Blog Post

Best known for her work on the highly-acclaimed Portal series, Kim Swift wishes her fellow female game developers to make themselves more visible in order to inspire the next generation. In her recent blog post titled "1reason" which is a response to the twitter hash tag: #1reasonwhy, Swift explains that for the gaming industry to just grow up, we need to change the makeup of it which I find true.

Just incase you were wondering what the #1reasonwhy is all about, it was basically used on twitter some time ago for game devs to share their stories on why there aren't very many female game developers. Though the stories weren't horrifying per se, some of them were definitely incredibly inappropriate in terms of formalities -- Not hiring a dev or losing interest in them just cause they were not single, being paid a little less than the opposite gender, and mistaken for booth babes when representing their own games?-- For a hi-tech industry, we sure reside in the dark ages.

Still, Swift wants female devs to "be outspoken, be visible, [and] be strong." It's true what they say and even a lot of companies admit that females add that extra flavor games need especially in-terms of story and characterization. But the whole point here is for the female devs (some of which were scared to post on #1reasonwhy) to come out of their shells and inspire the next generation. Through experience, Swift says she "lucked out with insanely supportive parents" but still never had the person to look up to and say "she can do it, so can I."

After thinking about all of this, it makes me sad in the end. I've played with a lot of female gamers in my virtual ventures and not one time did I ever think to myself "girls play games!?" Yet those who only play a certain genre of games and stick to their friends, leaving themselves in such a confined location, generally become shocked and act to such a low level of maturity when they come across a girl schooling them in their own element. I guess Swift has a huge point here in wanted female devs to make themselves more known because they really just aren't known. Though there are some, like Brenda Romero, I have to be honest and say I didn't know who she was till she married John Romero and she's been in the industry for 31 years!

So I guess the moral of this story is if you're a female working in the industry, the gaming industry we all love, then step out of your shell and just stop caring what your colleagues think of you. I'm sure most of them don't even think about it and the ones that do understand your ideas help their games. It's true, our industry won't grow till everyone is treated fairly for the ideas they give, not some uncontrollable variable.

SO what do you guys think about on this subject? Do you think female game devs are not represented for what they do? How so? And also, before you leave, take the time to read Kim Swift's blog, it's very good.

4 Comments for this post.
Like 3 Disike 0

It comes down to this: If you are passionate about making games, make games. It doesnt matter your gender, race, religion or creed. Get out there and make games you can be proud of, and people will love you for it. Thats what I plan to do...

Like 1 Disike 0

Yup. ^

Though, I knew the industry had a lot of sexism but didn't know it was like... silly till I read some of the #1reasonwhy stuff. Hopefully we learn to change.

Like 1 Disike 0

Like most dark closet industries it is littered with sexism. It was, and still is in parts, the same way in comics. Course we could pick half a dozen fields and run into the same issue.

Her point though is that other women should speak up so that younger females have examples to aspire towards. Yeah make games cause you want to make games, but there is also that message as well. It's easy to name 10 male devs but not as easy to name 10 female.  I know I can name 5, but not 10. :)

[Mandifesto] @ 12:14:04 AM Jan 3, 2013
Like 3 Disike 0

As a female game developer myself, I can see Kim's point here, but there's also some big reasons why I don't put myself out there.  Even those companies known for inclusion are riddled with this problem.  I sat on a airport shuttle with four of the top Blizzard brass and listened to them talk about the last time they held their company meeting in Vegas, and what they expected to happen and the strip club this time.  These are idols of mine, and to hear that this is what they do with their company outings made me sad.  

Now when I consider the fact that I am working in the same industry as these guys, I can't even fathom how they would react should a woman rise through the ranks to join them in their retreats. If we're supposed to change our behavior and be more visible, there has to be a change in the industry behavior that won't punish us for doing so.

You must be signed in to post a comment.