Chair, Graduate Program in Design, California
College of the Arts
In 1996, Brenda Laurel co-founded Purple Moon, the first game design studio to
focus on creating games for girls. She has, however, been involved in video
games and interactive media for much longer than that. In the 1980's Laurel
worked as a designer and researcher at Cybervision, Atari, and Activision. By
1990, she had co- founded Telepresence Research, a development and research
company specializing in virtual reality.
Though Purple Moon was acquired by Mattel in 1999, Laurel
has continued to contribute to the video game industry as the chair of the
Media Design Program at The Art Center College of Design, and more recently as
the chair of the MFA program in Design at California
College of the Arts.
In addition to
her work as a developer and a new media researcher, Laurel
has written extensively on interactive fiction. Her books include The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design,
Computers as Theater, and the tale of her own "games for girls"
start-up, Utopian Entrepreneur.
achieved amazing things in almost every aspect of the gaming industry. She has
been a developer, a designer, a researcher, and has started numerous projects,
including her own studio. As an author and a professor as well, her career has
been full of artistic and intellectual successes.
Though games for girls may not be able to compete with blockbuster titles when
it comes to recognition in the gaming industry, Laurel
set out to do something truly new with Purple Moon. Her example continues to
shape the way the industry thinks about gender and gaming today.
What her peers say
Sheri: "Going back to her very earliest
beginning in the late '70s at CyberVisions and Atari, Brenda has been
influential in growing this industry from its gritty beginnings to the
multi-million dollar industry it is today. In the 1990's, when the wisdom of
the game industry said, 'Girls don't play computer games!'
Brenda knew better
and, with unparalleled courage, set out to prove the industry wrong. She
established Purple Moon and her titles proved that not only do girls play
games; they are interested in more than just fashion, makeup and shopping. She
is truly one of the earliest pioneers and role models in the gender and games