Women In Games Vancouver

Happy Holidays from WIGeh

Posted on | December 18, 2013 | No Comments


Panel Discussion and Networking Event Sept. 12th.

Posted on | August 28, 2012 | No Comments

Come out to EA Burnaby on September 12th for our panel discussion and networking event. RSVP at our meetup group.

WIGeh Event Image

Rescuing the Game Industry: Women and Children First?

Is the reign of the 18-35 male gamer coming to an end? Maybe. The explosive growth of social and casual gaming has predominantly been fueled by female players in their 40s. As more and more game developers actively target women and young children, we’re seeing an expansion of what games are and can be. Our panelists will discuss the ways they are making games more accessible to everyone. How do you appeal to first-time female gamers? How do you create family friendly games? What types of gameplay and content do they need for these broader audiences? And what lessons have they learned from developing games with these new gamers in mind?

An all female panel with game expertise spanning development, research and marketing, this panel discussion will explore the ways the game industry is broadening its appeal.

Panel Moderator:

Jennifer Donahoe, Senior Marketing Manager and Brand Development, Play4Free, EA, San Francisco

Panel participants:

Megan Gaiser, Chief Creative Strategy Officer and former CEO of Her Interactive, Seattle

Jennifer Brandes Hepler, Senior Writer, Bioware, Edmonton

Robin Hunicke, Producer, Glitch Interactive (formerly of thatgamecompany and Senior Producer of Journey) San Francisco

Jennifer Jenson, Professor, Pedagogy and Technology, York University, Toronto

Sandy Spangler, Design Director, Acronym Games, Vancouver

Evenings Schedule
5:30 – Registration and networking with refreshments
6:30 – 8:00 – Panel
8:00 – 9:00 – Mingling, networking, refreshments, engaging discussion

Panelist Biographies:

Jen Donahoe has been in marketing for over 16 years, spanning toy, entertainment, and video game industries.  She began her career at Hasbro toy company, and in her 5 years at Hasbro, she developed an expertise in product and web marketing on such brands as Star Wars, Transformers and G.I. Joe.  Her next 6 years were spent at Disney consumer products in the toy group doing licensing, brand management, and retail marketing, working on all Disney and Pixar movies such as Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo and Disney Princesses.  Jen then took an opportunity to join the board game company, Cranium, where she was able to test the waters for taking the brand into toys. In 2007, she moved into the video game industry, joining EA and marrying her knowledge of the toy industry with her childhood passion for games. In January 2012, Jen transitioned into the EA Games label to head up marketing for the emerging all-digital F2P business unit at EA called Play4Free. Jen is passionate about being “Yoda” to the next generation of marketers and in helping game developers make the right game for the right consumers.

Jen Jenson is a Professor at York University in Toronto, Canada. She has done the usual academic publishing of stuff, including on topics like educational game design and gender and gameplay. She and various teams of folks have made a number of games focused on contagious disease, as well as a music game and most recently a kind of matching game for the iPad and iPhone. She and colleagues have recently begun a network, Feminists in Games (FiG), supported with Canadian government funding to study and address the ongoing paucity of women in the games industry, among other objectives

Robin Hunicke is a Game Designer, Producer and passionate advocate of Experimental Gameplay.  Her titles include the bestselling downloadable PSN title Journey, as well as family-friendly franchises like MySims and Steven Spielberg’s BOOM BLOX for Nintendo Wii. She is currently working at Tiny Speck, on the whimsical, friendly online game Glitch. An artist and computer scientist by training, Robin’s goal is to bring positive, new and unexpected gaming experiences to the public. Through her public speaking, volunteer work and academic studies, she evangelizes fresh, broadly-accessible ideas, sustainable work practices and increased diversity in our industry.

Jennifer Brandes Hepler got her start in pen-and-paper RPGs, writing supplements for “Shadowrun,” “Paranoia,” “Earthdawn,” and “Legend of the Five Rings.” After doing some hard time in Hollywood, working on CBS television’s “The Agency,” she returned to her gaming roots by joining Bioware as a writer on the Dragon Age franchise. She has written for “Dragon Age: Origins,” “Dragon Age II” and several DLCs, as well as spending two years writing for “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” She is best known for her writing on the female-targeted romance characters, Anders and Corso Riggs, and has been an outspoken proponent of making games more friendly to casual and non-traditional players.

