“Gary Gygax, biological determinist and creator of Dungeons & Dragons, once told a reporter for Icon magazine that “gaming in general is a male thing… Everybody who’s tried to design a game to interest a large female audience has failed. And I think that has to do with the different thinking processes of men and women.”
He’s wrong, and on several levels. But his absurd pronouncement has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, at least at face value. The women who contributed to the new essay compilation Women in Game Development, out July 1st by CRC Press, heard Gygax’s sentiments echoed both in their heads and in game publishes’ conference rooms. Many felt first-hand the effects of big gaming companies pushing their games to boys, a marketing tactic popularized around the mid-80s. But despite all the Gary Gygaxes who told them No, get out, they did it, and they’re helping others do it, too. Their book is an attempt to break the ouroboros-like cycle of toxicity that pushes women out of the game industry.
Women in Game Development is a compilation of 31 essays by women in the game industry, from community managers to hardcore coders, for women who want to enter the game industry. Essays by game professionals like Jane Ng (artist for Firewatch, Spore), Brianna Wu (founder of Giant Spacekat) and Megan Gaiser (former CEO of Her Interactive) describe the often circuitous paths that led them into an industry that is famously hostile to them. Chainmail bikinis aside, women only constitute 22 percent of the game industry, according to the International Game Developer’s Association; Only 5% of respondents argued that the game industry doesn’t have a bad rep, and the most cited reason for that rep was endemic sexism…”