Women in games: A mini guide to working and thriving in the video game industry
Originally published* on Current.com in July of 2012.
By Daniela Capistrano / @dcap
“The single most important thing you can do [to break into the industry] is to make games – even if it’s a mod of a game that you love. Get together with other people and build a game.”—Amy Jo Kim, CEO at ShuffleBrain and Game Designer, Author and Educator
So, you’re a girl and you love video games: twenty years ago this would have been unusual but today almost everyone in the U.S. is a gamer: a 2011 survey indicated that 72 percent of households play video games and the number is growing. A 2013 study revealed that women comprise 45% of the gamer population. Women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 17 or younger (19%).
The struggle: why few women go from gamer to creator
Unfortunately the video game industry is remarkably less diverse; The Boston Globe reports that women account for only 11 percent of game designers and 3 percent of programmers. Gender discrimination still exists both in how games are made and who gets to make them. Not only do we need more female characters in video games, we need more women and girls to create games.
Women still struggle with making a living and being respected in the video game industry. A 2012 Twitter discussion among women working in games (#1reasonwhy) pointed out that sexist practices, workplace harassment and unequal pay for men and women was common.
There is, after all, a reason that #1reasonwhy is still a relevant hashtag.
— Robin Burks (@sunriserobin) March 5, 2014
There’s a 27 percent gap in average incomes, with women making $68,062 versus men at $86,418, according to Game Developer Magazine’s 2011 annual salary survey.
More roles for women in games
Men historically have had more influence within the industry, but the culture is changing. Female programmers are in demand and more women are taking advantage of video game design programs at universities across the nation. Reuters reports that the number of women hired by game companies has tripled since 2009, according to recruiting firm VonChurch.
To find out what it takes to succeed in the video game industry, Daniela Capistrano spoke with some of the leading women in video games. The result is this mini guide for girls and women of all ages who want a career making and contributing to gaming culture.
If you’re a guy and you stumbled across this, welcome! There’s plenty of relevant information here for you too.
DISCLOSURE: Despite its length, this article full of industry tips and online resources is called a mini guide because it only represents a third of what Daniela uncovered. To unhide all the goodies hidden within this guide, click the “show/hide” buttons.
The beginning: prepare yourself for a job in the industry
Women of all backgrounds have the opportunity to thrive in the video game industry while changing the way that women and people of color are represented in games – but they need the skills, personal habits and networks that will support their career goals.
Students: Do not believe the myth that boys are better than girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – it’s not true. While STEM skills are helpful in the video game industry and female programmers are needed, you don’t need to know how to code to work in video games (but consider learning anyway!).
If you want to make video games, start doing it now and teach yourself about the video game industry. Find ways to make learning fun and practice your developing talents. The path to a successful career in video games (regardless of gender) is similar to what’s required in most industries: being self-motivated, asking questions, learning/applying the necessary skills and finding peers and working professionals willing to offer guidance and mentorship.
We’ll explore how to do all these things further in this mini guide.
College grads and women in other industries: Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t excel at STEM in school, don’t know how to code or don’t have a degree in Computer Science. If you are passionate about video games and want to work in the industry, there are many opportunities for you to apply the skills you’ve attained through other work experiences.
If a kid can make games, so can you (watch this inspiring clip of Globaloria students)!
Some video game positions require more advanced technical skills than others, but all require the commitment to understanding how the industry works, where it’s headed and what you’re best suited to do to support the creation of video games.
“As an industry we’re very male centric but that is changing … I’ve heard people make arguments against why it’s important to have women in the industry. I counter with this: why would diversity make the industry worse? Different perspectives within games – and within actual game creation – is nothing but a good thing.” – Shana T. Bryant, Senior Associate Producer at Capcom
Not sure where to start? Get inspired!