Sandy Spangler joined the games industry back in 1994 creating art and animation for an array of award-winning kids’ games at Seattle-based Humongous Entertainment, starring beloved characters such as Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam. Gradually shifting from art to game design, she eventually moved to London and joined Elixir Studios to work on an unpublished project aimed at the casual SIMS market. She then spent over three years at Sony’s London Studio exploring new ways to interface with games using the EyeToy and Playstation Eye cameras including body motion, colour tracking, and augmented reality.

More recently she has been with Vancouver’s A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games as the Studio Design Director, working on a variety of projects including the mid-core free-to-play MMO “Family Guy Online” and the family game “Wipeout: The Game” for the Wii which has sold over two million copies. She is always striving to create game experiences which appeal to new and broader audiences, and loves discovering new ways to play.

Megan Gaiser is Chief Creative Strategy Officer and former CEO of Her Interactive and sets creative direction, brand and portfolio expansion and cultivates strategic partnerships. Under her stewardship, Her Interactive (HI) has grown from a boutique company to an emerging competitor with the globally-loved Nancy Drew franchise games sales topping 9 million units world-wide. The Nancy Drew PC franchise is the #1 in the U.S. six years running. Her Interactive has garnered 24 consecutive Parents’ Choice Awards. Megan has been named one of the “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” by Next Generation and “Top 10 Most Influential Women of the Decade” by Gaming Angels. She also received the 2010 Microsoft Women in Games award and the 2011 IndieCade Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Digital marketing conference coming to Vancouver

Posted on | November 28, 2011 | No Comments

Meshwest has kindly offered us the use of the discount code mesh10off to get 10% off the purchase price at meshwest.ca. The conference touches down in False Creek, Vancouver on Monday, December 5th.

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Nov. 21, 2011) – How is the Web changing the business, marketing, social media and political landscapes? For insight from some of the leading thinkers, meshwest Vancouver is the place to be.

meshwest: a one-day event on Dec. 5 at the Salt Building in Vancouver, provides perspective and information from some of the most innovative minds in digital marketing to embrace and capitalize on emerging trends, tools, and companies.

“We’re excited about bringing meshwest to Vancouver,” said Mark Evans, one of meshwest’s co-founders and principal with ME Consulting. “meshwest is going to be a great day of conversation, connecting and networking.”

Tickets are on sale now for $289, as well as a small number of tickets for students for $49. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.meshwest.ca.

Keynote speakers at meshwest include:

Stewart Butterfield: co-founder of the gaming startup Tiny Speck, whose debut title is an ambitious massively multiplayer online game called Glitch. Glitch hopes to revolutionize online gaming the same way Flickr revolutionized online photo sharing. Butterfield has been nominated for the Chrysler Design Award, and has been named a Best Leader by Business Week, and one of the Top 35 Innovators Under 35 by MIT.

Erik Blachford: A key player in the growth of Expedia, Erik led the creation of the brand as senior vice president of marketing becoming president of Expedia North America, and then president and CEO. Since 2005, Erik has been active within the startup ranks, serving as executive chairman of TerraPass, a leading retailer of carbon offsets, consumer energy efficiency products, and green gifts.

Janice Diner: Janice is a social media strategist with a creative director background. A leader in the arena, Janice and her team have conceived, developed and executed social media programs and technologies for such brands as TSN, BlackBerry, TD Canada Trust, PlayStation, Intel and Hershey. Currently Janice heads up Horizon Studios helping clients socialize their brands, empower customer engagement and bring communities to life across the social media space.

Mark Johnson: Currently CEO of Zite, which is changing the way people browse the web on their iPads by learning what you like and dislike. Before joining Zite as CEO, Mark was a product manager who trained at SAP before he plunged into three successful search startups: SideStep (acquired by Kayak for $180 million in 2007), Kosmix (acquired by Walmart in April 2011), and Powerset (acquired by Microsoft in July 2008).

Elijah van der Giessen: Eli is a project manager and whipper-of-troops. As the Creative Services Lead at the David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org), Eli leads the online acquisition and outreach work, and has helped the foundation create an online constituency. He also uses his experience in event production and volunteer management to connect web innovators with nonprofit campaigners so they can learn from each other.

@meshcon / #meshwest

Interview with Paige Meekison, Producer at Slant Six Games

Posted on | September 12, 2011 | No Comments

WIGeh: What is your current position and where?

P: Producer at Slant Six Games, working on Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.

WIGeh: What drew you to work in the game industry?

