In honor of Women’s History Month, this blog post is dedicated to women in the gaming industry. It’s hard to be well known as a developer, but I wanted to take a minute to focus on women in the tabletop and video game industry and I hope that you will join me in my reflection. This list of, of course, incomplete, but it is made of the main women who have inspired me as a game developer.
Carol Shaw is widely considered to be the first female video game designer. Originally employed by Atari, she started making games as far back as 1978. Later, she was hired by Activision and released her most popular game River Raid. She created several other games before retiring in 1990. In addition to her work with video games, she is also a computer scientist who holds degrees from The University of California, Berkley.
Nicole Lindroos is, of course, most famous for being co-owner and general manager of Green Ronin. She also helped to develop Mutants & Masterminds, which is one of my favorite games. In addition to her work with Green Ronin, she has been working in the gaming industry since 1987 and has worked with companies including Lion Rampant, White Wolf, and Atlas Games and is an active freelancer. She also co-founded Adventures Unlimited magazine.
Shelly Mazzanoble is best known for her book Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress. She works for Wizards of the Coast and has also published Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Dungeons & Dragons: One Woman’s Quest to Trade Self-Help for Elf-Help. Mazzanoble is a controversial figure whose critics claim her blog (also published by Wizards of the Coast) reduces women to fashion-obsessed robots who don’t actually care about gaming. Regardless, she has become a representative of women who game. Mazzanoble works as a writer and has published many essays, short stories, and even plays.
Felicia Day needs almost no introduction. She is an well-known actress, writer, singer, and producer. Her series The Guild became extremely well known and it lead to the web channel Geek & Sundry, which includes popular shows such as Tabletop, Co-Optitude, and Vaginal Fantasy, all of which have Day as an executive producer. She has also done voice work in several video games such as Fallout: New Vegas and Dragon Age II. Day has also been very vocal about the state of the gaming community which has recently led to her involvement in Gamergate.
Zoe Quinn has the most controversial name on this list. The catalyst for Gamergate, a blog post written by her ex-boyfriend brought the gaming community into a frenzy. Quinn developed the gameDepression Quest, a text based game designed to simulate the effects of depression in order to bring awareness of its effects. Additionally, she created the Game Developer Help List which links together new and experienced game developers. She is currently working on several other games.
Carissa and Annie
Carissa and Annie aren’t pictured here (Well, Annie is a little bit in the background), but their characters are (and they’re all about to get eaten by a dragon). I have been playing DnD, Pathfinder, and countless board games with Carissa and Annie for years. They are the most important people on this list because they are two of my best friends and they also represent the countless girls and women who game. Without them, there would be no point.
I hope you all enjoyed this blog post! Happy Women’s History Month!