Learn more about what your options are by studying the people who are already excelling in the industry. Here are three women with impressive careers in video games who are leading innovation:
Corrinne Yu: Halo Team Principal Engine Architect for Halo team in Microsoft Studios (343 Industries)
Ms. Yu has the distinction of being the first and only Technical Lead at Microsoft Game Studios and is a veteran Director of Technology. With over 20 years of programming experience, Corrinne was an early pioneer of game engine development and excels in other pursuits; her nuclear physics research won her a national award from the U.S. Department of Energy and she even programmed on the Space Shuttle Project at Rockwell International California.
In an interview for GirlGamer.com, Corrinne shared what drew her to game programming:
“With game engine programming, we program a completely self-consistent world with photons traversing through game materials in just the right way, with faces and bodies acting and reacting just so, and every extra bit of engineering effort we put forth, we make the gaming immersion just this much deeper and richer for the player playing the game. It is a very mentally fulfilling sort of career.”
While being interviewed by Channel 9, Corrine described how she transitioned from a hobbyist to a professional programmer:
“I’ve loved programming computers ever since I first saw and touched one, which was the Apple II. It was before the personal computer revolution and so a lot of it was I’d basically go to universities and try to borrow time on the really big mainframes. I also tried to work for colleges, as well as for scientific communities … One of the first professional jobs I had was programming punch cards … I loved [programming] so much I just went out of my way to seek out opportunities where i could either do it for free or for a job.”
Amy Jo Kim, CEO at ShuffleBrain and Game Designer, Author and Educator
Dr. Kim is an internationally recognized expert in online social architecture and a designer of social games and communities. Her client history includes Electronic Arts, Sony, Disney, eBay, MTV, Square/Enix, and numerous startups. Her influential book, Community Building on the Web, is required reading in universities and game companies around the world.
In her spare time, Amy Jo is an in-demand speaker at events around the world, analyzing gamification trends, game mechanics, online communities and more.
Here is some of the advice she shared with Daniela Capistrano:
“Learning how to code is part of 21st century literacy. The single most important thing you can do [to break into the industry] is to make games – even if it’s a mod of a game that you love. Get together with other people and build a game. Maybe you’ll code or do the art, or manage the spreadsheet for the assets. People who already built their own games get interviews. [Employers] don’t want someone who is just an idea person or a talker. Build something, learn from it and then try building something else. In video games, you have to have a personality of a builder.”
Follow the industry and see where you can contribute.
“The games industry is being radically transformed right now. Mobile platforms and Facebook games have transformed where revenue growth is. It’s all in mobile, online and social. Consoles are holding down the fort but that is shrinking, and in all growth areas there are just as many females as males. The next 5-10 years of opportunity in gaming are going to be in these growth areas where there will be opportunity for people to reinvent what a game is for a very different audience from when traditional gaming started.”
Draw from your own experiences.
”Females are uniquely suited to understand collaborative gaming and to create collaborative games. There is big opportunity for females as designers and creators of games that guys would never think to build.”
Watch Amy Jo give her Ignite talk at Google I/O 2012 on collaborative gaming and the latest trends (43:15 in).
Elonka Dunin: Executive Producer and General Manager of Online Community at Simutronics Corporation
Like all of the women referenced in this mini-guide, Ms. Dunin has contributed much to culture beyond gaming. In addition to working at Simutronics (an online games company) since 1990, she is an active public speaker as well as a founding member of the International Game Developers Association’s Online Games SIG, co-Director of the Global Game Jam, on the Board of Directors for the building of a new National Museum of Cryptology and taught government agents about cryptography to track Al Qaeda!
In her interview with Capistrano, Elonka explained why attending game jams is a fun way to build your skills and your network:
“There is something for everyone at a game jam. I saw an eight year old come with his dad and his job was to search online for sound effects, someone’s mom came and since she had a marketing background, we had her write up a blog post about the game jam. One woman came in with no hands – she’s an artist and we used her art in a couple of games. There is something for everyone to do. It’s a great way to learn how to create a game, as part of team, in a rapid prototyping environment. All you have to do is try it; don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to be perfect.”
