To introduce their new major, Interactive and Motion Arts, Moore, a college for women, hosted a free, public event featuring a panel of five women game artists talking about their lives in the games industry on Oct. 17.
Video games are stereotypically associated with men, but Moore makes it clear with their new major that there are many females playing and developing games. There are, however, much more game developers who are men rather than women.
Zoe Brookes, graphic designer at irrational games, believes that one reason there aren’t more women developing is because it is not readily available to be taught to them.
“I’m all for a college like Moore,” Brookes said. “It clearly has the right idea.”
Taylor Fischer, concept artist at Firaxis Games, sees more games that become popular with both men and women, indicating that women are being included more often.
“Games like Bioshock, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age cross a boundary into being a huge hit with women and men, and being very inclusive,” Fischer said. “I think having more women in the industry is just going to make it more inclusive.”
As with Philadelphia, the city is not known for a strong game development presence like other cities such as San Francisco, but there seems to be potential.
Jessica Hara Campbell, Level Designer at Bioware, thinks that with the accessibility of tools for smaller game development and classes that teach game art and design, the city could become more dev-centric.
With their experiences, the women gave a number of tips and advice for audience members who wanted to become game artists and designers.
An important tip that kept coming up was the necessity to do things that seem different from what you are used to.
Tatiana Malinko, principal figure artist at Zenimax Online Studios, stressed how important it is to be energetic and willing to learn what you don’t know, but still be “confident in your own skills”.
In the case of Helen Zhang, Artist at Backflip Studios, she wanted to make art for higher budget games and never planned on developing for mobile and social games.
“It’s important to have an open mind on what to do next,” Zhang said. “I embraced the change.”
Campbell has the overall mentality that a determined individual can make it into this competitive industry.
“It’s something that everyone can achieve so long as they try hard and they want it that bad which I think a lot of people really do,” Campbell said.
Arielle Hogan, a senior illustration at Moore, who was proudly wearing a Mass Effect 2 shirt, took this statement to heart saying that what she got out of the discussion was that “there’s still hope.”
“I learned a lot of different techniques and what they’re looking for. Practice, practice, and practice as I’ve been told over and over,” said Jacqueline Hines, a sophomore illustration major at Moore.
The panelists also gave insight on some of the harsh realities of the games industry, such as its instability with frequent company closings.
“It’s fun and it’s satisfying and you’re making things,” Brookes said, as she took out an art book for the game, Bioshock Infinite, and excitedly started showing me what she had made.
“I love my job,” Campbell said. “It’s a fantastic industry. It goes through a lot of turmoil – but it’s a great industry and it’s full of people who love making games.
It’s a fun hobby that’s also a job and it’s a lot of hard work but it’s worth it.”
Albert Hong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org