facebook page. As the lead in a miniscule games studio, Boylan hopes to build interest incrementally. "Eventually people will be talking about it because of the merit of the music and the art and game play," she said.