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GameChangeHers

© MEGAN GAISER, Chief Creative Strategy Officer, Her Interactive Inc.

I want you to remember three things: IGNORE THE NAY SAYERS, TAKE RISKS and BUCK THE SYSTEM.

When I joined the gaming industry 17 years ago, there was no market for female gamers because this is what the publishers thought of us:

© HerInteractive

© HerInteractive

Although there were some good games out there, the general perception was that computer games were frivolous, violent, and anti-social. The oversight of thinking about girls and women as customers and content creators led to lack of diversity in stories.

Coming from a film background, I saw things a little differently. I believed that new ideas and transformative content can come from the union of the “what” (technical) and the “how” (story). The creative collaboration between inspired people using their diverse technical, and creative, skills to create a coherent vision. So, after the publishers claimed games were only for males, at Her Interactive® we defied conventional wisdom and created our first Nancy Drew game.

Those same people told us:

© HerInteractive

© HerInteractive

So, we ended up making un-pink games — and they came.

What was our innovation that resulted in inspiring content? We knew what our audience wanted. We took the technology that had been primarily used for action-oriented, superficial experiences and brought together a strong female role model with storytelling, cultural discovery, problem-solving, wit, and humor.

In the last several years, something remarkable has happened:

© HerInteractive

© HerInteractive

Women are the key to this success not only as customers but as creators.

Let’s seize this precious opportunity to positively innovate the gaming business and the content of games. Let’s teach our girls to become creators.

As organizations like SMART Girls, Reel Grrls, and Girls who Code are inspiring girls with technology, all of us need to collaborate with each other to add balance and build new kinds of companies.

As for content, with more women in key roles, we will design many more powerful female role models to inspire our girls to lead and take risks. As Geena Davis says in her work to create more female characters in film and TV, “If a girl can see it, she can be it.” And let’s not forget, how we portray females can also shapes boys’ perceptions of women for a lifetime.

The “if we build it they will come days are over.” We need to unite collectively, across the technical mediums to increase the voice, the power, and the influence of girls and women. Let’s broaden our imaginations to focus on innovation as a process of BOTH the technology and the inspired content. A new process of creative collaboration incorporating feminine principles will build a significantly better tomorrow.

As a result, we will witness on a worldwide scale life-changing, heartfelt content; the direct result of girls and women driving game creation to help us use this powerful art form to enhance human potential.

In whatever role we choose to play, let’s partner to positively transform our hearts, our minds, and our world.

_________

Megan Gaiser, Her InteractiveThis article was excerpted from Megan Gaiser’s presentation at the Women in Innovation 2012 conference held in Seattle on September 22, 2012. No surprise, innovation is second nature to Megan Gaiser. Named one of the “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” by Next Generation and a “Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Decade” by Gaming Angels, Gaiser consistently brings her creative brilliance to Her Interactive Inc.  As the Chief Creative Strategy Officer (CCSO), Gaiser has helped to grow Her Interactive from a boutique company to an emerging competitor with millions of product sold. The Nancy Drew PC franchise is the #1 in the U.S. six years running and Her Interactive has garnered 24 consecutive Parents’ Choice Awards. Gaiser also received the 2010 Microsoft Women in Games award and the 2011 IndieCade Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement.

One comment on “GameChangeHers

  1. theyoungvagabond
    October 30, 2012

    Reblogged this on The Young Vagabond.

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