Gaming

8 Notable women in game development

Doing what you love isn’t gender-bound

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The gaming industry is perceptibly becoming more progressive, or at least, I’d like to think so. With people developing new games, playing them, and voicing out their insights, much of the industry is under more scrutiny than the community is used to. The gender split amongst gaming professionals, however, has long been an interesting talking point over the years.

In 2014, the International Game Developer’s Association released a report detailing the prevalence of women in the gaming industry. The presence of female developers has doubled since 2009 despite the persistence of male dominance in the industry.


The industry hit a striking spike in female audiences and consumers over time. With more female developers creating games and women themselves playing professionally, things had to change. Here are eight women who broke the mold:

Carol Shaw

Carol Shaw was a former video game designer and was one of the first in the industry. She was known for having designed Happy Trails for the Intellivision and River Raid for the Atari 800 and Atari 5200. She worked for Atari and wrote Video Checkers (1978), 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (1978), and Super Breakout (1978, alongside Nick Turner).

Jane Ng

Jane Ng is a 3D environment artist who worked on well-received games like Firewatch, The Cave, Brütal Legend, Stacking, Spore, Costume Quest, and The Godfather. She started as an intern in Ronin Studios, but later moved on to Electronic Arts, then Double Fine Productions, and now Campo Santo.

Robin Hunicke

Robin Hunicke is a game designer and producer, as well as a professor of game design at UC Santa Cruz. She is also the co-founder of Funomena.

She began her career in Electronic Arts and worked on MySims and Boom Blox. Her advocacies include her support of independent game development and championing of women within the games industry.

Amy Hennig

Amy Hennig is a game director and scriptwriter who believes that the creative direction of a script holds more importance than the graphics of the game. She worked on the Legacy of Kain series, the Jak and Daxter series, and the Uncharted series. She has been called one of the most influential women in the video game industry by Edge magazine.

Corrinne Yu

Corinne Yu started her career with the King’s Quest series for the Apple II. She wrote the original engine for the Spec Ops series and was a founding member of Microsoft’s Direct 3D Advisory Board. She programmed lighting, facial animation, and developed new technology for the 2012 video game Halo 4.

Kim Swift

Kim Swift is a video game designer known for her work at Valve on games such as Portal (2007) and Left 4 Dead (2008). Much later, She led the team that developed Quantum Conundrum (2012). Kim Swift was featured by Fortune as one of “30 Under 30” influential figures in the video game industry.

Kellee Santiago

Kellee is a video game designer and producer. While studying at the USC Interactive Media Division of the University of Southern California, Santiago with her friend, Jenova Chen, and a team of students, they produced the game Cloud. After graduating, Santiago and Chen founded Thatgamecompany — the developers of FlowFlower, and Journey.

Yoko Kanno

Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, arranger, and musician known for her work on the soundtracks on anime films, television series, live-action films, video games, and advertisements. She has written scores for Cowboy Bebop, Nobunaga’s Ambition, Uncharted Waters, and Ragnarok Online 2.

It’s inspiring to find more women working towards what they enjoy and love doing — especially in an industry that is undeniably dominated by men.

Although a certain collective of men in the industry sustain the misogynistic view that women aren’t fit for jobs like those mentioned above, it’s nice to see women gather around to support each other towards their dreams in life. Even if the game development industry doesn’t necessarily enable misogyny, the environment is still persistently male-dominated, making the push for gender equality a constant struggle.

Despite that, the community has grown and has shown support towards a more gender-diverse environment. After all, doing what you love and creating what you find fulfilling is not gender-bound.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Video Games of 2017

Gaming

Nintendo quietly updates the original Switch with a beefier battery

Will sell for the same price

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Last week, Nintendo announced the Nintendo Switch Lite. Compared to the original Switch, the upcoming Lite version will focus on handheld gaming. It will feature a smaller screen and non-detachable Joy-Con controllers. Sacrificing its home console capabilities, the Switch Lite will hopefully update Nintendo’s on-the-go gaming lineup.

Naturally, the Switch Lite leaves us with a burning question: what will happen to the original Switch? With a docking mode, the original Switch is still Nintendo’s number one choice for a home console. However, the Lite’s hype is leaving the original trailing in the dust. Thankfully, Nintendo is quietly launching an updated version of the beloved original.


In a few weeks, the gaming company will out a revised Switch. The new Switch will come with a beefier battery, reportedly packing around two more hours of battery life. The new battery will last between 4.5 to 9 hours, depending on the game. (For reference, the original battery plays between 2.5 to 6.5 hours.) According to tests, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can play for up to 5.5 hours on a full battery — up from a paltry three hours.

