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    The ten most influential women in games over the last 10 years

    This is the time of the year where most sites are doing their top ten lists about different subjects. Personally, I hate top ten lists. If I’m going to do one, then it’s going to be about something I’m passionate about. Therefore, we have two top ten list articles on GamingAngels.com. Here we are looking at the ten women that influenced the gaming industry in a big way over the last ten years. This isn’t an all-inclusive list and I’d love for you to join in the conversation by including your nominees in the comments. The game industry is starting to see change and some of it is due to the women on this list paving the path. Here in random order, are ten women that really changed the game industry over the last ten years.

      lucybradshaw

    • Lucy Bradshaw has to start the list with her work on the Sims beginning in the year 2000. Lucy and the Maxis team created a game that would be named the best selling PC game to date. The Sims is also credited for bringing more women into playing games. Lucy Bradshaw now leads the efforts of the Maxis team on the various Spore titles. She is an amazing speaker and is always pushing the industry forward.
    • swift2

    • Kim Swift took the game industry by storm with the much praised hit, Portal. Swift was hired by Valve after graduation and won many awards with a title that appealed to casual and the hardcore. Swift has now joined Airtight Games to assist with games aimed at a more diverse audience.
    • jade-raymond

    • Jade Raymond was the producer on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. While she had been a producer on previous titles including The Sims Online, Jade definitely had to put up with controversy from men that couldn’t get over her looks. Yes guys, it is possible to be gorgeous and talented. Her official website says that she now works with Electric Playground and we hope to continue to see great things from Jade.
    • corrinneyu

    • Corrinne Yu is an amazing woman. She’s the principal programmer at Microsoft’s Halo team. I met her at a GDC Women in Games luncheon where she was rewarded for her work on the Halo series. She dresses like a rock star and talks about programming theory unlike anyone I know. Corrinne is an inspiration as we look at the problem of not enough women going into programming as a discipline.
    • Gaiser

    • Megan Gaiser is the President and CEO of Her Interactive. Through her work at Her Interactive, she has helped make intelligent games for the younger female audience. Her Interactive games create the Nancy Drew series of games that are very popular. Megan works hard in both talks and through her work at Her Interactive to get more girls interested in gaming both as a hobby and as a career.
    • kelleesantiago_forweb

    • Kellee Santiago is an amazing young woman from the Interactive Media program at USC. She is the president and co-founder of ThatGameCompany, a company that strives to create games that create an emotion in the player. Their first two games, flOw and Flower on the Playstation 3 are not only beautiful but also appeal to a more diverse audience. During our interview with her at the Spike VGAs, it was great to see her passionate and excited about the future of ThatGameCompany. We look forward to Kellee pushing the boundaries of what we think about games.
    • amy hennig_naughtydog

    • Amy Hennig works as Naughty Dog as the Creative Director on Uncharted and Uncharted 2. Uncharted 2 is second in the top 20 ranked Playstation 3 games on Metacritic. Amy concentrates on story and actors and it shows. Uncharted 2 has some of the best voice acting of any game out there. It will be interesting to see how close to films that Amy and the Naughty Dog team can take video games.
    • Deborah Mars is the Managing Producer at SCEA Santa Monica Studio who worked on PSN title, Fat Princess. The title had early uproar from various websites because the game was built around the mechanic of feeding your princess cake so she would weigh more and be harder to kidnap. In the end, Deborah and her team proved that Fat Princess is an incredibly fun title.
    • cammie_dunaway_sm

    • Cammie Dunaway is the executive vice president of sales & marketing at Nintendo. As one of the most powerful people at Nintendo, she led the way to reach out to women gamers with the Nintendo DS and Wii. She has had a rough road being criticized for being too nice or even fake. I interviewed Cammie at the 2007 Women’s Conference and she was sweet but also very knowledgeable about the products available. She genuinely wants to see a more diverse audience enjoy gaming.
    • trixie360

    • We end our list with a female that has taken community on the Xbox 360 to another level. Christa Phillips Charter, better known as Trixie360, was responsible for many community initiatives for the 360 that is what makes us feel at home on the 360. She organized Game with Fame nights, Community Spotlights, Gamer Spotlights, and created/founded GamerChix a place where female Xbox gamers can gather to talk about gaming. Christa has always made herself available to gamers. Her new title is Social Media Lead of Xbox LIVE and we can’t see where she takes Community and Games next!

