The Importance of the MCV Pacific Women in Games List
A couple of days ago, our Editor asked me to do a news piece about the 2016 MCV Pacific Women in Games List and I have been sitting here for about two days trying to figure out what to write about the topic.
For one, I feel completely unqualified to write anything that is going to place any further value to how important this list is. These are women who have entered the industry through various avenues – marketing, academia, business administration, software development, creative arts – and have found themselves contributing to the growing video game culture. To put it simply, me writing with any glowing reverence for the people being considered for these awards is the equivalent of me spit-shining the shoes of Hermes – a genuine gesture yes, but it would barely have the chance to hit the mark of an ever-moving industry. Now that I think of it, it is actually a fitting analogy, as Hermes is considered a messenger of the gods – patron of transitions and boundaries, but also a quick and cunning contributor to the pantheon who takes a keen interest in commerce and communication between us mere mortals and the divine.
Second, it is a contentious topic, and a double-edged sword, as to how any person would interpret this list. One person’s pride is another person’s favouritism is another person’s discrimination. I could praise the women, and feel that I cheated the work of some of my closest male friends who I know have made leaps and bounds in their own contributions to the industry since I have known them. I could be accused of aligning purely due to our shared biologies. Equally, sometimes it can be a genuine fear that I want to value some of the wonderful women who I have met over the years, who I have confided in as friends, and I feel that I am not praising them enough. I feel like I am short-changing them the congratulations that they are due.
So what I want to do here is highlight one thing that I love about this list – the one miraculous thing that fills my heart with joy and rainbow unicorn farts and fairy floss:
Just look at where these people are contributing to your industry. Take a look at that list.
Look at the women who are managing components of the businesses that bring the games that you love to our shopfronts – who are contributing to the processes that ensure that you get the games that you want to play, with as minimum fuss as possible.
Look at the women who are contributing to the business operations of the companies that make the games that you get to play. They are making sure that you see those advertisements at the train station so that you can have an opportunity to talk to your friends about “that game you want to play”. They are overseeing the accounts that ensure that there is a budget for those games to get made and be released here in Australia.
Look at the women who are making games for you to play – coming up with new ideas and developing so many new games that you won’t even get the opportunity to play and complete them all if you tried. They are providing the stories, the ambience, the visuals, the gameplay. They are starting up the studios and bringing people together to create wonderful things.
Look at the women who are advocating for your right to play games – talking to mainstream media and creating their own communicative avenues to talk to the people that we simply don’t have time to talk to. They are managing the websites that bring you news about video games. They are taking the time to communicative information that they feel is important for you to know. And they talk about the stuff that we are so tired of advocating for ourselves sometimes – the critical need for games classification, the debate about the “bad influences” of video games for our next generations, the ridiculous notion that games have a specific demographic for the time-rich and socially poor.
Look at the women who are contributing to games studies – promoting the growing dialogue about video games in academia. They are curating a playing history of video games in Australia and starting a discussion on the positive psychological outcomes of engaging in interactive narratives. They are also contributing to the curriculum of our classrooms and tertiary providers – ensuring that future developers are ready for the challenge of contributing to our evolving community. They are trying to make the future of games better for you.
The culture of video games keeps moving, evolving. In one moment games are a business, in another they are a pedagogy. They fluctuate from product to discourse to entertainment and we are lucky that in this one moment that the ever-moving entity is allowed to pause and see exactly how beautifully complex our community has become, reflected in the achievements of 100 women in Australia and New Zealand alone.
We are goddamn lucky, and I know I am so very grateful.
The 2016 MCV Pacific Women In Games Awards are presented by Xbox, and will be awarded at the second annual MCV Pacific Women In Games Lunch. In the leadup to the event, you will have the opportunity to learn more about their contributions through individual profiles that will be published by MCV Pacific. Anyone who denies themselves the opportunity to read about what these people do for our community is missing a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the complexities of our culture.
* MCV Pacific and Xbox will be hosting a lunch to recognise all women in gaming with a special focus on those appearing on the 2016 list. For information on booking tickets to the event please check out the site here:
When Sarah was young, her brother complained that she “got through that final level of Super Mario World on a fluke.” Refining this skill, Sarah has continued to be successful purely by accident. Follow her on Twitter at @essieteric.