Much like the Switch Lite, the updated Switch is a huge boost for handheld gaming. Gamers can take their consoles out for longer periods of time. Of course, the update can still feature new hardware on launch. Besides a bigger battery, Nintendo can effectively increase battery life with more efficient chipsets and storage options.

All in all, the new Switch is still a mystery before its launch date. One thing’s for sure: it’s not a completely new Switch. This isn’t a Switch Pro. On launch, the new Switch will cost the same — US$ 300 — as the old Switch.

Besides the revised Switch, Nintendo is also launching the Switch Lite later this year. Also, the company is reportedly working on a gamier Switch Pro for the future. It’s a great time to buy into the Switch ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Nintendo reveals upcoming games for the Switch

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Gaming

The Nintendo Switch Lite is coming

For on-the-go gaming!

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It has long been rumored that Nintendo will launch a more affordable version of the Nintendo Switch and now, the company has more than confirmed that the rumors are true. Enter the Nintendo Switch Lite. It’s a smaller less featured-filled version of the hit console from Nintendo.

The Nintendo Switch Lite is smaller and lighter. It sports a 5.5-inch touch screen display against its big brother’s 6.2-inch display and is projected to last a little longer at three to seven hours of playtime.


The primary difference though is that it is a handheld only console. Which is why it doesn’t support Joy-Con controllers. It also doesn’t come with a Switch Dock. You can essentially play most titles available on the Switch, but there’s no option for you to play on a bigger screen.

Pricing and availability

The Nintendo Switch Lite will launch on September 20 and will retail for US$ 199.99. It will come in three colors: Yellow, Gray, and Turquoise. Are you gonna get one?

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Gaming

A non-Potterhead’s verdict on Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Use your phone, Harry!

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More than a week has passed since the global release of the mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and we’re ready to give our thoughts. As the title states, I’m not into the franchise that much although I’m a big Pokémon Go player. It basically has the same gameplay as they’re under the same developers — Niantic, Inc.

That being said, I won’t be diving too much on the lore and will instead focus more on gameplay and its overall experience.


For those unfamiliar, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a location-based AR game that requires you to go out of the house in order to get more experience points, unlock special items, and advance in the game. The same goes for Pokémon Go and the game before that, Ingress. While PoGo, in the real world, has PokéStops that give out PokéBalls, HP:WU has Inns that you get Spell Energy from. This is then required so you can cast spells and return Foundables to their rightful place and time (the game’s version of catching different Pokémon in the wild).

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ALSO READ: A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

During the first day of release and being curious as to how the game works, I went out and tried to “catch” as much Foundables as I can and just like PoGo, it gets you in the momentum of just wanting to go around and get as much as you can. I initially noticed the wider array of different “species” you can come across with on HP:WU as compared to when PoGo first launched. I remember all I did back then was to catch Pidgey and Rattata because that was pretty much everything that was available. This was also the main reason why most players quit back then.

You get to choose your house, profession, and design your wand

Back to Wizards Unite, the similarities it has with PoGo made it easy for me to get a grasp of its general gameplay even though I have no idea who most of the characters are. The idea is to basically level up by grinding for experience points in the most efficient way. This means planning where to go and making sure the place is populated by in-game stops and spawns — usually parks and shopping malls are good choices.

Comparison of HP:WU’s UI vs PoGo in the same area

While it parallels Niantic’s other games in many levels, Wizards Unite brings its own charm through its visuals. The environment of HP:WU is simply more immersive than PoGo‘s and even the encounters have more detail in them. It could get distracting at times since there are more elements in HP:WU, but is overall nicer to look at.

A unique aspect from the company’s games is that unlike other multiplayer games where you meet your friends online, you actually play with them in real life and this is also the case for Wizards Unite. These games basically build a community that helps each other accomplish in-game tasks that are usually challenging to accomplish alone. What HP:WU did better, though, is to go for a more immersive gameplay by making you trace different patterns on your screen as if waving your wand as compared to the tapping mechanics of PoGo.

Overall, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite could be a more enjoyable game for some players who are not big fans of the Pokémon franchise. I personally enjoy it enough to switch between HP:WU and PoGo whenever I play out. It will keep you walking around drawing on your screen and pretending to wave your make-believe wand.

It’s a game that’s far more complete than Pokémon Go at launch, that’s for sure. Although, it’s still far from reaching its full potential since there are things that could still be added to the game like a dueling system, for example.

If you want to try the game and get some cardio while casting spells, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is available on Google Play and the App Store.

 

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