Elonka manages the intern program at Simutronics and revealed the qualities she’s looking for:
“If you want to program, you need to go in the interview and be able to say ‘I want to be a programmer and I work at it every night, I’m always learning.’ That is the person we’re more likely to hire, who has that passion.
If someone came to me and said ‘I want to be an executive producer, I want your job,’ I would say ‘learn everything you can about all the different skills that it takes to make games and what a project manager does. Learn excellent communication and time management skills. Take classes in project management and accounting. Don’t try to pretend you’re good at everything; if an applicant says ‘I’m really good at this,’ it’s more real.”
Elonka also cautioned readers to make sure that a career in video games is what you really want:
“Figure out what you enjoy doing, what your passion is. Don’t go to the game industry if it’s not your passion to make games; if you have don’t have a passion for it you won’t be happy. Find what you love, work really hard at it and enjoy it and the job will follow you.”
Six tips to help you attain your dream job
1. Be curious and optimize your distractions.
“I always let myself be curious – even get distracted – when something moves me. I follow blogs on strange photography, infinity and fractals, bizarre fashion trends; things that foster different emotions. When I design, I always start with emotions, sensations, revelations – what do I want players to feel, see, learn? I love paradox and juxtaposition, anything that forces your brain to think in a new way or make unexpected connections. I love going out to quiet places: parks and natural settings. Whenever my throat gets tight – something literally takes my breath away – then I know I should capture or try to understand it. Good game design revolves around creating evocative experiences.“ – Chelsea Howe, Director of Design at SuperBetter Labs
More thoughts on how curiosity informs skill-building:
“I still constantly play games and evaluate all the new platforms. I started on the Apple II and the latest platforms are social networks, ios devices and tablets – intellectual curiosity. I remember when I first started playing Facebook games in 2007 and 2008, being fascinated with asynchronistic gameplay with people. It was really intellectually fascinating to me, this new demographic.” – Brenda Garno Brathwaite, Loot Drop co-founder and award-winning game designer and author
“There was no career path laid out, no game design major or a graphical interface for the Internet when I started. I just kept asking questions and finding resources. One of the things you can use social media for is to learn something. Don’t just use it for chatting with friends. If you want to find game designers, look them up online or on Facebook, send them an email. They are surprisingly open to helping people who have a passion for something, who are asking questions and reaching out.” – Shannon Sullivan, VP, Programs and Production at World Wide Workshop
Here are five more tips for breaking into the video game industry and thriving:
2. Learn about the industry through as many internships as you can get – while in school or independently.
Kristin Van De Yar, former G4 “X-Play” intern and Office Manager for Xolla (a company that develops monetization tools for MMO, social, mobile and casual games), emphasized the value of “not limiting yourself” when applying for internships or employment:
“I was one of three female interns for ‘X-Play’ and it was the first time they ever had that many women interning at the same time. I still talk to the people at ‘X-Play’ and they say that they always get more men than women applying but women are more than welcome. G4 is a great opportunity to get your foot in the industry and see what it’s about.”
Kristin’s advice for those starting out in games:
“Your entry level job in the industry may not be exactly where you want to be at this very moment and that’s OK. I worked at GameStop and while it wasn’t where I wanted to stay, it lead me to great opportunities; you should make every experience a stepping stone to where you want to be.”
Alyson Szymanski, a producer at Microsoft’s 343 Industries, shared what she looks for in an intern:
“When I interview, I am looking for someone with the aptitude for learning quickly. Do they see the big picture, work well with different types of people, understand all the different roles and have a basic understanding of that – do they have a passion for learning. Professionalism also goes a long way, such as proofreading your resumes. If shows you really care about the position you are applying for.”
Lorraine Hopping Egan, an author, writer and game designer, explained how you can create your own internship experience in your city, whether you’re in school or not:
“The NYU Game Center has a good networking community. I was amazed to walk into a room and it was just me and maybe about two other women – the rest were all guys. There should be more women there. Anyone can help test games and take their games [to the meetups] to get them tested, get exposure. If I was starting out and interested in breaking into the game business, that is what I would do: show up and be seen and connect with people by playing games and testing games.”
