Thursday, December 08, 2011

Game changers: the women who make videogames

An article in today's Guardian discusses women who play video games and more importantly, those who make them. What is notable are the reasons suggested for the traditionally low numbers of both, including the numbers of women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) disciplines.

Mitu Khandaker, who started programming at the age of 12 and now runs her own indie development studio, Tiniest Shark, credits "a complicated mix of marketing, early arcade culture, and deep-seated cultural expectations" for the status quo. "There are a lot of things in games that women can point to and go 'this isn't for me', whether that's eye-rollingly sexualised female characters, or just the openly misogynistic attitudes to be found within many gaming communities."


Reddy reckons that games development is becoming more appealing to girls as a potential career because it is no longer about a computer sitting in the corner of the room, it's about phones, laptops and social networks. "I look at the generation of young women coming through school now and they've all grown up with technology, they've grown up in an era where entertainment, games and music are interconnected."

Our role:

"I think young girls need to have their eyes opened to the different avenues open to them in games," says writer Rhianna Pratchett, who has worked on several titles with strong female leads including Heavenly Sword and Mirror's Edge. "They can be artists, animators, writers, designers, producers, programmers … We need to get them fired up about technology and find the Ada Lovelaces of the future. I think both the industry and the educational system have a role to play to achieve this. There are so many great female role-models within the games industry, but they rarely get the exposure they deserve."

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