Taking Pride in ANZ Pride – Sammy Turner

Senior Gameplay Programmer at Halfbrick and delightful lolita fashion expert

Sammy Turner is a senior gameplay programmer at one of Australia’s most successful and longest running developers, Halfbrick. You might know them best for Fruit Ninja, but, as it turns out, they make a whole heap of absolutely amazing games. And one of the amazing people behind those games is, of course, Sammy.

Sammy Turner
Senior Gameplay Programmer
Twitter | InstagramLinkedIn 
Halfbrick Website What’s it like being LGBTQI+ in the ANZ Games Industry in 2020?
Sammy: From within the Industry, it’s been so nice to see an increasing amount of support for underrepresented groups over the past few years. I feel like many people in this region are caring, understanding and want the Industry to be as inclusive as possible. There is a lot of kindness and compassion being shared for each other and queer people are welcomed at large events such as gaming conferences and conventions, especially GCAP and PAX Australia. I also feel very fortunate that my colleagues at Halfbrick were welcoming of my own queer identity when I shared that with them.
However, all is not right in the world and the ANZ Games Industry is not immune from toxic behaviours, injustice and persecution. We’re all facing this, we all need to continue to learn and grow and do better for ourselves, our players and our communities. I’m grateful to be connected to many wonderful people in this industry, together we can make this Industry a better and more inclusive place for everyone.
GTG: How does what you make contribute to queer ANZs landscape?
Sammy: I’m one of many voices at my studio and there are always going to be competing thoughts and ideas for what kind of games we make, but I try to use my voice to spread information, build understanding and advocate for inclusivity. That can include adding more options to customise the player character, sharing feedback and ideas from our players, celebrating cultural holidays or even adding accessibility options. The games we make are for everyone to enjoy.
GTG: How do you bring your queerness into your content?
Sammy: I think this is something I’ve only started to think about recently as I’ve only really embraced my queer identity fully in the last couple of years. I want to feel seen and included in the games I play and I hope I can bring that feeling into what I create. I love being able to customise things and express myself, so I hope to keep building that in to what I make.
GTG: What would you change about the ANZ scene?
Sammy: I’d further promote underrepresented voices and share what they have to say with younger people getting into the Industry. I want people to see others who they can relate to and know that they can be themselves within this Industry.
GTG: What would you say to a young queer person who wants to do what you do?
Sammy: Your thoughts, your dreams and your experiences are valid and worth sharing with others. Go looking for things that interest you, that excite you and that connect you to other people, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can create it, you have that power.
GTG: Your favourite queer gaming moment: 
Sammy: I’m so grateful for character creators in games, being able to represent and explore my identity helped me so much to find my way to where I am now. And in recent years it’s been so wonderful to see these character creators allow diverse expressions of gender, sexuality, body types and more.



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