Posted: Mar 9, 2023 in Company News
By Nathan Young
Throughout recent decades, gaming has become a thriving industry for millions of people around the world. This may be a male dominated area, but there’s plenty of women from all walks of life contributing to it. They play an important role in the industry’s growth and development, dating back to the late 70’s. Whether these women worked on games for the Atari console or created one of the best known series in the mid-2000’s, there are many impactful female developers in the industry. For Women’s History Month of 2023, we’ll go through a list of the best woman designers in this blog to help you understand more about their influence on gaming. Let’s get started!
There are many different women in the gaming industry, so we’ve narrowed it down to seven. They all have specialties and respective accomplishments, varying across different dates. Regardless of when they made their achievements, these women wrote their names in the text books. Review the subsections below to begin learning about the most impactful females in the gaming industry.
Considered the first female game designer, Carol Shaw started her career at Atari to start programming for a new console. In 1978, she created 3D Tic-Tac-Toe and began working on other projects, such as Video Checkers. Later on in the early 80’s, she designed a shooter game called River Raid for Activision and became most known for it. Over one million cartridges were sold, making this an extremely popular title for the time. Carol Shaw worked for multiple gaming and technology companies, progressing her forward in the industry.
Similarly to Carol Shaw, Roberta Williams made huge contributions to the gaming industry around the 1980s. She co-founded Sierra On-Line with her husband, Key Williams, which pioneered the adventure genres that we all love today. At the start of her journey, games like King’s Quest and Mystery House were considered classics of the golden era. Later on, the development of Phantasmagoria used live-action video sequences that’ve never been done before in the industry. Lots of brand new features and designs were implemented by Roberta Williams, leaving a mark on gaming.
Within the gaming industry, Amy Hennig stands out since she created many critically acclaimed games over the years. One of these is Uncharted, in the early 2000s under the Naughty Dog publisher. She earned numerous awards, including BAFTA’s Best Story in a Video Game. Although, before all of this she designed a debut for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the first of its kind at the time. She’s been in the industry for a long time, which helped her become a well-rounded developer and director.
Instead of a game designer, Jade Raymond focused on executive positions to contribute to the gaming industry. For instance, she’s the founder of Ubisoft Toronto, while also being a producer of the Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs franchises. Jade Raymond isn’t only developing games, as she started Haven Studios for Sony to create the best original titles for the community. She’s inspiring many others to pursue similar goals and careers, making her an important figure in the industry.
One of the most well-known games of all time is the Halo series, dating back to the early 2000s. Bonnie Ross was the head of 343 Industries, but only rose to this position when starting a career with Microsoft in 1994. Over the years, she became an essential part of Halo and its growth. She promoted diversity and inclusion for the gaming community, plus the entire industry itself. Bonnie Ross made it her goal to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities to become game designers, developers, and more.
Another significant woman in the gaming industry is Kim Swift, as she worked on the most critically acclaimed title of all time, Portal. She started her career with Valve, designing amazing games like Left 4 Dead and Quantum Conundrum. In recent times, Kim Swift became the senior director of Cloud Gaming with Xbox Game Studios. Before landing this strong position in the industry, she worked for Electronic Arts in their design department, among other companies to gather years of experience.
As for our last notable female game designer, Brenda Romero has been in the industry for 30 years. She began working on games in 1981 for various companies, producing titles over time such as Wizardry, Jagged Alliance, and even Dungeons & Dragons. Her talents include writing, scripting, designing levels and systems for each project. Her contributions to the gaming industry are still felt today, especially when it comes to the advocacy of diversity so more females and minorities can become developers. The community certainly knows about this, as she’s been granted so many awards for her efforts.
There you have it, just a small glimpse into all the amazing women in the gaming industry. Each of them have worked diligently to shape the community, leading to new pathways for future generations of women to succeed. Whether it’s recent or at gaming’s start, these female developers and designers have significant skills. They continue to focus on the industry and hope to see more skilled women enter the field. We hope this blog helped you understand a bit more about how females completely changed the face of gaming forever. Have a good one, gamers!