After more than 15 years of experience creating games for the slot industry, Christmas Uberuaga knows it takes a lot more than luck to become a successful game designer. With so many popular games already on the market, designers have to get creative to stand out.
“There is an infinite number of ways to make an 87 percent RTP game,” Uberuaga explains. “Being able to put the math together to create a hit game is an art. It takes many years of practice and great mentorship to get it right.”
Uberuaga has proven her abilities by developing a variety of successful and award-winning products since she first became part of the Aristocrat team in 2015. Her contributions include Liberty Link Stepper, Cash Express Luxury Line, and Buffalo Diamond, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. Her passion for creating games that excite players inspired Uberuaga to found her own studio at Aristocrat, UberWins, in January 2021.
“It’s not a level that I thought I would ever achieve, but I’m very happy that I took the leap,” she says. With her team of talented designers and developers, Uberuaga has maintained her winning streak. UberWins Studio’s first game, Coin Trio-Piggy Burst, debuted at No. 2 on Eilers & Krejcik Gaming’s October 2022 Game Performance Report for new core, video reel games.
When it comes to learning game design, Uberuaga believes there is no substitute for years of practice under the guidance of excellent mentors.
“I was born into a sea of game design talent where I was able to learn from the best and gain an understanding of what gaming was all about,” she explains. Uberuaga credits several mentors for giving her opportunities to succeed as her career grew.
“Paulina Rogers brought me into the business, and I can’t thank her enough,” Uberuaga says. “Joe Kaminkow has been a champion for me; he pushed me into the deep end and let me show everyone that I could swim. My most recent mentor, Allon Englman, has been pivotal in helping me learn to run a studio of my own and to focus on what’s really important.”
Uberuaga also lauds Aristocrat for providing a supportive environment for its budding designers.
“There are many courses and training available for anything that makes you better at your job,” she explains. “It really feels like everyone here wants you to succeed, and they are willing to help you in any way they can.”
With over a decade of valuable experience under her belt, Uberuaga is now able to give back as a mentor to other designers working their way up.
“I try to take time to listen and help anyone that comes my way,” she says. “I have mentored a few people that asked, and I have pushed and fought for others to take leadership roles because I saw great potential in them.”
Now that her own design studio is off the ground, Uberuaga is looking forward to the future.
“I’m excited to get more games out into the field and to see how they perform,” she says. “Seeing your games on the floor is exciting, and the more titles you put out, the better chance you have of one of them being a success. Watching players enjoying your game is the ultimate reward.”