    I hope you enjoyed our list and I’d love to hear who you think should be on the list. We didn’t include the wonderful women that run amazing communities or clans, but they definitely could be here as well. I’d like to thank Robin Yang for working with me on ideas for this list. Here’s to another 10 years of greatness from women in games!

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for putting together a list like this! It's really powerful to see

The only contention I have with the list is Jade Raymond.Having worked with Ubisoft, her "production" of Assassin's Creed didn't really entail much more than doing what normal managers do - keep the product on track. Most of the programming and development of the game came from other sources, but Ubisoft exaggerated her input and paraded her in front of the media to get a rise out of male gamers.Not that she's a bad person, but she let herself get used by a software giant.

Great job on getting a kotaku headline!!!Too bad you specified an XBOX 360 community manager as one of the most influential women.
Now you have angered the ps3 fanboys. sorry, Fanpeople :PAlso the xbox fans aren't gonna be to pleased either, since trixie is not well liked.ALSO!!!Where is Perrin Kaplan?!?!
The Vice president of marketing during the Wii craze??? not influential enough?

Thank you very much! I actually have been working with the Playstation team to figure out a way to make home more "female friendly". We will probably do more community nights as well.I thought about including Perrin Kaplan and probably should have trusted my gut to do it. Since most people have pointed that out!

As a female gamer, I would like to add my two cents to the pile accumulating here. Firstly I would like to say thank you to those beggining to recognize women in the gaming world. I think it's long overdue but well received. There is however one inclusion on this list, which as mentioned in the comments above, I do not feel should have made even the long list. This person would be Xbox360's own trixie360. Before I explain, I would like to have it said that I love my 360. I believe in the gaming community that Microsoft has created for so many to enjoy is truly amazing. That being said allow me to explain my distaste.When I first encountered the gaming community many moons ago, women were commonly over looked and the controller passed around them in a gathering. Since then I have developed my love of pwning in male dominated games such as the Halo franchise, fighters and RTS titles.When exploring the 360 community for clans and gaming groups for women, I was over joyed to find a wealth of them in residence. I quickly followed any and all news pertaining to them. This was my first introduction to the public persona of Trixie 360. After 8 hours I had reached my limit and removed any and all connections. The amount of personal attacks conducted by this person against former players within gamerchix was staggering, as was the cursing and un- professionalism. Elitism of that magnitude MAY be acceptable on a person to person basis, but should not be aired when one is representing a company, either in Chat or tweets.
In conclusion I have to say that my experience has led me to feel that I would rather remain a lone wolf in the gaming community, or find a squad of male gamers to token on.Again, congratulations to the deserving recipients, and to all those women in the gaming world that really do make the whole thing possible.

Yes, all, there could have been better names on this list, but I am very happy at the start of something such as this. It's nice that GA recognizes women in gaming, even if there are more deserving candidates. And I agree about Trixie. She can be more unprofessional then she should be, but that does not change the achievements (pardon the semi-accidental pun...) she has made in her career or the influence she has had on the female gaming community.~Meg

I think we need a hundred such women to start changing the genre so that it is fused with a lot more perspective and dimension. And the process needs to be formalized. Not enough women are making games and that is where the quick win to the women in games issue lies!I touch on this topic here http://p-v-p.com/2009/12/30/why-games-for-women-have-to-be-made-by-women/

I'm a little surprised that Paulina Bozek wasn't listed. She was the Executive Producer and Game Director of the SingStar series of games, which have sold 15 million units in the PAL regions alone.Furthermore, regarding your blurb about Fat Princess in the entry on Deborah Mars:
“The title had early uproar from various websites because the game was built around the mechanic of feeding your princess cake so she would weigh more and be harder to kidnap. In the end, Deborah and her team proved that Fat Princess is an incredibly fun title.”
As a commenter on my site pointed out, the two statements don't have much to do with each other. A game can be really fun to play, but still contain problematic content from a sexism and size discrimination/fatphobia perspective. In fact, many, many games are incredibly awesome and fun from a game play perspective, but are also quite sexist and problematic from gender and other standpoints. Therefore I'm not sure I understand why those two statements are linked together here.

As I stated, this list isn't all inclusive. It's meant as a starting grounds for our Women In Games interviews where we will hopefully highlight more women that work in the industry that don't get as much press.I definitely meant this post as a start for a discussion which seems to be happening. That way we can move forward and include more women. But as most sites turn in their top ten lists, I saw women in gaming as sorely lacking, so I thought I would create a list. It is my hope that through continued conversation in 2010 we can create a better list next year.

