With the advent of the #GamerGate debate, plenty of people lately have felt the need to start talking loudly and brusquely about the "proper role" of women in video game culture. Should the most popular female gamers on YouTube have a voice in game culture at all, since gaming is supposedly a medium intended primarily for dudes?
The big controversy begins when women in video gaming want to actually talk (or write) about their experiences playing or developing games. A surprising number of people seem to think women talking and writing about video games represents an epic, gargantuan threat to the very soul of the games industry, because what could be possibly be more stifling to the creative purity of the Assassin's Creed franchise than pressuring Ubisoft into sticking a female NPC in Unity?
At the end of the day, women in the games industry who promote, discuss, and analyze video games are some of gaming's biggest advocates and most compelling contributors, and they're a diverse group. Below is just a sampling of some of the most visible, unique and hard-hitting female contributors to the public conversation about video games and video game culture.
Who she is: Meg Turney first got her angel wings in the geek community as a well-known cosplayer, but has since branched out heavily into online media hosting and news reporting. She's hosted weekly gaming and tech-related series for Nerdist News and CraveOnline, and currently works full-time for the Internet culture channel Rooster Teeth.
Why she's awesome: She has a particularly deep knowledge about Indy games and she tends not to report on something unless she really knows her sh*t. And she usually knows her sh*t.
6838Do you admire her work?
Who she is: Danielle Riendeau is a senior reviewer for Polygon. She has a very strong critical perspective, but some of her best work for the site is filed under "opinion."
Why she's awesome: Check out this amazing piece about the much coveted and buzzed-about game Alien: Isolation where she ties together the lineage of the game's central character with the feminist themes of Ridley Scott's original 1979 film. Her approach gives video games the respect they deserve, elevates the medium and ends of making the whole industry look good. Pulling out meaty literary themes to discuss while mainstream media tries to completely dismiss video games as a worthwhile part of culture? Awesome.Bonus: her last name is pronounced like "Nintendo" which is pretty fun!6139Do you admire her work?
Whe she is: Jane McGonigal is the author of the book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. She's a game developer and general future tech enthusiast interested in the creative, intellectual, and sociospiritual future of interactive media. She has given three TED talks on the subject of gaming that have been collectively watched over 9 million times.Why she's awesome: As a game designer, McGonigal's work emphasizes the use of virtual landscapes and styles of interaction to help solve real-world problems. She is one of the most quoted and referenced individuals on gaming's impact on modern culture.6347Do you admire her work?
Who she is: Leigh Alexander is Editor at Large of Gamasutra. Her writing has appeared in Variety, the Los Angeles Times, Kotaku, Polygon, Boing Boing, Vice, Edge, The Guardian, and Time.Why she's awesome: Alexander created Gamasutra all by herself over 17 years ago, when the Internet was still just a baby. In response to #GamerGate, Gamasutra has been running a lot of pieces on sexism in gaming, which unsurprisingly has led to an avalanche of threats and harassment against Leigh Alexander personally.6556Do you admire her work?