Gaming Futures

Perspectives of Women in Games and Play


Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 5:00pm
Collins Cafe, Collins Cinema

Student demos will precede the panel at 4:00 PM in the Jewett Arts Center. The panel in Collins Cinema will begin at 5:00 PM.

Video games have become a potent force in society, rivaling the film industry in importance. While women play games as much as men, they still often face harassment in game spaces. Nevertheless, there has been a tremendous growth in women working in, writing about, and developing for video games. This panel, preceded by demos of recent student work, will highlight the experiences of recent alumnae and women academics and independent game developers as we look towards more diverse gaming futures.

Panelists will provide insight to the quickly emerging career that many aspire to join. Participants include the following:

Game designer, writer, and historian Anna Anthropy feels that “video games are not worthwhile unless we’re doing something worthwhile with them.” She is the co-founder and associate editor of The Gamer's Quarter and released her book Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form in 2012. 

Rayla Heide '10 began her career at Celestial Tiger Entertainment Limited, where she was pitched original concepts for scripted TV shows and features, and tackled the enterprise’s production and marketing. She currently works as a game scriptwriter.

After graduating with a Ph.D. from Stanford University, panelist Katherine Isbister took her desire for innovation to Brooklyn, where she was an associate professor at New York University and directed the Game Innovation Lab. Her research, which focuses on the emotion and social connection of gaming has resulted in many publications and innovative projects. Her work has been cited by organizations throughout the gaming industry. She is presently a full professor in the Department of Computational Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz and core faculty member in the Center for Games and Playable Media.

Cassie Hoef '15 graduated from Wellesley with a double major in Computer Science and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. At Wellesley, she performed research in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab with Professor Orit Shaer. After graduating, she moved to Seattle and began work at Microsoft. Cassie has been a Program Manager on the AAA Game Development team working with graphics developers to deliver quality, performant games. 

Anna Loparev ’10 first became involved in video games and video game research through the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. There she worked on everything from game design to testing while completing a Computer Science and Mathematics double major at Wellesley. After graduation, she attended the University of Rochester, where her PhD research centered on video games and how they can be used to teach collaborative skills. While in graduate school, she also worked as a game designer at Second Avenue Learning, an educational video game company. She now works at the Wellesley College Computer Science Department as a postdoc in Professor Orit Shaer’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab.

Soraya Murray is an interdisciplinary scholar who focuses on contemporary visual culture, with particular interest in contemporary art, cultural studies and games. Her two anthologized essays on the military game genre, gender and race are forthcoming in Identity Matters: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Game Studies, eds. Jennifer Malkowski and TreaAndrea M. Russworm (Indiana University Press, TBA) and Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming, eds. Pat Harrigan and Matthew G. Kirschenbaum (The MIT Press, 2016). She is an assistant professor of film and digital media at University of California, Santa Cruz 

Claudia Pederson is an assistant professor of art history in new media and technology at Wichita State University who writes on and lectures in modern and contemporary art, with a focus on technology, media theory, and social practice. As an assistant professor of screen studies, she taught film at the H. Roy Park School at Ithaca College. Her collaborative project, Art for Spooks, with media artist and Wellesley assistant professor Nicholas Adrian Knouf, is an augmented reality book around the theme of surveillance.