Clint Hocking, a LucasArts creative director, wrote an op-ed in 2011 about the state of male dominated games development, which he compared to “viking culture”. He reflected that due to the lack of female talent in studios, game development suffers because it doesn’t represent a full spectrum of the gaming society. Quinn Dunki of One Girl, One Laptop Productions argued that Hocking made the issue sound like the “‘male standard” is the “ideal” one. In other words, it would be better if women “fit in” with the male dominated industry and continued to work on “male dominated” games rather than have a balance.

Dunki quoted from…

“I like the sentiment, but framing the debate this way is an aspect of the problem. The only way women are going to be comfortable in the industry is knowing that people don’t care about gender. Really the worst compliment you can hear in this business is when someone says, ‘She’s just like one of the guys.’ That sets the male standard as the ideal. Making an issue of gender IS the issue. We need to get past that. Strive to be the pure meritocracy that most people agree we should have. If you’re a man in a power position, that means keeping a critical eye on your own internal biases, and make extra effort to be fair.

This is bigger than an industry problem. The outreach needs to go down to the middle school levels. That’s where the research shows girls stop studying math and science due to pressures from peers and other sources. The only difference between me and my math-inclined, game-loving friend who does advanced needlepoint instead of engineering is that she succumbed to the peer pressure. Fix this problem, and everything else will come out in the wash in a generation or two.

In the meantime, the best thing we can do is provide role models. If you’re a female engineer or scientist, put yourself out there. Give young girls someone they can look at and say, ‘hey, I can do that too!'”