"It must be reimagined. Imagine a game industry where men and women feel safe enough to bring their entire selves to truly collaborate."
- Former CEO of Her Interactive Megan Gaiser discussing what inspired her to become a game developer.
The Strong Museum opened its Women in Games exhibition earlier today as part of its National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, and a panel was held last week to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the video game industry.
VentureBeat was able to grab some quotes during the event from pioneers like Megan Gaiser, Bonnie Ross, Jen MacClean, Dona Bailey, Brenda Laurel, Susan Jaekel, Sheri Graner Ray, Victoria Van Voorhis, and Amy Hennig, who all shared their unique perspectives when recanting their experiences in the industry.
“While the many systems designed with only half the population in mind are ripe for redesign, it’s really not possible to create an inclusive reality on top of such a toxic one,” Former CEO of Her Interactive Megan Gaiser said. “It must be reimagined. Imagine a game industry where men and women feel safe enough to bring their entire selves to truly collaborate.”
“We are the technology we’ve been waiting for. We upgrade computers when they’re not operating at their maximum capacity. Why wouldn’t we upgrade our own, human operating system?," she added.
The exhibit itself includes contributions made by women game developers and programmers, with games like Centipede, King's Quest, and Phantasmagoria.
In addition to recognizing companies led by women and iconic fictional women, the exhibit also honors the Rockett series created by Purple Moon, a studio founded by Brenda Laurel.
Laurel explained how she researched why girls dropped out of science, math, and technology learning in their youth and founded Purple Moon as a result, wanting to make games that targeted girls with content that was designed from the start to focus on their interests.
“Part of the strategic goal was ‘what would it take to get girls to put their hands on a computer in 1992,'” Laurel explained. “We also began to look at a second strategic girl of how to make these girls feel better about themselves.”
The Rockett games helped girls navigate through emotional decisions of everyday life, and for the first game, 25 percent of the gamers were boys “who wanted to figure out how girls worked,” noting that love and hope still drive her creatively.
Be sure to read the entire writeup of the panel over at VentureBeat. It's important, and definitely worth the read.