Microsoft's Women in Gaming awards are a fixture every year at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. This year is the sixth time the awards have been given, and Australians feature prominently, making up three of the fourteen nominees. This is similar to the performance of our independent game studios at another set of GDC awards, as reported here last week.
There are three award categories, and one Australian has been nominated in each. These are as follows:
Rising Star - This is an award that recognises a relatively new arrival in the video game space, but who has made a disproportionately large impression with their talent and passion. Anna Tito is our local nominee, a young programmer and artist who has been part of the Brisbane and Melbourne indie scenes, but is currently working for San Francisco-based KIXEYE.
Innovator Award - This award highlights the technical work being done by an established member of the game creation community. Siobhan Reddy has been nominated for her work at Media Molecule, the UK studio that she co-founded, and which created Little Big Planet and and Tearaway. Before this she worked for many years at Criterion Games, the studio that created the popular Burnout driving series.
Ambassador Award - Finally, this is an award that recognises the work being done to promote video games in the community, and Melbourne's Giselle Rosman is our nominee. You may remember Rosman being interviewed last year on Screen Play for her organisation of the Melbourne contingent of Global Game Jam, and that is just one of the many things she does. She also runs the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) in Melbourne, and works tirelessly to promote locally-made independent games.
The other nominees in each category indicate just how much of a compliment it is to be recognised, with Feminist Frequency's Anita Sarkeesian, senior animator at Ubisoft Betina Marquis, game producer at Halo 4 creator 343 Industries Olga Zinoveva, and co-creator of Journey at That Game Company Robin Hunicke all given the nod, among many others.
"These awards are an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments of women in gaming by the community that may otherwise go unnoticed," Karen Randhawa, organiser of the event, told Gamasutra. "They provide recognition for individual contributions, but also allow us to celebrate the success as a collective."
I talked to Rosman about her nomination recently, and she spoke in glowing terms about how the effect of these kinds of awards is to raise the profile of female game creators and make them seem just a normal part of the games industry. "This kind of normalisation and acceptance encourages other young creative women to consider games as a channel for creative expression, and perhaps a career path," she said.
The award ceremony is taking place this morning, by Australian time, and I will update this article with further information when the winners are revealed.
: Winners have been announced, and Siobhan Reddy has received the Innovator Award. Robin Hunicke, previously of The Game Company where she worked on Journey with Jenova Chen, won the Ambasssador Award. The Rising Star went to Tamara Miner, technical project manager on League of Legends over at Riot Games. Congratulations to all of the winners.
- James "DexX" Dominguez
Screen Play is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez
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