Gaming Girls: How Women are Changing the Game
The sky turns a stormy gray. White lightning slices the air. Screams erupt from every direction. Is this the end of the world?
For three other players, maybe. However, for one player, this is just the beginning.
The game is Super Smash Bros., Nintendo’s wildly popular brawler game. Here at Girls Make Games, a summer program for girls in game design, girls ranging from 8 to 17 years old immerse themselves in games ranging from Castle Crashers to Minecraft. In fact, at this particular summer program, playing games (aka “game research”) is part of the curriculum.
As proved by Girls Make Games, female gamers are a common sight in today’s world. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reports that nearly half of the video game-playing population are women, and that 12% more adult women play games than boys 17 years and under. However, women are an underrepresented minority in the video game industry, only representing 21% of game developers.
How can this be changed? The good news is that companies are already taking initiative. Google Play started Change The Game, a game design competition supporting young women in game design. Facebook launched #SheTalksGames, which provides a welcoming space for women to discuss gaming. And one of Zynga’s largest employee organizations is Women At Zynga, a group that holds enrichment programs and encourages community at the video game company.
Universities are also providing more opportunities to study game development before entering the workforce. More and more colleges are offering game design programs, such as the University of Southern California, New York University, and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Additionally, game jams (also called hackathons for video games), are rising in popularity, providing opportunities for beginners and industry professionals to learn about gaming.
Ultimately, the best way to pursue a career in game development is undeniably to just start designing. With so many free resources on the internet, from free software to free college-level game development courses, learning how to create games is just a click away. Changing the game has never been easier.