Three stories about the influance of women on games
It's International Women's Day, and this year, we've decided to salute three women whose innovation and action allowed our beloved industry to exist and grow.
First, we must honor and salute Ada Lovelace. Without her, we wouldn't have computer programming, not to mention computer games.
Ada was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the mathematician Annabelle Noel Byron. Growing up with these monumental characters as parents, Ada couldn't be anything but special.
In 1842, when she was 27 years old, Ada was working with Charles Babbage (who created the concept of a "digital programmable computer") on a paper produced by Luigi Menabrea (an Italian engineer who later became a Prime Minister of Italy).
The paper was based on the work of Babbage and elaborated on the use of these conceptual machines.
One of the notes Ada created for that work was a note known today as "Note G." This note is the very FIRST published computer algorithm, making Ada the first computer programmer!
Not only that, but her entire corpus of notes on the work of Babbage has been recognized as the description for the computer and software.
Her genius perceived the potential of a device that can do far more than "number crunching." She wrote, "The Analytical Engine] might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should also be susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine...Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."
So let us raise the first glass to the first programmer in history.
The second woman we want to salute is Hedy Lamarr. Search her name, and you will learn she was an actress, and you'll probably ask yourself what she has to do with anything related to computers, or games, or anything tech? Well, Hedy was indeed an actress and a film producer,
Until World War II.
At the beginning of WW2, Lamarr developed a radio guidance system using a frequency-hopping spread spectrum for the allied torpedoes. The navy used the invention to defeat the jamming done by the Axis power.
Also, she helped the entrepreneur Howard Hughes to improve aircraft aerodynamics.
Impressive, but what does that to do with anything related to games?
Well, if you're enjoying WiFi to play games on your mobile, you should thank Lamarr because that technology is based on spread-spectrum techniques.
So, yes, we owe our ability to play and use our phones to an actress and a brilliant inventor.
Let us raise the second glass to the mother of the WiFi.
Last, let's talk about Carol Kantor.
She's one of the first women to be part of game development, back in 1973.
Kantor got her break at Atari, where she got her Job by winning a bet.
She made the bet with then VP of Atari, Gene Lipkin. The bet? She will be able to tell within six months which upcoming game by Atari is going to do better by using a new cool thing called - Market Research. If she would be right, he will have to take her to work on Atari full time.
She did, and he did.
Kantor approached Atari after already proving herself as a market researcher for The Clorox Company. She learned Business Statistics, and she minored in Computer Science but had little to do with games.
Until she foresaw the bright future games could have.
She dove fast and deep into the, then, small industry and learned what she could. She learned about development, distribution, and operation and used that to win her bet. Kantor became the FIRST user researcher in video game history. Not only carving a place for women but creating a crucial role in the industry.
We raise the 3rd glass to the woman who made the gamers' voices be heard loud and clear.
These three stories reveal how influential and crucial women were and are for the industry.
As a company that seeks out the best people it can bring in, we are proud of our inclusive culture and for having fantastic, creative, strong female leads throughout our studios.
We raise our last galss in your honor.