Welcome to “She Builds Games,” where we talk to real developers about how they got into games, why they build games, and listen to all of their interesting stories. There aren’t enough women building games. A lot of the girls that I have talked to are concerned about the lack of other women in games, and are reluctant about getting in to the industry. This blog will talk to the hundreds of women in games to encourage the next generation of developers. Every week we’re going to post a new interview with an awesome female game developer. From indie game devs to AAA coders and designers, you’ll hear her story. We hope that “She Builds Games” will inspire developers to break the mold of what a game developer is today.
Who I am
I am Sarah Sexton, a Technical Evangelist from Microsoft based in Chicago, Illinois. I am focused on video game development, mobile app development, and cloud computing using Azure. I graduated with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Communications from Central Washington University.
I first started playing video games before I was 6 years old. I know this because my brother is two years older than me, he had a friend his age that lived across the street, and the mnemonic I used when learning my multiplication tables to remember that 8 x 8 = 64 was “two 8-year-old boys playing Nintendo 64.” Before that, I also distinctly remember the Super Nintendo entertainment system on which we spent hours playing Donkey Kong Country, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Star Fox, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and Tournament Fighters. I had a chain of GameBoy systems throughout my childhood, starting with the GameBoy Pocket, to the GameBoy Color, to the Advance, to the Advance SP.
“I love video games because I have the same experience that I have when I watch a movie that I love, or read a book that captures my imagination, but I am an active participant instead of a passive observer.” – Wil Wheaton, Actor, Writer, Producer
There are a hundred and one reasons I could list for why I love video games enough to make my own. I found my true friend group in college through our shared passion for games. Even though we all came from different backgrounds and experiences, we all arrived at playing games from different paths. The aspect of video games that fascinated me the most growing up was the sense of authorship and agency they gave me. When I saved the game in Pokémon, it didn’t feel like I was writing a file to memory; it felt like I was on my way to saving the world. That was my adventure, those were my Pokémon, raised from wildlings to warriors. The greatest of games are simple to learn, impossible to master. After playing games throughout my entire childhood, my inquisitive nature made me curious about what it took to build these games from scratch. It was easy to start learning how to make games once I chose to get my degree in Computer Science.
What’s Next: Amanda Lange
Next week we’ll be hearing from Microsoft’s Amanda Lange!
The “About” page of this blog has pages upon pages of evidence about the state of the tech industry today. It has solid, peer-reviewed studies, so no one who has the ability to read can say there isn’t a problem. It doesn’t mean that willfully ignorant people will deny facts when there’s clear evidence, but at least maybe, just maybe, this blog will impact the group of people that are paying attention.