3. Constantly practice self-assessment and seek feedback to improve your skills.
Sande Chen, Writer and Game Designer; Co-Author of Serious Games: Games That Train, Educate, and Inform, encouraged women to share their work for feedback:
“Speak up, make your voice heard and don’t be drowned out. All these young men, they want to show their stuff and don’t have a problem sharing their portfolio. You can’t be a wallflower, standing to the side. It’s a competitive industry – you need to be proud of what you’ve accomplished and feel comfortable believing in yourself.”
Amy Berciano, a recent graduate from UCLA with a BA in Design|Media Arts agreed:
“My ultimate goal is down the line to be a game designer, whether it be mechanics or story. It’s up to me to be self-motivated and do what I can, to put up content so people can respond to it. You build yourself up that way. I’m not that great at programming so I am teaching myself. I want to make a game for people to test. Right now I’m looking for internships and work that can help me build my skills, design-wise.”
4. Network, network, network: in person and online.
“Sign up for game projects online and build your network. Whether it’s in Google hangouts or IM, sharing docs, contributing to open source projects helps you put your skills into practice while meeting new people. Taking an online course is also a great way to figure out how to manage time and teams remotely. You have to get in there, figure out what’s needed, ask good questions and grab onto something and own it. Building my network came down to me telling people what I wanted to do and doing it – leading by example. I like to say that I have my GSD degree – Get Shit Done.” – Tara Tiger Brown, Entrepreneur and Technical Product Manager/Writer
More tips on how to collaborate with people within the industry:
“I’m a host for the Platform Biased podcast because I’m passionate about what I do and it’s nice to represent that there are women out there who do this work. We’re here – we’re small in number, but we’re here!” – Bex Bradley, Software Development Engineer in Test, Microsoft Game Studios
“Beyond internships, there are many professional associations you can be a part of. There are plenty of opportunities online to connect with LinkedIn members who work in the industry. There are all kinds of ways to really put yourself out there and meet people – you never know what will come out of that. You can’t be scared to follow up.” – Liz Buckley, Vice President of Marketing at Majesco Entertainment, home to Zumba Fitness Rush and other popular titles
5. Keep an open mind: your perfect job may not exist – yet.
Lisa Rutherford, Coliloquy’s co-founder and CEO, encourages newcomers to explore emerging opportunities in the industry:
“Monetization is one of the areas where women with softer skills can make an impact: virtual goods strategy, the virtual economy itself. This role can be called a Revenue Officer but there are different types of titles. A woman who majored in psychology and behavioral economics can be an incredibly viable person in this role. Merchandizing, figuring out how to sell people something they want – women know how these things work.”
Not everyone wants to make games – many women have built careers on writing about and supporting game culture:
“I run an editorial site but it also features playable games. It’s a fun challenge dealing with companies or smaller entities to procure new games for the site. I definitely believe in the power of self-publishing; it’s in your hands – you just have to do it. In the 90s I created GameGal.com, a games site for women, with my husband. Self-publishing led me to meeting people in the industry and other editors, so eventually my fun side project resulted in paid jobs.” – Libe Goad, Editor in Chief at Games.com, judge for both Spike TV’s VGA awards and the E3 Game Critics Awards
6. Don’t let any form of discrimination get in the way of your goals.
“Our industry is going through a revolution right now. The backlash, what is being seeing as misogynistic behavior, doesn’t represent the majority of male gamers, but it shows we have a long way to go. There are considerably fewer women in the video game industry, and within that population there are fewer women of color. How I’ve responded to [discrimination] is I expect it, but I don’t accept it.” – Shana T. Bryant, Senior Associate Producer at Capcom
Brenda Garno Brathwaite, who has worked in game development since 1981, shared her thoughts on how representations of women and people of color in games are slowly changing and what you can do to be a part of it:
“In the past, a guy said to me ‘why are there are no black characters in video games’ and at the time I couldn’t think of any, and it was a profound experience. I was working on a game where you could be a blue fairy but not a black character, which I changed that day. Now, when I’m making games, diversity is something I’m thinking about on the forefront. If you’re working on a game and want to see more Hispanic or Asian characters, bring it up, because it sounds simple but sometimes developers just haven’t thought about it. I think these are important requests.”
