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Interview with me on MTV blog

December 13, 2007

There’s a very lengthy interview with me over on MTV’s multiplayer blog which focuses on me as a woman in game development and issues women may face in the field. The interview series was sparked by writer Tracey John’s surprise, dismay and shock at a horrifying comic that featured fellow industry person Jade Raymond. I was in final exam grading hell when that happened, and so somehow miraculously succeeded in missing the whole thing. So, the interview catches my surprise live.

One interesting thing about the interview – Tracey wrote it exactly as I spoke it, so you actually get a glimpse at my tendency to fling off on tangents on one subject or another (I just start a new post here) or to half-finish several sentences in a row. I gotta work on that, though it’s kind of a trademark at this point.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2007 12:58 pm

    I very much enjoyed reading your interview. One can tell that it’s a ver-batim transcription, but even that sort of worked, it was almost like being on the phone with you. ha!
    Sex in games is a refreshing topic. I wonder if there would actually be more sex in game narratives if there were more female game designers?

  2. December 13, 2007 1:40 pm

    I loved the anecdote about Sheri’s lecture. I remember you doing that to us at some point and how enlightening it was.

    It fascinates and infuriates me to no end that when I try to explain what you do in your lectures to my roommate, he shrugs it off and points out “flaws” in your lecture style. It’s like he simply refuses to see the point in what people are trying to say about women in videogames. And he constantly alludes to Samus, as if there were so many women like her.

    I really don’t know what to say to people like that. After a while I stop trying, or caring. What would you do in a circumstance like that?

  3. Olick permalink
    December 13, 2007 1:58 pm

    This is a great interview to read… You stated that this shows your tendancy to get on tangents, and half finish several sentances, but I read it just like I would read anything. Maybe I’ve been speaking like that for so long myself that it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary.

    I would like to see less hyper-sexualized women in games, not because of political correctness or anything, but because I can’t become really attached to a hyper-sexualized character. I simply.. like characters who aren’t more.

  4. December 13, 2007 2:09 pm

    aortiz – Suggest he read Sheri’s book, “Gender Inclusive Game Design.”

    Olick, Auriea – thanks!

  5. talliroxxor permalink
    December 13, 2007 4:46 pm


    You make me wish I were a game design major so I could take your class.

  6. December 13, 2007 8:10 pm

    I found your interview via the ECA newsletter (Entertainment Consumers Association), and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your experiences, knowledge, and insights on the gaming industry.

    I have recently become interested in pursuing a career in the industry but am unsure where to start. I have a BA in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing, and professional experience primarily in sales. I think game marketing would be a lot of fun, but I think that’s more of a publisher role than a development role. What do you think?

  7. December 13, 2007 10:49 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

    Hoorah, to answer your question –

    Yes, I agree that it’s more a publisher role.

    That said, I’ve seen marketing in both development houses and in publishers. In development houses and from what I’ve seen, it’s usually just one person, and he or she effectively markets the developer and its prototypes/projects to publishers. The same person is also frequently handles PR. Some developers are foregoing that in favor of specialized agents to represent them.

    Check out the bigger company sites and see what they look for in that kind of role. I’ve always been in development, so am not qualified to even comment on the skills that would be required.

    I wouldn’t let your background completely define your future role in the industry, though. If you want to do something different, with the right experience (i.e. get in any way you can) and knowledge, you can.

  8. December 14, 2007 1:18 am

    I can’t believe I just read that entire, extremely long, interview! Shweeew *refills Dr. Pepper*… I suppose that speaks for the interesting factor++.

    That comic revolving around Jade is disgusting, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit. There are a lot of “interesting” people out there that would give anything for an ounce of attention. Sad that it hit her though.

    Growing up these days could be a prime opportunity to witness a mind boggling -earth pounding- shock wave for women. Imagine if, for a second, Hillary Clinton is elected on the basis that she is the best suited for the job out of everybody else. Sure, people will moan, and cry, and moan some more, but once the haze of disbelief settles, and she works through her term with “success” (however you personally express that), or ‘failure’ (though I’m not sure how you get worse then right now)…. The inspiration and the lives of millions of children, teenagers, and grown women could easily sky rocket, thus beckoning a new generation that is guided by the extraordinary women. Women are already moving up in the world, slowly but surely, but this could be one sure fire way to light the rocket that sends this one to the moon. Only time will tell.

    Oops, did I get on one of my tangents.. =X Anyway, it’ll affect all industries, game industry included!

  9. December 14, 2007 6:55 pm

    Awesome interview.

    I had forgotten about the time when that group of people were so distracted by the bass fishing game that they blew off a Playboy bunny. That was hilarious. (Incidentally, for the curious, the game was Sega Bass Fishing 2 for the Dreamcast. I only know this because I inherited it after the company died, so I just checked in my living room.)

  10. fanciest45 permalink
    December 14, 2007 8:44 pm

    Like Mr. McGraw, I can’t believe I read the whole thing either. It was very interesting how much of that interview my classmates and I were taught in your class. As a testimonial, you’ve certainly changed my view on sex in video games to a much more encompassing and better point of view. I’d also like to note the hostility in some of the comments on that article. It’s a seismic place you tread with sex and violence, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s glad you’re there. In time I’m sure the whole craze about sex, violence and video games in general will die down and games will be like any other media outlet.

  11. December 15, 2007 11:55 am

    This is strange. Somehow that interview has increased my respect for you (no small feat), but has (more importantly) generated some small modicum of respect for MTV. They’re actually doing something interesting from time to time!

    So why are rap videos still the most common thing on when I find myself surfing through the MTV channels (admittedly seldom occurrence but it does happen)? Why don’t I see Brenda talking about the darker side of video games, or women as directors of films? Instead, I end up with a group of women who will never be recognized again, whose main selling point is how little clothing they can have.

    I’m fairly disappointed that they’re keeping the good articles hidden away in the middle of nowhere, but I’m also happy that there are good articles to be had. I suppose I should just call that a win.

    Anyway, I found that interview to be quite interesting and the thought process behind it is quite well-developed. I really hope I have the opportunity to see you speak at some point.

  12. December 15, 2007 4:34 pm

    Great interview, Brenda. 🙂 Always great to hear designers’ backgrounds.

    About the Jade Raymond thing – yeah that was horrible. I also only found out just about 2 days ago, but what put me off even more were some of the anti-Jade reactions lots of users were having on the forums.

    When I found out some months ago about Jade being the producer for Assassin’s Creed, I thought “Awesome!”. And AC is a work of art in my opinion. Jade, if you are reading this – amazing work! 😀

    These idiots need to just stfu (pardon the language 🙂 ). Another male-dominated industry… Modern civilization? Sid Meier’s is more civilized. 😉

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