The 10 Most Influential Women In Games Of The Past Decade

The 10 Most Influential Women In Games Of The Past Decade

Gaming Angel’s founder Trina Schwimmer’s list of women in games includes 10 people who have helped change the game industry from the inside. While it’s not all inclusive, it is a very sound list.

This is the time of the year where most sites are doing their top 10 lists about different subjects. Personally, I hate top 10 lists. If I’m going to do one, then it’s going to be about something I’m passionate about. Therefore, we have two top 10 list articles on Here we are looking at the 10 women that influenced the gaming industry in a big way over the last 10 years. This isn’t an all-inclusive list and I’d love for you to join in the conversation by including your nominees in the comments. The game industry is starting to see change and some of it is due to the women on this list paving the path. Here in random order, are 10 women that really changed the game industry over the last 10 years.

Lucy Bradshaw has to start the list with her work on the Sims beginning in the year 2000. Lucy and the Maxis team created a game that would be named the best selling PC game to date. The Sims is also credited for bringing more women into playing games. Lucy Bradshaw now leads the efforts of the Maxis team on the various Spore titles. She is an amazing speaker and is always pushing the industry forward.[imgclear]

Kim Swift took the game industry by storm with the much praised hit, Portal. Swift was hired by Valve after graduation and won many awards with a title that appealed to casual and the hardcore. Swift has now joined Airtight Games to assist with games aimed at a more diverse audience.[imgclear]

Jade Raymond was the producer on Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. While she had been a producer on previous titles including The Sims Online, Jade definitely had to put up with controversy from men that couldn’t get over her looks. Yes guys, it is possible to be gorgeous and talented.[imgclear]

Corrinne Yu is an amazing woman. She’s the principal programmer at Microsoft’s Halo team. I met her at a GDC Women in Games luncheon where she was rewarded for her work on the Halo series. She dresses like a rock star and talks about programming theory unlike anyone I know. Corrinne is an inspiration as we look at the problem of not enough women going into programming as a discipline.[imgclear]

Megan Gaiser is the President and CEO of Her Interactive. Through her work at Her Interactive, she has helped make intelligent games for the younger female audience. Her Interactive games create the Nancy Drew series of games that are very popular. Megan works hard in both talks and through her work at Her Interactive to get more girls interested in gaming both as a hobby and as a career.[imgclear]

Kellee Santiago is an amazing young woman from the Interactive Media program at USC. She is the president and co-founder of ThatGameCompany, a company that strives to create games that create an emotion in the player. Their first two games, flOw and Flower on the PlayStation 3 are not only beautiful but also appeal to a more diverse audience. During our interview with her at the Spike VGAs, it was great to see her passionate and excited about the future of ThatGameCompany. We look forward to Kellee pushing the boundaries of what we think about games.[imgclear]

Amy Hennig works as Naughty Dog as the Creative Director on Uncharted and Uncharted 2. Uncharted 2 is second in the top 20 ranked Playstation 3 games on Metacritic. Amy concentrates on story and actors and it shows. Uncharted 2 has some of the best voice acting of any game out there. It will be interesting to see how close to films that Amy and the Naughty Dog team can take video games.[imgclear]

Deborah Mars is the Managing Producer at SCEA Santa Monica Studio who worked on PSN title, Fat Princess. The title had early uproar from various websites because the game was built around the mechanic of feeding your princess cake so she would weigh more and be harder to kidnap. In the end, Deborah and her team proved that Fat Princess is an incredibly fun title.[imgclear]

Cammie Dunaway is the executive vice president of sales & marketing at Nintendo. As one of the most powerful people at Nintendo, she led the way to reach out to women gamers with the Nintendo DS and Wii. She has had a rough road being criticised for being too nice or even fake. I interviewed Cammie at the 2007 Women’s Conference and she was sweet but also very knowledgeable about the products available. She genuinely wants to see a more diverse audience enjoy gaming.[imgclear]

We end our list with a female that has taken community on the Xbox 360 to another level. Christa Phillips Charter, better known as Trixie360, was responsible for many community initiatives for the 360 that is what makes us feel at home on the 360. She organized Game with Fame nights, Community Spotlights, Gamer Spotlights, and created/founded GamerChix a place where female Xbox gamers can gather to talk about gaming. Christa has always made herself available to gamers. Her new title is Social Media Lead of Xbox LIVE and we can’t see where she takes Community and Games next![imgclear]

I hope you enjoyed our list and I’d love to hear who you think should be on the list. We didn’t include the wonderful women that run amazing communities or clans, but they definitely could be here as well. I’d like to thank Robin Yang for working with me on ideas for this list. Here’s to another 10 years of greatness from women in games!

Reprinted with permission from

If you ask Trina, she was born a geek girl at heart. Starting with the Atari 2600, Trina was quickly hooked. By eight she was programming games in Basic and starting her collection of comic books. Trina created a female-based guild for Phantasy Star Online. This started the idea of what a place on the web for women gamers would look like. was born in 2003 as a video game cosplay site and transformed in 2006 to an online gaming community. Today is more than just gaming. With the help of her team, Trina has created a community where women that love all things geek can speak freely about their hobby.

Trina has appeared on panels and been interviewed about her strong opinions about women in gaming and technology fields. If she’s not working on, she might be cheering on the Vikings, playing videogames or reading Twitter.

Find her on Xbox Live with Gamertag, GamingAngel or on Twitter as GamingAngel.


  • I remember seeing an interview with Cammie Dunaway on my E3 2006 DVD (it’s a shame they don’t make E3 into a DVD set anymore). But yeah she was totally knowledgeable, obviously not only about Nintendo, but she knew the ins and outs of E3, the interviewers quizzed her on the construction schedule of the Nintendo booths, and you could tell she knew what she was talking about. All this is made even stranger by the fact that she looks like the perfect housewife/politician, yet she talks like a gamer.

  • This parallels women’s sport on TV. The only woman in thsi list that I’ve heard of this year was Jade Raymond, and that was only in an interview with the people that worked on AC II. Only popular game devs and high-profile people in the games industry get interviews and publicity. I may be wrong, but I just don’t see features on little know people and women in the industry.

    Still, interesting read, and kudos to those who helped shape the games industry this year.

  • …Lol, the only one I’ve heard of is Jade Raymond… and other than being a producer at a generic studio who got a bit of publicity, what influence has she really made? These people are hardly influential… Corinne Yu is on there just for being a female programmer? Two entries have only worked on casual DLC titles…? Kim Swift took the gaming industry by storm by… being on the development team for portal??!?!? If she’s “influential”, Gabe Newell is an omnipotent super being. All I see on this list is women with jobs that aren’t usually inhabited by women…

  • I’ve only heard of Cammie, but that’s because N-Gamer talk about her and Reggie all the time. It’s a pity that no one seems to give a toss about the female gamers, I think that when a company is interviewed they should have both males and females talking and each one can give a varied perspective.

  • Kim Swift is awesome. Hearing her talk about designing games gives me hope for the future of the industry when faced with all the bland fluff that comes out of other companies.

    lul Jade Raymond. I remember when Assassin’s Creed came out, I think she was written about more than the game itself… the media eg Kotaku couldn’t get enough of her. I don’t know if she played them that way to get more attention for herself/AC, but it certainly worked.

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