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Video: #1ReasonToBe panel inspires industry at GDC 2013
April 23, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

Inspired by the #1ReasonWhy and #1ReasonToBe Twitter movement, this GDC 2013 panel shows six game developers and critics who discuss what it means to be a woman in the industry, and what can be done for better inclusiveness.

Courtesy of the GDC Vault, this free video includes experience and advice from Brenda Romero (Wizardry 8 developer), Robin Hunicke (Journey executive producer), Leigh Alexander (Gamasutra editor), Kim McAuliffe (Microsoft Game Studios game designer), Elizabeth Sampat (Storm8 designer), and Mattie Brice (game critic, San Francisco State University master student).

Session Name: #1ReasonToBe

Speaker(s): Brenda Romero, Robin Hunicke, Elizabeth Sampat, Mattie Brice, Leigh Alexander, Kim McAuliffe

Company Name(s): UC Santa Cruz, Funomena, Storm8, San Francisco State University, Gamasutra, Microsoft Studios

Track / Format: Advocacy

Overview: Inspired by the #1ReasonWhy and #1ReasonToBe hashtag discussion, join us for a rapid, fun microtalk-style celebration and exploration of what it means to be a woman in games. Each panelist will share her experience, its highs and lows, and explore a vision for a future industry that is inclusive for all. Panelists include Brenda Romero (Game Designer in Residence, University of California at Santa Cruz), Robin Hunicke (Co-Founder, Funomena!), Leigh Alexander (Editor at Large, Gamasutra), Elizabeth Sampat (Game Designer, Storm 8), Kim McAuliffe (Microsoft Studios) and Mattie Brice (MA Student, Creative Writing, San Francisco State University).

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

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Lance McKee
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Thanks for posting this video!

Michael O'Hair
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Got a nerve struck in the first few minutes of this presentation.
So regardless of gender, no one wants to be identified as a nerd anymore... well, in some instances, at least. I hear it's more stylish to identify as a geek rather than a nerd... as if there's some sort of actual distinction these days.

If a cab driver or other male calls a woman employed in a scientific or artistic field, such as game design (programming or QA or art or music), a nerd... it's a stereotype and a label and causes offense. Even if the word is used as a compliment? In a double compliment? But if anyone (man or woman or other) self-identifies as a nerd, or identifies others with similar aptitudes and interests as such... it's absolutely fine; it's a compliment. Which is good, but at the same time the there's a stigma that has been there for a while and hasn't been dropped yet.

Somewhere in the world a little girl or young woman is taking an interest in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (games) field, but won't fully pursue that field... because that's the sort of thing that nerds do, specifically boy nerds who smell funny or don't maintain eye contact during conversation and have an odd preoccupation with the Nintendo game Master Blaster. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, except smelling foul.

Why not embrace that stereotype, take ownership of it, and be proud of who we are? Big f-ing nerds.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (including all forms of games) fields are viewed as dominated by men for a reason... not because it's easier for them to get the door open, but because few women think that door is worth opening or it doesn't fit their ideal of a door they should walk through. They hear it from their friends, their parents, their professors, etc. I think that rather than just "hold the door open" for a specific demographic who want to get into a field, prospective members should be told
1.) the door exists (and is not imaginary),
2.) that anyone (man/woman/other/intelligent fungus/space robot) can open the door, and
3.) where to find the keys (which may require a journey into the depths of a 4-6 year academic dungeon).

If there was any fault in the presentation, it was the roller coaster of enthusiasm and confidence. Everyone's got different strengths, and not everyone is a public speaker, but...
Video games.
Is that not awesome?
The whole profession and medium is driven by communication; through the screen, the speakers, and back through the keyboard or controller. And if that loop isn't electrifying, the circuit fails and the power goes out.

Matthew Buxton
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Awesome video, we need more of everyone in games, and we also need to learn more all the time. The whole world plays, so the whole world should be able to make. I was so heartened by my time as a lecturer with who we have coming up through the system, they will change the industry for the better.

Lewis Wakeford
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I liked that there was quite a big focus on getting more women and minorities interested in the industry in the first place as instead of just getting rid of the stupid shit like booth babes (I think we can all agree that those need to go though). It's much easier to have equality when the numbers of each sex/gender/sexuality/race are closer to equal anyway, mostly because the little bits of unfairness cancel out.

Like a few of the speakers said though, there needs to be more focus on kids and younger people. Old Dogs and New Tricks and all that...

Mike Griffin
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Good games are produced by the intellect of talented humans, irrespective of the type of sexual organs or tendencies attached to their vessel, or the skin tone of one's exterior. Sometimes it's rather strange that we still need to discuss this stuff. In many ways, we're still victims of the chemicals and hormones racing through our veins, coloring our thoughts and tugging on ancient reptilian strings, despite being capable of operating as a sentient, self-aware -mind- first and foremost. Oh, people.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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So glad this was posted! I wasn't able to make it to GDC this year and heard this panel was great.