Celebrating Computing Women Part X

Good morning! Here is the latest post highlighting the achievements of women in the world of computers. Our thanks to Heather Elizabeth Ross for providing these portraits.

Brenda Laurel

Brenda Laurel’s life mission has been to explore how humans interact with computers and the benefits derived from it. She began utilizing games for her work in the early 1980s as a member of Atari’s research team and Manager of Software Strategy. In 1987 she co-produced the educational, medical sim game Laser Surgeon: The Microscopic Mission, a virtual look at the techniques of brain surgery. In the 1990s, Laurel continued her work as a leader in virtual reality research and development with her company, Telepresence, and co-founded one of the first software companies to specialize in developing games for girls, Purple Moon. Brenda Laurel is currently a consultant, professor and speaker, teaching 2D and 3D interaction design.

Amy Briggs (1962- )

Amy Briggs graduated from Macalester College in 1984 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I n 1983, Amy Briggs worked at the text game adventure company Infocom as a tester. Briggs’ strong writing skills and outgoing nature were instrumental in getting the opportunity to develop a text adventure romance game for girls, Plundered Hearts. After writing and designing Hearts, Amy co-wrote Gamma Force: Pit of a Thousand Screams and co-designed portions of Zork Zero. Amy Briggs left the gaming industry in 1987and pursued a graduate degree in cognitive psychology. Briggs works for 3M as a human factors engineer, is a cognitive psychologist, and continues to write.

Brenda Brathwaite

Brenda Brathwaite entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She worked with Sir-tech Software for 18 years on the Wizardry series and the Jagged Alliance series among others, then worked with Atari on Dungeons & Dragons. After Atari, Brathwaite worked with Electronic Arts, Cyberlore, Firaxis and various social media companies. She served on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) until July 2010. Braithwaite has been a system designer, writer, level designer, world designer, lead designer and creative director. At present she is the both the co-founder and COO at Loot Drop as well as a game designer. She is currently on the advisory board for the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play and the advisory board for Game Developer Magazine. She was named one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation Magazine in 2007 and one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by Gamasutra.com in 2008. Brathwaite’s game, Train won the Vanguard Award at IndieCade in 2009 for “pushing the boundaries of game design and showing us what games can do.” She was named Woman of the Year by Charisma+2 magazine in 2010 and was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design awards.

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