Women Who've Shaped the Gaming Industry

Women Who've Shaped the Gaming Industry
In the grand scheme of the world as we know it, it's quite surprising to think that gaming has only truly existed in what probably is just the flutter of an eyelash. even though that, for us, it has shaped our entire lifetime.
Amongst the many people who have facilitated the era of the digital gamer, there have been many strong and imaginative women, paving the way not only to other female and female-identifying people into the industry, but also in creating the industry as we know it today.
This International Women's Day, we're taking a moment to celebrate the work of a few of of them below.

Roberta Williams

Credited as being one of the creators of the graphic adventure genre, Williams has titles including Mystery House (1980) and the King's Quest series (1986-2016) under her belt. 

Initially inspired by the popularity of games such as Dungeons and Dragons in the 80s, she applied the similarly complex story-driven, role-play to the video game and took the gaming world by storm.


 Rebecca Heineman

Formed by a love of gaming on her Atari 2600, Heineman's hobby would go on to play an important role in her career. Paired with an incredible win at the first-ever Space Invaders national championship, making her the first national video game tournament champion ever, it's perhaps unsurprising that she'd also rock the video game industry.

With titles including The Bard's Tale (1985), Crystal Quest (1989) and DOOM (1996), amongst others, she's been a pioneering voice in the world of game design and programming.


Kazuko Shibuya

Taking inspiration from the anime worlds of Space Battleship Yamato (1974) among others, Shibuya began working on her own artwork and animations. Soon enough though, as the world of animation lost its spark, a surprise role-change working for Square would change her trajectory quite drastically.

Combining a love for storytelling through animation alongside stellar artwork, Shibuya soon went from designing the graphics and manual for Alpha (1986), to working on the fantastical world of Final Fantasy (1987), creating anything from characters and spells, to menus and the game's opening bridge scene. Since then she's gone on to have involvement in elements of all Final Fantasy games produced.


Amy Hennig

Having originally planned to go into script writing for the movie scene, Hennig's chance role on Atari's ElectroPop (1989) gave her a brand-new and original medium to share stories with entirely new audiences.

Since her work on ElectroPop, Hennig went on to bring her craft to life in games such as Legacy of Kain (1996) and Uncharted (2007), as well as receiving recognition in the form of awards such as the Writers Guild of America Video Game Writing AwardGame Developers Choice Lifetime Achievement Award and a BAFTA Special Award, too.


Danielle Bunten Berry

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry felt the importance of games from early on, highlighting that it provided her family with quality time together at a point when this was something difficult for them to achieve. Though she would later attend university to study engineering, even opening up her own bike shop during her time there, it was her hobby creating text-based video games that would later form into her passion.

From creating, and selling, her own independent game Wheeler Dealers, her work garnered tremendous respect and soon landed her with a position at Electronic Arts, taking M.U.L.E. (1983) on as her first title, and pushing the boundaries of what a video game could be. 

Berry once  famously said that "games are a wonderful way to socialize," and we would 100% have to agree.


 Kim Swift

Having graduated from DigiPen Institute of Technology, Swift and a few of her fellow graduates came together to create Narbacular Drop (2005), which, once present to Valve, would go on to to become the hit game Portal (2007).

With the groups' success on their original title, it was Swift's developmental contribution to titles including Left 4 Dead (2008) and Left 4 Dead 2 (2009), among others, that contributed to her being heralded as great mind within the gaming industry, even receiving recognition from the likes of Forbes, when featured as one of their "30 Under 30" influential figures in the video game industry.


 Be sure to let us know who you'd like to recognise below!

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