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Popular #1ReasonToBe panel returns to GDC 2014

Popular #1ReasonToBe panel returns to GDC 2014

January 30, 2014 | By GDC Staff

GDC 2014 is fast approaching; there’s less than 24 hours left to register in time to qualify for the Early Bird discount, and the show itself -- which takes place March 17-21 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco -- is just weeks away.

With that in mind, GDC organizers would like to highlight the return of one of the conference’s most popular sessions: the #1ReasonToBe panel.

Inspired by the #1ReasonWhy and #1ReasonToBe hashtagged discussions that erupted across social media in 2013, this panel is a rapid, fun microtalk-style celebration and exploration of what it means to be a woman in games.

Each panelist will share their experience, its highs and lows, and explore a vision for a future industry that is inclusive for all. The panel is hosted by industry veterans Brenda Romero and Leigh Alexander, and panelists include Anna Kipnis, Colleen Macklin, Deirdra "Squinky" Kiai, Laralyn McWilliams and Lauren Scott.

“Last year, the panel was a huge success, far more than the sum of its parts,” said Brenda Romero. “It ended up being hugely inspirational and fun for everyone who was there - including the speakers! We were grateful to be asked to host the panel last year, and we're excited to bring a new slate of inspirational people to explore the #1ReasonToBe!”

You can still watch last year's panel for free on the GDC Vault. The #1ReasonToBe session is part of the Advocacy track at GDC 2014, and thus will be open to all GDC passholders.

Brenda Romero (@br) is an award-winning game designer, artist, writer and creative director who served on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and chaired its IGDA's Women in Games Special Interest group. She is the recipient of the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Microsoft, and previously was a nominee in Microsoft's 2010 Women in Games game design award. Romero was also named one of Forbes "12 Women in Gaming to Watch" in 2013, one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by in 2008 and one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine in 2007.

Lauren E. Scott (@Lauren_E_Scott) is a game designer whose shipped titles include IGF finalist Prom Week, multimillion-dollar DARPA-funded research game Xylem: The Code of Plants, and IGF entrant Half/Way. She is a computer science and economics student currently in her last year as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Colleen Macklin (@ColleenMacklin) is a game designer, an associate professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design and Director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab focused on developing games for experimental learning and social engagement. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, UCLA Art|Sci Center, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time.

Anna Kipnis (@doubleanna) graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Computer Science and minors in Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Psychology. She is a Senior Gameplay Programmer at Double Fine Productions, and is active in the indie game community. She is also the founding organizer of Molyjam, a game jam inspired by Peter Molyneux and his fake Twitter account, @petermolydeux.

Deirdra "Squinky" Kiai (@deirdrakiai) is an interactive artist of many hats, released their first videogame at age sixteen, and has since used their interactive storytelling skills to touch on such subject matter as feminism, race, gender, coming of age, and social awkwardness. Most notably, they are responsible for the IGF-nominated stop motion musical detective extravaganza, Dominique Pamplemousse in "It's All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!"

Leigh Alexander (@leighalexander) is a widely-published journalist and critic on video games and the people who make and play them. As editor-at-large for Gamasutra, she contributes editorial, interviews and trend analysis. Her monthly column in Edge magazine focuses on cultural issues facing the games space, she regularly contributes to Kotaku and Polygon, and her work has appeared in Slate, The Atlantic, The New Inquiry, The Guardian, the New Statesman, NYLON, the Columbia Journalism Review and numerous other outlets. She frequently speaks at events on topics like design culture, inclusivity, and games for social good.

Laralyn McWilliams (@Laralyn) has designed and helped build award-winning games across a variety of genres, and she currently serves as studio design director at The Workshop Entertainment, working on several unannounced titles. She was creative director for the ground-breaking MMO Free Realms at Sony Online Entertainment, which the New York Times called "a triumph of the company's own reinvention." Laralyn shared the top spot in Massive Online Gaming's 2010 list of the Top 20 Most Influential People in MMOs, was on Beckett's list of the top women in MMOs for 2010, and was listed as one of Gamasutra's 20 most influential women in games in 2008.

For more information on this session or others in the show's growing lineup, check out GDC 2014's official Schedule Builder, which continues to add new talks every week. The deadline for discounted Early Bird passes, including a lower-priced Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps Pass, is January 31. GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

For more information on GDC 2014, visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

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