Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals in Play Review
Autor Megan Marie and Prima Games collaborated to publish Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play. The 352-page book celebrates the mark women have carved out in an otherwise male-dominated industry.
As the games industry is fast moving and ever evolving, many noteworthy stories never reach the general audience. Megan Marie looked to fix that by cataloguing all the major milestones from 1970 all the way through to the present. The book covers notable journalists, developers—basically every role that has to do with the industry.
Women In Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play starts off by aiming the spotlight on none other than former Atari market researcher, Carol Kantor. The 46-year industry veteran was the first user researcher in the industry.
Along with acknowledging the accomplishments of each featured member, Women in Gaming features an in-depth bio that fleshes out the impact they made on the industry. In addition, a side panel gives a quick rundown of other notable achievements, favourite games, and where they are now with website links and social media handles.
Many recognizable faces are featured throughout, including Jade Raymond, Bonnie Ross, Ashly Burch, Amy Henning, and more. What makes Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play a strong read is how much emphasis Megan Marie placed on featuring the unsung heroes and up-and-comers. Everyone is given the same treatment. Regardless of their tenure in the industry, Megan Marie gives as much recognition to someone with a handful of years as another whose career has spanned decades.
Cherry Thompson, an in-studio consultant at Gears of War studio The Coalition has only been in the industry for a couple of years now. However, her story of how she got there and the leaps and bounds needed to get to where she is was an inspiring read.
There were quite a few new tidbits of information to read through. Many may recognize Montreal-based esports legend, Stephanie Harvey (Missharvey). However, some might not know that she got her foot in the door as a game designer for Ubisoft Montreal. Harvey worked on Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, and Far Cry Primal before transitioning to professional gaming.
Aside from nearly 100 bios, many female contributors wrote short essays for the book as well. Perrin Kaplan, for instance, wrote “The Joys and Luck of Being a Female in the Gaming Industry”. On top of that, Women in Gaming features “A Day in the Life of..” segments. Megan Marie interviewed women in specific roles and each is a fascinating read. For instance, Anne van der Zanden is interviewed regarding her role as Community Manager for Guerilla Games.
We get to read through quotes and statements ranging from educational background to industry impressions, and professional perks. While these segments outline all the good that comes with these roles, they do not shy away from talking about the low points as well. Career challenges are acknowledged and reflections on mistakes. This honest look humanizes every interviewee.
A community manager isn’t the only role featured. We also get to read an interview from Jennie Ngyuyen, a systems administrator. Agnieszka Szamelek-Michalska who is working in human resources, and Stephanie Panisello, a professional VA are featured as well. Some of the positions featured are not given as much attention as needed. Each is crucial to a healthy industry and deserve acknowledgement.
At its core, Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals in Play is designed to celebrate prolific women of the industry. Megan Marie managed to not only educate me (and hopefully all readers) of the impact women have made on the industry but also illuminated every corner of the industry. The book showcased how each role comes together to make games what they are. Take away one, and the industry loses something valuable.
The stories featured in Women in Gaming are powerful and insightful on many counts. Where the industry stands in 2019 would not be possible without the contributions from the 100 women featured in this book. In many cases, in order to move forward, you need to look back and reflect on how you got there.
Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals in Play is a recommended read for any games enthusiast. It works as a reference piece on the games industry and acknowledges many stories that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals in Play is available now.
A copy of Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals in Play was provided by the publisher for review purposes.