Columbia College Chicago held its 3G Summit: The Future of Girls, Gaming and Gender event 2 weeks ago. It brought together some of the most notable women in the gaming industry and 50 lucky teenage girls from 5 schools in a highly interactive and transformational 3-day Game Lab/Workshop.
Not only were important issues about the HUGE gender gap that exists in the gaming industry discussed (only 11% of professionals in the gaming industry are women!), but 5 innovative game ideas to break traditional gaming stereotypes were also developed. The girls were split into 5 groups of 10, and each given a mentor to guide them through the creative process. On the last day, each group presented their game ideas in a competition where the winning group would have their idea actually developed by Columbia College students/faculty! I was really impressed by all their presentations and the amount of creativity that each one involved.
I was quite a gaming enthusiast from age 11-15 (many thanks to my older brother who bought the games), and I remember that almost everything I played involved plenty of violence and bloodshed. Everything from chopping off other players’ ears in Diablo, to making sheep explode in Warcraft III, to electrocuting people with my tesla coils in Command & Conquer. So it was definitely refreshing to see a different type of game being presented at the 3G summit.
“In this context, the low representation of females and minorities working in the gaming industry, as well as the complicated gendered culture of the gaming world itself, are troubling. One wonders what kind of games are not being made, what experiences are not being shared, what identities are not being represented?”
The panelists were some awesome women that included Mary Flanagan, Tracy Fullerton, Jennifer Jenson and Erin Robinson. But the one that really stood out to me, as a documentary filmmaker, was Susana Ruiz.
Susana, one of the founders of Take Action Games made clear her huge passion for bringing together the world of gaming and documentary films, and utilizing gaming as a tool to create positive social change. She was very kind and such a pleasure to chat with. I knew she’d be the perfect person to talk to for the next episode of Media Impact Spotlight! Thanks Susana!
Media Impact Spotlight is a web video series featuring professionals utilizing various forms of media for positive social change. Watch previous episodes and subscribe to the series here.