My thoughts on Next Gen’s 100 Most Influential Women list

Posted: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 20:03:57 PDT

Game Industry’s 100 Most influential Women

Reading Next Gen’s feature Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women, I get the impression that women arenâ??t the artistic, technical, computer programming type. Certainly I don’t mean to offend the individuals on the list, (many of them are by far very deserving of being titled “influential”) yet I noticed some similarities among the majority of Women. Many are (or were) Writers, Journalists, PR and HR people, Marketing people, a few producers, art directors, teachers and executives. And at some point in their careers, a few of those people actually started out in one of those aforementioned positions working their way up the ladder. Some of them are household names, while others are totally unknown to the general public. After reading through the article, the list seems to be missing true game industry “celebrities”.

Where is Rieko Kodama of Phantasy Star and Skies of Arcadia fame?

I find it odd that when it comes to male game designers like Yu Suzuki, Yuji Naka, Hideo Kojima and Shigeru Miyamoto who serve as gods to our gaming culture, highly influential in many regards, Women are mostly represented by Marketing Gurus, Game Writers, and Producers (some with ties to Tommy Tallarico no surprise there), yet they are still deemed influential. Is that supposed to be inspiring to young women looking to sink their teeth into the artistic or technical side of game development? Not really, but perhaps for those who want to get in on the business side of the industry.

The female versions of Yu Suzuki, Yuji Naka, Hideo Kojima, or Shigeru Miyamoto where are they? Where are the female programmers?

Next-Gen’s list seems incomplete, and a mishmash of varied women none of which are as influential or inspiring as the above mention Videogame gods. Did they run out of suitable women to put on the list? CEOs placed right beside Game Writers? What if Erin Hoffman never became ea_spouse? Who would Next-Gen put in her place?

Are artists and programmers considered un-influential compared to HR people? Where are the hardcore technical women? Even 1UP highlighted Creative Women in the side bar of a Crucial Classic with Secrets of the Gaming Sisterhood:

Roberta Williams (King’s Quest)
Danielle Bunten Berry (MULE)
Amy Hennig (Legacy of Kane, Jak)
Jane Jensen (Gabriel Knights)

Don’t get me wrong, the women on this list are definitely influential in their own way within the industry. They hold these positions after years and years of hardwork!
Here are two that have definitely made a name for themselves…

Francesca Reyes
Editor-in-Chief, Official Xbox Magazine

Jade Raymond
Producer, Ubisoft

But although they may be an inspiration as a programmer I’d like to hear from the women whose blood, sweat and tears went into making the game. Not just designing or producing but actually having a hand in the nitty gritty of game development. Is that too much to ask? Luckily I found Rima Brek on the list.

Rima Brek
Software Project Lead, Ubisoft Montreal

It’s hard to believe she is the only one! For all their efforts they deserve some recognition as well. Regardless, I’m thrilled to see women doing well around the industry!

**The Women in Games International Chair acknowledges that some women may have been left off this list and there will be more added next week. (See statement below)

“Inevitably, we fear some significant women were, in error, left off this list. This is to be expected, since locating many of the women was an arduous challenge. We will run a follow-up article next week to include those who were perhaps overlooked and apologize in advance.Please email us with your suggestions.”

Fiona Cherbak
Chair, PR Committee
Women In Games International

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