Computer games developer Nat Marco has good reason to smile. She is one of the founders of Honeyslug, which develops games for the web, PC, consoles and iPhones. One of her creations, Hohokum, has been nominated for the Independent Games Festival. It is the only British company to make the short list.
Dubbed the Oscars of the industry, the festival takes place in San Francisco on March 2.
Miss Marco, 27, set up Honeyslug 11 years ago. She tells People: "I've had a passion for games from a very young age. My parents brought me up playing computer and tabletop games. I still love making games as much today as I did when I used to make board games out of old cereal boxes during my lunch hour at school."
A former pupil at Rosh Pinah in north London, Miss Marco studied animation before working for Morpheme, a specialist in mobile phone games. She then formed Honeyslug with two colleagues. "It is an unusual career for a female, but there are some very exciting things going on in the industry at the moment and I think this will encourage a shift in perspective. More and more women are playing computer games and I think this might affect the number of females making games too."
Hohokum, which is up for an Excellence in Visual Art award, is a 2D action-adventure game. Players take on the role of a mythical snake-like beast, flying around various alien worlds and helping out the people that they come across. "It is a great honour to be nominated. Hopefully this will be the springboard for future success."
A member of Edgware United Synagogue, Miss Marco says she can usually be found playing on the computer. "My favourite game of all time is a 1996 Dreamworks adventure game called The Neverhood. That game is actually the reason I wanted to get into computer games in the first place."