Carly A. Kocurek, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin (who’s dissertation is a cultural history of the video game arcade in the 1970s and 1980s), suggested seeking out inspiring women who confront discrimination:
“Mattie Brice, who’s @xMattieBrice on Twitter, blogs at xgalatea.blogspot.com. She’s a games journalist and a transgender woman of color. She writes a lot about gaming from her perspective and takes on a lot of issues in gaming communities. She’s also a really nice, helpful person, so I think she’d probably be able to point you to some helpful folks.”
“You don’t see many Vietnamese female game developers in the industry but in my experiences, it’s been more an issue of gender than race. Overall though, I’ve had positive experiences; it helps that I grew up being able to interact with guys very easily, and in the end, everyone just wants to make a quality product. But there are some people in the industry who have an idea of how a female producer is supposed to be. There are times when you just have to be firm – some men don’t realize the context of their comments. I set my sights on game making and don’t put too much focus or energy on what’s keeping me back.”
Be aware that the road to your dream job may not be easy but don’t let that discourage you; even high-profile women in the industry deal with discrimination:
“If a woman who has contributed as much to the culture, genre, and perception of gaming as Felicia Day can be dismissed as ‘a glorified booth babe’ by someone who hasn’t even bothered to read her ‘portfolio,’ then it’s safe to say that the problem is even worse on the ground for less well-known women who make their living in the industry, much less for female gamers themselves.” – Wil Wheaton, American actor and writer (quote from Tumblr)
Resources and advice for next steps
All the women interviewed for this article agreed that newcomers should start – right now – by creating or contributing to video game projects through game jam events or other independent collaborations, as a method to build skills and to network.
If you just thought “but I don’t think coding is for me,” don’t let that deter you; there are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer on game projects as a community manager, marketing lead, music composer, artist, project manager, QA tester, or any number of important roles.
Meanwhile, assess what you already enjoy doing in your life and what you’re good at – those skills do apply within the industry. Simultaneously, research roles to figure out what is a good fit for you and take steps to make yourself qualified for the job.
Oh yes, and be sure to play lots of games!
We know what some of you are thinking: “I don’t have time to work for free” and/or “my work and home obligations don’t leave me much time to play games.” Don’t let these reasons keep you from your goals.
Several women in the industry suggested that an entry level QA (Quality Assurance) testing position is a great option for anyone to learn about aspects of creating a game while being paid to do it. Bex Bradley at Microsoft Game Studios was kind enough to provide us with some guidance:
Bex’s advice on how to prepare yourself for your QA tester interview:
“It would be awesome if more people gained QA testing experience with indie game projects. Whether you gain it through an internship or on your own, being able to say during your interview that you have experience beta testing is very valuable, as well as being able to provide references from your team members.
This breakdown [below]is specific to how we run things at Microsoft Studios. Generally across the industry there will be a group of testers and then a test lead, but here is our hierarchy within Test.”
TA: Test Associate
No previous experience necessarily required. Runs tests cases and reports bugs.
“There are a number of ways to get an entry level QA position. A lot of testing is done by contract staff, so you can sign up with an agency. Normally to find this kind of work you need to live in an area where game developers are, because that is where most of the test jobs are.
The industry can be very difficult to get into and there are many pros and cons. If you decide that you want to start in QA, you have to persevere and accept that contract gigs are often cut so there isn’t much job security unless it’s a staff position. You need to be able to quickly move onto the next role. If you have a degree, it makes it easier and you can often start in an STE position. It helps if you have a CS background, experience beta testing and can write test framework and automation tools.”
Has gone through at least one project cycle. Assigns out test cases to the TAs, reports status and also gets into the build when they can. They are the POC for the core team (core team + STEs & SDETs, normally one person from this group is assigned as the Liaison to this team and ensures that they are tasked appropriately and that the quality of the passes is good).