P: I got into games because I’ve been playing them for ages – I used to sneak into my brother’s bedroom when I was little to play his Atari 2600 and Commodore 64. However I never really saw it as a viable career until around 2002 when I started playing a mod online persistent world built in the Neverwinter Nights engine and was asked to join the volunteer staff to help out. Since the whole show was voluntary, people on the team would come and go and often the players would need something that nobody on staff would know how to provide, so I’d do some research and learn how to do it myself. Through several years of working on that project I did scripting, community management, level design, game balance design and learned a bunch of team management techniques. While working on that project, I got to thinking that maybe I could actually do some of these things for a salary instead of for free.

WIGeh: Did you take courses to specifically prepare you for this career?

P: When I figured out that I wanted to work in game production, I took a project management certificate for a general skills upgrade. Later when I was an Associate Producer, I got my Scrum Master certification for Agile development.

WIGeh: How did you get your first job in the industry?

P: I started to look around, sending my resume to studios around Vancouver. Outside of my son’s kindergarten class one day, I was chatting with one of the other parents that I was thinking about getting into computer games, when she said “You should talk to Louise. Her husband works in games.” So I approached her and got her husband’s contact information, sent him an email with my resume attached, asking if I could buy him the beverage of his choice and discuss how to break into the industry. His reply was “You should come down and see us”, so we went out to lunch. We chatted about the projects they were working on at the studio and my own experiences, and then went back to the studio to geek out with some of the games they were developing. It turned out they were looking for production help just then, and the guy I was asking for advice was actually the Executive Producer at the studio. I met with their HR person and in a couple of weeks was offered the job.

WIGeh: What is your career background?

P: I have a rather quirky resume. I paid my tuition for my Astronomy degree at UBC by working in the Canadian Navy as a Reserve officer. Together with learning leadership strategies and how to solve problems during crisis situations, I developed skills to motivate myself through stressful periods, all of which can come in handy during the development cycle. I had a great deal of examples of the kinds of leader I didn’t want to be!

WIGeh: Greatest challenge in your game career?

P: As a full time single mom, the biggest challenge has to be balancing a highly demanding job with parenting my two teenaged kids. By necessity the two sometimes blend and I wind up project managing my kids by keeping a close handle on our family schedule and delegating tasks to them to start dinner and other chores before I arrive home from work. This saves us some time so we all can relax together and catch up on the day. A real example of teamwork! This is especially challenging during crunch time when I don’t want to short change my kids or let my team down. It’s a constant friction on both sides.

WIGeh: What was your most satisfying moment?

P: This is really hard to pick since there’s not just one shining moment above all others. Two really stand out: when I know I’ve sorted out a problem on the team that helps them collaborate and create amazing things together and when a game I’ve worked on launches and I know people are enjoying it.

WIGeh: What is your favourite shipped title to work on thus far?

P: I thought about this one a long time and I keep coming back to my voluntary project, the Neverwinter Nights-based online world we called Twilight Legacy. Developing the game taught me so much about teamwork, about player behaviour, about game design, about making sacrifices just to hear the delighted feedback of people enjoying your work. There was a tight sense of community we nurtured between the staff and the players, and I’m still friends with many of them today. You might argue that the game wasn’t “shipped” since no one made any money from it, but it was a wonderful piece of interactive entertainment that we kept running for about 9 years and even recently people have told me it is still their favourite gaming experience.

WIGeh: What is your favourite game that you didn’t work on?

P: Ultima Online – I was a beta tester and played for 7 years.

WIGeh: What is your best advice for those considering a career in the industry?

P: It’s true for all industries actually but great things can happen if you build on what you know you love doing. If you don’t have a great passion for the work, you’ll have a great deal of difficulty being successful. Ask questions, keep evolving, be yourself.

WIGeh: Favourite aspect of working in this industry?

P: Working with highly intelligent and creative people who understand my obscure geek references.

Inaugural European Women In Games Hall of Fame Awards Announced

Posted on | September 6, 2011 | No Comments

Women in Games Jobs has announced that the inaugural European Women in Games Hall of Fame awards will be launched at the European Women in Games Conference taking place on September 22nd at the NH Harrington Hall Hotel, Gloucester Road in London, England. These awards are sponsored by Electronic Arts and honour the contribution of women to the European games industry.

“The Hall of Fame seeks to highlight the significant contribution of women to the games industry as well as promote role models to those women considering working in games,” said Alison Cressey, Entertainment Industry Consultant and WIGJ Advisory Board member. “Voted on by over 2500 peers in the Women in Games Jobs network, we hope this will become an annual event.”