I understand that the list isn't meant to be all-inclusive. That's why I listed someone who I thought should have been considered for the list, given her influential contribution to singing games, far beyond that of predecessors such as Karaoke Revolution, which have been around for much longer, but which haven't had much of a mainstream cultural impact.Secondly, you didn't respond to my confusion about why the fact that a game is problematic has anything to do with a team proving that it is fun to play. Surely you agree that a game can be fun, but can contain sexist and other problematic elements?Furthermore, Fat Princess has been out for like six months. I'm not sure that either Fat Princess nor Deborah Mars have had the time to influence the gaming industry at large.

I have to agree with Tim S that this list is padded. Especially with the inclusion of Trixie360. I followed her on Twitter for a couple days before the garbage spewed became too much to handle. If Major Nelson was as crass as she is, I dare say I wouldn't follow the 360 scene at all. For her taking what appears to have been personal digs at former GamerChix in public forum as well, I'd say she's actually set "girl-gaming" BACK 20 years. She has a fan club of a mere 130 users on FaceBook. That should speak volumes... If you don't believe me, the whole sordid dirty laundry is available in either forum, both on Facebook and Twitter... come to your own conclusions.That being said there are a few valid inclusions on this list, and I'd congratulate you all if I found any merit to this article. I hope you achieve your recognition elsewhere where you aren't heaped in the same pile as the trash.

The only contention I have with the list is Jade Raymond.

Having worked with Ubisoft, her "production" of Assassin's Creed didn't really entail much more than doing what normal managers do - keep the product on track. Most of the programming and development of the game came from other sources, but Ubisoft exaggerated her input and paraded her in front of the media to get a rise out of male gamers.Not that she's a bad person, but she let herself get used by a software giant.

This is true, she gets by with her good looks. She is also well-spoken and smart, but her contribution in her role is in reality minimal. She doesn't deserve to be on this list, no hard feelings intended.

The sims and spore a been created by Will Wright from Maxis not by a women...

Great job Trina! Whether people like any of the names on the list doesn't bother me. It's nice to see this list and it's a great start of more to come.

Great job on getting a kotaku headline!!!

Too bad you specified an XBOX 360 community manager as one of the most influential women.
Now you have angered the ps3 fanboys. sorry, Fanpeople :P

Also the xbox fans aren't gonna be to pleased either, since trixie is not well liked.

ALSO!!!

Where is Perrin Kaplan?!?!
The Vice president of marketing during the Wii craze??? not influential enough?

Thank you very much! I actually have been working with the Playstation team to figure out a way to make home more "female friendly". We will probably do more community nights as well.

I thought about including Perrin Kaplan and probably should have trusted my gut to do it. Since most people have pointed that out!

As a female gamer, I would like to add my two cents to the pile accumulating here. Firstly I would like to say thank you to those beggining to recognize women in the gaming world. I think it's long overdue but well received. There is however one inclusion on this list, which as mentioned in the comments above, I do not feel should have made even the long list. This person would be Xbox360's own trixie360. Before I explain, I would like to have it said that I love my 360. I believe in the gaming community that Microsoft has created for so many to enjoy is truly amazing. That being said allow me to explain my distaste.

When I first encountered the gaming community many moons ago, women were commonly over looked and the controller passed around them in a gathering. Since then I have developed my love of pwning in male dominated games such as the Halo franchise, fighters and RTS titles.

When exploring the 360 community for clans and gaming groups for women, I was over joyed to find a wealth of them in residence. I quickly followed any and all news pertaining to them. This was my first introduction to the public persona of Trixie 360. After 8 hours I had reached my limit and removed any and all connections. The amount of personal attacks conducted by this person against former players within gamerchix was staggering, as was the cursing and un- professionalism. Elitism of that magnitude MAY be acceptable on a person to person basis, but should not be aired when one is representing a company, either in Chat or tweets.
In conclusion I have to say that my experience has led me to feel that I would rather remain a lone wolf in the gaming community, or find a squad of male gamers to token on.

Again, congratulations to the deserving recipients, and to all those women in the gaming world that really do make the whole thing possible.

It's good to hear about women in gaming, although I really wonder how much influence some of these women have. Job titles don't necessarily make one influential, and video games are team projects where particular people don't necessarily stand out in the development process. Some of these women I think have simply worked on games that are creative.