STE: Software Test Engineer
Generally has some previous test experience. Writes test cases and creates passes but also runs test cases. They also write and triage bugs.
SDET: Software Development Engineer in Test
Can do everything an STE does but also works on test tools and automation. May run a segment of a project and have STEs reporting to them (MP lead, Single Player Lead) but always reports the status of their areas to the Test Lead. Can be deeply involved in the design and architecture of the product.
Lead SDET: Test Lead
Project test lead, has direct reports, manages the upper test management teams and the relationship with the Production team. Spends a lot of time in meetings and in email. Heavily involved in triage at a project level and owns the overall test plan and test effort for the project.
“I think that common personality traits of QA testers are enjoying taking things apart to see how they work, and if they were broken, figuring out why and putting them back together again. I’m from Northern Ireland and during high school I enjoyed studying tech and design, metalworking and woodworking. I like to drill down using root cause analysis: why did this happen in the first place? These are experiences are something that as a tester have been very valuable to me,” Bex explained.”
Additional resources (real-life and online)
The IDGA is the largest non-profit membership organization serving individuals who create video games. Explore the online community, contribute in the forums and attend and volunteer at events.
The GDC is the world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event.
Games for Change aims to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good by convening with multiple stakeholders, highlighting best practices, incubating games, and helping create and direct investment into new projects.
The annual Games for Change Festival is the leading global event that brings together funders, NGOs, corporations, government agencies and educators seeking to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good with leading game developers from the independent and commercial sector.
Games for Change offers many free resources on their site; explore the talks by industry leaders from this year’s festival and play award-winning games to get inspired.
E3 is the world’s premier trade show for computer and video games and related products.
The women we interviewed had mixed views about E3. Some said they enjoy the event for networking and to play the latest games, while others said that it is unfriendly to female audiences, notorious for its “booth babes” and glorifying the more base aspects of violence and sex in games.
Just as we advise you that this guide doesn’t represent every women in the video game industry (so count it as one of many possible tools in your arsenal), we recommend researching E3’s history and making up your own mind.
“GaymerX is the gaming convention made for queers, but important for everyone.” -Huffington Post
Critical Proximity (2014)
Critical Proximity is a conference about games criticism scheduled for the Sunday before GDC. Come to make friends, discuss the practice of critical writing, and share reflections about games.
Interviews, reports and encouragement from leading, female games industry professionals. See the future – be inspired!
Follow video game industry news
Find sites that focus on industry trends, game previews, profiles and culture. Destinations like Kotaku, 1UP, Joystiq, GirlGamer, Gamasutra, IndieGames, Destructoid, Giant Bomb, and PopMatters’ Moving Pixels blog should be just some of your news sources.
Be sure to also follow the critical conversation around video games. Here is a roundup of games criticism sites. If you want to take it a step further, support Play and Games Criticism publishers and writers! Here’s a list of persistent funding pages for games critics, compiled by Mattie Brice:
Aevee Bee – ZEAL (Game Reviews)
Amy Dentata – Articles and Games
Anjin Anhut – Tutorials & Essays about Games and Popculture
Anna Kreider – Go Make Me a Sandwich (Feminism and Games Blog)
Cameron Kunzelman – Videogames and Media Criticism
Cara Ellison – Transmetropololitan Game Criticism
Christopher Franklin – Errant Signal (Video Essay Things about Video Games)
Elizabeth Simins – Art Things
Kris Ligman – A History — And Future — For Writing About Games (Critical Distance)
Lana Polansky – Games, Game Criticism, and Granola
Laura Kate – Gaming Equality Critique
Liz Ryerson – Music, Criticism, Art, Videogames
Lulu Blue – Video Games
Mattie Brice – Games Criticism
Merritt Kopas – Forest Ambassador (Game Curator)
Mike Joffe – Games about Ecology, Nature, and People
Scott Nichols – Video Game Writing
Stephen Beirne – Words about Videogames
Zoe Quinn – Tidbytes, Games, Articles, and Videos
Follow as many sources as you can and be sure to support video game journalists!