Ginger Graham, Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Electronic Arts commented that “EA is proud to sponsor the WIGJ Hall of Fame award for 2011.  We know that without the strength of the women in our industry, we would lack the necessary diversity of thought to be as innovative, creative and inspired as we have become. EA applauds the nominees and those who will be a part of the future of gaming.”

Nominees shortlisted for the inaugural Hall of Fame award in 2011 are:

  • Dr. Linda Breitlauch, Professor of Games Design, Media Design University of Applies Sciences
  • Frederique Doumic, CEO at OUAT Entertainment
  • Louise Murray, Head of Fable Franchise at Lionhead Studios
  • Siobhan Reddy, Studio Director at Media Molecule
  • Fiona Sperry, Studio Director and VP, Criterion Games

Over 80 women have so far registered for this must attend event for women seeking to further their career or enter into the video games industry. Tickets are still available online.

Fiona Sperry and Andrew Tilling to keynote European Women in Games Conference in September

Posted on | August 4, 2011 | No Comments

WIGJWomen In Games Jobs is delighted to announce Fiona Sperry, Studio Director and VP, EA Criterion Games and Professional Career Coach, Andrew Tilling of Preseli Partnerships are to keynote the European Women in Games Conference taking place on September 22nd at the NH Harrington Hall Hotel, Gloucester Road, London.

“This year’s conference is focused on career development and will reveal some secrets of success from the very best speakers working in this creative industry” said David Smith, founder of Women in Games Jobs. “We hope both Fiona and Andrew will inspire those attending – helping us to recruit into and retain more women in this male dominated video games industry.”

Fiona Sperry’s insights will be shared in her talk How to drive on the wrong side of the road – a career in games development.” While Andrew Tilling, with over 20 years’ experience in helping people use creative thinking to expand their level of influence and make a real difference, will focus on “How to move your career forward – knowing what you want is often the first step to getting ahead, but what comes next?”

This is a must attend event for women seeking to further their career or enter into the video games industry. To register visit http://wigconference2011.eventbrite.com/ for your early bird discounted ticket.

Women In Games Jobs Networking Lunch At Develop 2011

Posted on | July 18, 2011 | No Comments

WIGJEA’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Unit has kindly agreed to sponsor the Women in Games Jobs (WIGJ) Networking Lunch taking place during Develop 2011 in Brighton, UK. Over 50 women have committed to attend the Women in Games Jobs lunch so far. Existing and prospective members of the Women in Games Jobs group who are going to Develop or live and work in reach of Brighton are invited to this free lunch and to benefit from an opportunity to network with other women working or planning to work in the games industry.ea

Ginger Graham, Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager at EA’s Redwood Shores commented that “EA knows the importance of reaching and supporting top talent on a global scale. We are very proud to sponsor the Women in Games Jobs luncheon which will provide an intimate venue for collaboration, networking and sharing best practices.”

David Smith, Founder of Women in Games Jobs said, “we welcome Electronic Arts as sponsor of our lunch at Develop. EA is serious about making a difference to the gender imbalance that many feel exist in this industry and this sponsorship will help us to recruit into and retain more women in the video games industry.”

Up to 30 places still remain which are being offered to women in games on a first come, first served basis. This event is by ticket only requiring attendees to pre-register.

WIGeh June Martini Night

Posted on | June 20, 2011 | No Comments

Title: WIGeh June Martini Night
Location: Guilt & Company

Come in and say hello to other women working in games!

RSVP to our Facebook event

We are also looking for volunteers for future events and event ideas, so this is a good way of getting more involved with WIG Vancouver.

– The entrance to Guilt and Co. is downstairs (Chill Winston is upstairs).
– You don’t have to be working in games already to attend. If you are looking to get into the industry, there will be lots of attendees who will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-06-23
End Time: 22:00

Blood Orange Martinis

Sippin' and socializing among the ladies... who could ask for a better night out?

The Art of Lighting and Rendering Rio

Posted on | June 10, 2011 | No Comments

The Art of Lighting and Rendering Rio Flyer

WIGeh Monthly Martini Night

Posted on | April 21, 2011 | No Comments

Title: WIGeh Monthly Martini Night
Location: Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar
Link out: Click here
Description: Fourth monthly Women In Games Vancouver Martini Night
Come out and meet your peers!

Please note that like our other Martini Night Events, this is a “Women Only” gathering.
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2011-05-10 –> This event has been rescheduled to 5/10 to avoid overlap with Canucks games.
End Time: 22:00

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