Yes, all, there could have been better names on this list, but I am very happy at the start of something such as this. It's nice that GA recognizes women in gaming, even if there are more deserving candidates. And I agree about Trixie. She can be more unprofessional then she should be, but that does not change the achievements (pardon the semi-accidental pun...) she has made in her career or the influence she has had on the female gaming community.

~Meg

Oh, and nice job Trina and Robin. ^^

Yeah I'd have to agree that Trixie shouldn't have made the list. I'm huge Xbox fan, but she is an embarrassment to the industry as a whole. So many other great choices you could have made.

I think we need a hundred such women to start changing the genre so that it is fused with a lot more perspective and dimension. And the process needs to be formalized. Not enough women are making games and that is where the quick win to the women in games issue lies!

I touch on this topic here http://p-v-p.com/2009/12/30/why-games-for-women-have-to-be-made-by-women/

I'm a little surprised that Paulina Bozek wasn't listed. She was the Executive Producer and Game Director of the SingStar series of games, which have sold 15 million units in the PAL regions alone.

Furthermore, regarding your blurb about Fat Princess in the entry on Deborah Mars:

u00e2u0080u009cThe title had early uproar from various websites because the game was built around the mechanic of feeding your princess cake so she would weigh more and be harder to kidnap. In the end, Deborah and her team proved that Fat Princess is an incredibly fun title.u00e2u0080u009d

As a commenter on my site pointed out, the two statements don't have much to do with each other. A game can be really fun to play, but still contain problematic content from a sexism and size discrimination/fatphobia perspective. In fact, many, many games are incredibly awesome and fun from a game play perspective, but are also quite sexist and problematic from gender and other standpoints. Therefore I'm not sure I understand why those two statements are linked together here.

As I stated, this list isn't all inclusive. It's meant as a starting grounds for our Women In Games interviews where we will hopefully highlight more women that work in the industry that don't get as much press.

I definitely meant this post as a start for a discussion which seems to be happening. That way we can move forward and include more women. But as most sites turn in their top ten lists, I saw women in gaming as sorely lacking, so I thought I would create a list. It is my hope that through continued conversation in 2010 we can create a better list next year.

I understand that the list isn't meant to be all-inclusive. That's why I listed someone who I thought should have been considered for the list, given her influential contribution to singing games, far beyond that of predecessors such as Karaoke Revolution, which have been around for much longer, but which haven't had much of a mainstream cultural impact.

Secondly, you didn't respond to my confusion about why the fact that a game is problematic has anything to do with a team proving that it is fun to play. Surely you agree that a game can be fun, but can contain sexist and other problematic elements?

Furthermore, Fat Princess has been out for like six months. I'm not sure that either Fat Princess nor Deborah Mars have had the time to influence the gaming industry at large.

I have to agree with Tim S that this list is padded. Especially with the inclusion of Trixie360. I followed her on Twitter for a couple days before the garbage spewed became too much to handle. If Major Nelson was as crass as she is, I dare say I wouldn't follow the 360 scene at all. For her taking what appears to have been personal digs at former GamerChix in public forum as well, I'd say she's actually set "girl-gaming" BACK 20 years. She has a fan club of a mere 130 users on FaceBook. That should speak volumes... If you don't believe me, the whole sordid dirty laundry is available in either forum, both on Facebook and Twitter... come to your own conclusions.

That being said there are a few valid inclusions on this list, and I'd congratulate you all if I found any merit to this article. I hope you achieve your recognition elsewhere where you aren't heaped in the same pile as the trash.

I'd love it if you gave us some suggestions as to who we could include in our future women in gaming interviews. It's easy to say how people shouldn't be on the list, but can you recommend anyone? Whatever your experience is with Trixie360, she has done amazing things for community and for indie game sites.

