A Long Way To GoS

Former Kotaku contributor Alice Taylor responds to Game Developer magazine's choices for The Game Developer 50, which highlighted gaming's "important accomplishments of the last year (give or take)... in the categories of art, design, programming, business, and evangelism."

Gamasutra have just posted their "The Game Developer 50": a list of the most exciting games people to Gama right now: "the most important contributors to the current state of the game industry — from indies to AAA, from business to art, design, and beyond. Naturally as it's an American publication, there seems to be a bit of a skew to American people. But all of them seem to be men.

Not one woman. Not even one?

So obviously I have to post something about this. Lists are a wonderful and terrible thing: magazines do them for precisely this kind of response: ATTENTION. Discussion. Shouting, complaining, agreeing, etc. It's magazine crack. But I have to stick my oar in, because having 0% women on that list is straight up appalling (and I adore Gamasutra).

Off the top of my head, without doing any research, here's a handful of women working in games who I think Gama could happily have included in that 50. And I could actually add a whole bunch more ladies doing amazing things with games (Jen, Diane, Cat, Sophie, Robin, Heather, Sarah, Claire, Rita, Susan, Merci, Regina and Tracy, for instance and for starters).

A Long Way To GoS

Meggan Scavio
Runs GDC. Runs GDC. Gama are probably being modest or something because Meggan's an employee of its parent company.

A Long Way To GoS

Kim Swift
Designed Portal. Portal, no less. Gone to do a start-up: if that's not fuck-yeah exciting, I don't know what is.

A Long Way To GoS

Paulina Bozek
Wonderful, incredibly talented, invented Singstar. Doing some secret, very interesting things right now, but I'll let her tell you what they are.

A Long Way To GoS

Margaret Robertson
Living legend. Annual packed event at GDC, an incredible games designer and oracle, and, well, I've said it all before.

A Long Way To GoS

Babsi Lippe (Chief Designer) & Claudia Kogler (CTO)
The creative & technical team who produced Papermint, with a titchy team and a titchy budget.

A Long Way To GoS

Rhianna Pratchett
Wrote Mirror's Edge, and Heavenly Sword, and Overlord.

Like I said, I could go on, and on.

If it were up to me, in creating any list, I would take a number - say 50, and a field - say games, and then pick out the top 25 men and the top 25 women, highlighting whatever it is they're doing. Because that's called fairness.

The reason women aren't currently making up 50% of every field is not an intellectual issue, but a cultural issue, and the longer we continue to publish lists containing all-men or nearly-all-men, the longer we propagate the broken image and insulting idea that women aren't as good, or as important, as men.

Many women just haven't had the chance yet: they haven't had the encouragement, the education, the freedom, the support, the role models, the contacts, the friends in high places, the opportunities and the finances that their male counterparts often get by default, by tradition and by homophily.

It's not right and it needs to change. Monocultures are evolutionarily a dead end: game people, take note.

Reprinted with permission from Wonderland.

Gamasutra published an update to its original story, responding to general criticism of its choices and specifically Alice's editorial: "We will simply note that we regret not having women game developers on the list, and the list was the people we felt had major accomplishments in the year to somewhere around October 2009, divided into those categories. In addition, we do have a record of feature-length articles and charts on women in the game business, and indeed, our 2008 Top Deck list - this list's previous iteration - featured multiple female honorees alongside male."

Alice Taylor is Commissioning Editor, Education for Channel 4, where she is developing a number of informal learning projects involving ARGs, casual gaming and other interactive entertainment formats. Taylor is a former Kotaku contributor and blogs at Wonderland.