Game Changers: The Women Who Make Video Games

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By Keith Stuart (Contributor, The Guardian)  

Three of the biggest video game releases this winter have something unusual in common. Gears of War 3, featuring space marines fighting aliens, Uncharted 3, an Indiana Jones-inspired game, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a dark science-fiction adventure, were all written by women.

According to research by Tiga, the trade body representing the UK games industry, women make up just 12% of the development workforce in Britain –- a percentage reflected by similar surveys in the US and Canada.

The obvious reason is that games were born in dingy arcades and on 80s home computers, creators tended to hail from computer science and engineering backgrounds, areas traditionally dominated by men.

"Women have, of course, always played video games, but in the past it was always as a minority. Yet a report by the Internet Advertising Bureau in September found that 49% of gamers in the UK are female; but that percentage is not being reflected in the makeup of the industry, particularly at senior levels.

Mitu Khandaker, who started programming at the age of 12 and now runs her own indie development studio, Tiniest Shark, credits "a complicated mix of marketing, early arcade culture, and deep-seated cultural expectations" for the status quo.

"There are a lot of things in games that women can point to and go 'this isn't for me', whether that's eye-rollingly sexualised female characters, or just the openly misogynistic attitudes to be found within many gaming communities."

» Read the full article at The Guardian