Here are some methods to keep up with so much news:
Use social tools like Facebook Interest lists, Google+ circles, Twitter lists, publishing platforms like Tumblr, Evernote, and various RSS readers and link aggregators to make it easier for you to organize and save what you’re looking for.
An easy way to get started is by setting up a few different Google Alerts that will deliver daily roundups of video game news to your inbox. Set alerts for search terms like “video games,” “video game news,” “gaming,” “video game culture” and “women in video games.” This will bring the news to you and save you time.
Ways to level up your skills at your own pace
Going to a game jam or hackathon in your area and observing others is a great way for anyone to learn about all the necessary skills required to build a game while working as a team. Once you feel more comfortable, you can volunteer and learn alongside others with more experience.
If you’re really bold, just dive right in from the start!
Compohub.net is a great resource that lists all kinds of game development events that are available all around the world. Contact the organizers and find out how you can contribute as a way to learn.
Here are some more ways to educate your self:
For those interesting in coding but feeling intimidated: it’s as much like learning a language and a way to communicate as it is about math. Give it a try and see what you can accomplish!
Codeacademy is a free online program that teaches you several programming languages at your own pace. Watch free video game tutorials on YouTube and consider paying for self-directed and video-based learning programs, such as the Building and Monetizing Game Apps for iOS tutorial on Lynda.com.
Girls Who Code is a new organization working to educate, inspire and equip 13- to 17-year-old girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in technology and engineering. If you’re a teen in New York who wants to learn how to make your own game, sign up to be notified of events in your area and to access online resources.
You can also teach yourself how to make games using Scratch, a free programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art – and share your creations on the web.
Read job descriptions to understand the latest requirements for current video game positions. You can find listings on video game developer and publisher sites and news destinations, such as Gamasutra’s job hub.
And never underestimate how much you can learn by simply reaching out to people in the industry and asking questions (but make sure to read the FAQ on their sites first – the answers you need may already be there).
List of women interviewed for this mini guide
To ensure we drew from a wide range of experiences, we reached out to many people in the industry. This list reflects only some of the inspiring women working in video games who also shared their thoughts with Daniela Capistrano:
Amy Berciano: Recent graduate (hire her!) from UCLA and former intern at G4’s “X-Play” with Kristin
Bex Bradley: Software Development Engineer in Test at Microsoft Game Studios
Tara Tiger Brown: Freelance Interactive Producer/Product Manager
Liz Buckley: Vice President of Marketing for Majesco Entertainment
Sande Chen: Writer and Game Designer; Co-Author of Serious Games: Games That Train, Educate, and Inform
Lorraine Hopping Egan: Author, writer, and game designer
We at Current give Lorraine a special thanks for supporting the research and outreach for this mini-guide.
Lisa Rutherford: Co-founder and CEO of Coliloquy, a technology-based publisher of active fiction, specializing in reader engagement and serial storytelling
Shannon Sullivan: Vice President, Programs and Production at World Wide Workshop
Shannon develops applications for learning with technology that combine game mechanics and social networking to empower youth to be inventors and leaders in the global knowledge economy.
We’re closing this mini-guide with a treat:
Did you find this guide helpful? Share your thoughts on Twitter with this hashtag so I can respond to your questions and feedback: #WomenInVideoGames
The women I interviewed shared a wealth of information. Are you interested in reading a part two of this mini guide? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and if 100 people request it, I’ll make it happen!
If you found this mini guide helpful, please don’t steal my work. Feel free to post an excerpt anywhere but be sure to link back to this article and credit me as the source. Thank you!
*Daniela Capistrano republished the 2012 version on this site on March 10, 2014, with edits to include additional resources and data sources. She will be following up with more women in video games to add more quotes and resources directly from women in the industry. If you have suggestions for other resources to add, share them: email@example.com.