Challenge accepted!I stand by my opinion about Trixie360... I mean if she kept her unprofessional banter to her accounts that Xbox itself has nothing to do with, fine. I don't expect people to be their corporate selves when the hat is off. Just do it under your own non-affiliated account. I think the problem lies in the fact that if she had a Twitter account under her real name for personal stuff she's have no one to see the trainwreck, and that doesn't feed her attention troll. If she is now Social Media Lead, I fear for MS' future. Nobody comes to a corporate spokesperson to hear their personal drama unfold in a fratboy-esque manner.That being said this list could have been redeemed by the addition of any of these in her place:Alyssa Finley - For her work at 2K, I mean have you already forgotten about Bioshock? MAJOR ++!
Robin Hunicke - Electronic Arts -This woman is a role model and a scholar, I can't say enough good things about her without going into a full blown article.
Laura Fryer - Microsoft Games Studio GEARS of WAR, Crimson Skies, 'nuff said.
Morgan Webb - G4, FHM - She is the de facto TV game girl. If anyone has had influence from a gamer perspective on the common household it's her.
Jane McGonigal - The Institute for the future - She thinks outside of the box, and is considered one of the top 35 innovators changing the world by the MIT Technology Review.
Heather Kelley - Now a professor and working on some serious next-level stuff, was games designer at Ubisoft. She is proof that gamers, girl or otherwise are not all slouch potatoes.
Nicole Lazzaro - XEODesign - You might not have heard of her, but her research is a major part as to why you smile or cry when your avatar does something silly.I've kept my suggestions to ones not already commented either, though I agree with every suggestion made in the comments as well. Other contenders in this category might have also included Patricia Pizer, Sheri Graner Ray, Kathy Schoback, Jessica Tams, Kathy Vrabeck, Brenda Brathwaite, and Linda Currie.

Challenge accepted!

I stand by my opinion about Trixie360... I mean if she kept her unprofessional banter to her accounts that Xbox itself has nothing to do with, fine. I don't expect people to be their corporate selves when the hat is off. Just do it under your own non-affiliated account. I think the problem lies in the fact that if she had a Twitter account under her real name for personal stuff she's have no one to see the trainwreck, and that doesn't feed her attention troll. If she is now Social Media Lead, I fear for MS' future. Nobody comes to a corporate spokesperson to hear their personal drama unfold in a fratboy-esque manner.

That being said this list could have been redeemed by the addition of any of these in her place:

Alyssa Finley - For her work at 2K, I mean have you already forgotten about Bioshock? MAJOR ++!
Robin Hunicke - Electronic Arts -This woman is a role model and a scholar, I can't say enough good things about her without going into a full blown article.
Laura Fryer - Microsoft Games Studio GEARS of WAR, Crimson Skies, 'nuff said.
Morgan Webb - G4, FHM - She is the de facto TV game girl. If anyone has had influence from a gamer perspective on the common household it's her.
Jane McGonigal - The Institute for the future - She thinks outside of the box, and is considered one of the top 35 innovators changing the world by the MIT Technology Review.
Heather Kelley - Now a professor and working on some serious next-level stuff, was games designer at Ubisoft. She is proof that gamers, girl or otherwise are not all slouch potatoes.
Nicole Lazzaro - XEODesign - You might not have heard of her, but her research is a major part as to why you smile or cry when your avatar does something silly.

I've kept my suggestions to ones not already commented either, though I agree with every suggestion made in the comments as well. Other contenders in this category might have also included Patricia Pizer, Sheri Graner Ray, Kathy Schoback, Jessica Tams, Kathy Vrabeck, Brenda Brathwaite, and Linda Currie.

how could you leave off Nancy Smith? She led EA's Marketing organization during the heydays of the early 2000's and the helped reinvent the Sims brand in the last 5-yrs. Pretty obvious omission. 100x the impact of my girl Jade.

this list is so padded its not even funny

With all due respect, I can't imagine how a list of this sort could be made without including Susan O'Connor. She may not have invented the role of game writer, but she's as responsible as anyone for its evolution, and she's certainly responsible more than anyone else for the notion (and existence) of a *community* of game writers. Her exclusion from the list is a grievous oversight and reflects a lack of either understanding or respect for the discipline of writing for games and its importance to the medium and industry.

Thank you very much for the suggestion! This is actually launching a bi-weekly series where we hope to highlight women in games throughout the year. I will definitely cover Susan O'Connor!

Rockin'. Thank you. :-)

The world needs more tooth paste grin attention whores with mediocre games. Seriously, lol.

Good list. How about some columns about the 10 most important gaming women of all times? I bet a lot of newer gamers don't even know who Roberta Williams is, for example.

That's a great idea! A history lesson is good for people now and then!

Holy, damn jade raymond is str8 fire!
omg

Yes! Flower Power FTW!!!

Aw thanks for putting together a list like this! It's really powerful to see, gives you some inspiration a bit, you know? :)

doh I feel bad - I mispelled Kellee Santiago's first name on our Spike TV Video Game Awards Red Carpet interviews - I hope she doesnt find out and snub me :)

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