I had an interesting conversation today at lunch with a couple of colleagues, and we spoke about a few things like women in game development and what could be done to change our current situation, such as mentorship programs, promotion paths and a simple thing like not saying “you guys” when speaking to a mixed audience.
One thing that did come up that was mildly embarrassing, but also very gratifying for me, was that I was told I’m the reason some individuals have chosen to go into game development. This got me curious of what would motivate someone to work with games? Why do you?
For me, it was an easy way out to become a game designer. I worked with mobile UIs, writing my thesis on user interfaces for role-playing on a mobile platform. I have been playing games since I was 14 years old, and I love games, for various reasons.
Working in games hasn’t always been easy though. So another question I would ask is if you’re Black, Asian, indigenous, mixed race, non-binary, trans or woman, why have you stayed?
I’m staying out of spite.
Well, not really. I’m staying because I know game development. I love the work. I love solving problems and I love creating something that a player will enjoy. But I’m also an idealist. I want to leave the industry better than I found it. I want people to feel welcome instead of like I am, feeling as if I’m here at the mercy of benevolent gamer bros, and that I can at any time be tossed out of the industry if those gamer bros withdraw their blessing. I’m feeling that way because one of the earliest experiences I had of conflict in the workplace was a programmer yelling at me that “women can’t make games”. This is where the spite comes in. I stayed to prove him wrong.
So tell me. If you belong to any marginalized group in the industry, why are you a game dev? Why did you stay?