A guest post by Joanna Moylan
For as long as I can remember, video games have always been a part of my childhood. My family and I used to gather around the PC, scratching our heads over a tricky adventure game puzzle, or we would battle it out at Tekken on the Playstation. I have always loved video games.
I suppose my main motivation for pursuing a career in the video game industry was around the time that I noticed a decline in the quality of AAA games. While graphics and physics engines were improving, gameplay was going downhill. Games were becoming shorter, more expensive and less satisfying to play. It was as if developers had forgotten that games were supposed to be fun. I wanted to fix that.
I had started a computer games development course in Carlow IT a few years back, in pursuit of my dream of becoming a games developer. I was not at all surprised that I was one of three girls out of a class of fifty when we started. Having attended an all girls school my whole life, I was really the only person that was in any way enthusiastic about video games. At the time I didn’t mind that there weren’t many girls because I got along so well with all the guys there that it didn’t really make a difference to me.
Why do more women not play games?
I only started thinking about women and gaming when I had to do a presentation on game demographics for college. My lecturer asked me what can be done to attract more women to play video games and at the time I could not answer.
When I considered the gender ratio in my college class alone, I came to the conclusion that perhaps the problem was that there were not enough women in the industry to attract a female market. Simply put: games were being made by men for men. Games that were being aimed at girls were often too pink, too simple and above all terribly patronizing. It’s clear that there’s a distinct misunderstanding in the gaming industry of what girls actually want in a game, and personally I’d put that down to the lack of women in games design and development.
Lots of options within the gaming industry
I implore women to consider a career in the games industry. Not only is it extremely profitable (grossing higher than the film industry today), but it’s also growing exponentially with each generation.
Video games are here to stay, and with that comes a vast range of job opportunities.
The course I studied in Carlow IT involved games programming. I studied several different programming languages, real world physics, mobile phone games development and programming with touch screen and motion control.
Apart from maths and programming however, there’s another side to games development that involves mainly creativity. In the games industry there will always be a need for a concept or story board artist. There are jobs in 3D modelling, animation, sound engineering, script writing and directing.
There is also, as with most industries, a business and marketing side.
For those interested in games appreciation, there are jobs available in game testing or game reviewing.
I feel like I have only scratched the surface here, but I hope I have given a fair idea of what opportunities are available in the games industry. I really hope that more women become interested in pursuing a career in games as it will help bring the medium to its full potential, and with that, hopefully someday, games will be as popular or mainstream as TV, books or movies.
And there’s more about the challenges and opportunities in designing games for girls in this TED Talk by Brenda Laurel: