Gamergate and the war on women in tech: Brianna Wu speaks at Waterloo
Expert game developer comes to campus to talk about how the gaming industry became so hostile to women and how we can fix it
Expert game developer comes to campus to talk about how the gaming industry became so hostile to women and how we can fix itBy Heather Bean University Relations
Brianna Wu is an expert game developer. But she’s also an expert in sexism in the gaming industry and she’s coming to the University of Waterloo to talk about it.
Wu is cofounder and lead developer at Giant Spacekat, a Boston-based indie game design studio. After posting tweets about the controversy surrounding the hate group #GamerGate in 2014, Wu became a major target of the group. Since then, she has dealt with rape and death threats and at one point, Wu and her husband had to flee their home when their address was posted in death threats on Twitter.
But GamerGaters haven’t silenced her. Now, along with developing, blogging and podcasting about games, Wu spends a lot of her time writing and giving talks about the online harassment faced by so many women who work in technology, especially gaming.
“What I love about Brianna is that she doesn't pull punches when describing what some of her experiences have been like. Yet, she remains, at the core, a positive person,” says Computer Science Professor Joanne Atlee, director of the Women in Computer Science group at Waterloo. ‘She loves what she does, and she encourages other women to follow their passion into the gaming industry. Women gamers have each others' backs.”
Atlee is also the HeForShe advocate for the Faculty of Mathematics.
Wu’s talk - Gamergate and the War on Women in Tech -will take place on November 2 from 3:30-5 p.m. in Room 0101 of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. Gaming Institute members can also meet Wu at a fireside chat in the Collaboration Space from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Please register to attend the talk. Games Institute members can register for the fireside chat. If you aren’t a Games Institute member but would like to attend the fireside chat please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wu grew up playing Nintendo in Mississippi, tinkered with the Net Yaroze Nintendo development kit as a kid, and started her first studio at age 19. Now with cofounder Amanda Stenquist Warner, she heads one of the few women-led game development studios. Their flagship game, Revolution 60 for iPad, features an all-female cast. She’s written about the different choices you make—and the talent you can unleash—when your business decisions take into account women’s life paths and experiences. And she makes sure 50 percent of her game testers are women—because almost 50 percent of gamers are women.