Video Games Belong In The Kitchen!

, , , , | Working | October 3, 2017

(I’m a woman, working for a video game publishing company that also publishes smaller games by indie creators. I’ve actually worked in the industry for almost ten years, and I get along great with all my colleagues, who are mostly male. We’re in a video conference call with a young developer who is pitching us his first game. Everyone in this call, except for me, is a guy.)

Boss: “We’ve all had a chance to look over your packet, and we think it looks pretty promising, though we’ll have to play the prototype to be really sure.”

Developer: “Ah, I have that uploaded to your FTP server.”

Coworker #1: “Great. We’ll all give it a try and get back to you with feedback.”

Me: “I’m excited to check this out; I love this type of game.”

Developer: “Oh.” *looks visibly uncomfortable onscreen* “[Boss], I didn’t know… she would be playing. Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

Boss: “Uh, yeah. Why?”

Developer: “Well, I mean, she’s… she’s a… g… ” *trails off*

(It seems to dawn on everybody at once that he’s uncomfortable with me testing his game because I’m a woman.)

Coworker #2: *sputtering* “What? Wh… WHAT?”

Boss: *looking furious* “Yeah, well, don’t worry; when it comes to her feedback, I’ll be sure to have it read to you in a deeper voice so you can understand it! If you’re lucky enough to hear back from us!” *slaps laptop case shut, ending the call*

(My boss and all my coworkers are angrier than I’ve ever seen them, probably angrier than I am.)

Me: “Okay, let’s all calm down. I agree that was pretty gross, but… I don’t know, he’s pretty young. Maybe this can be a teachable moment and he can have a chance to redeem himself?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, but then we’d have to time-travel back to the 1950s to work with him. UGH.”

Boss: “I do NOT want somebody like that representing us! I don’t even want to talk about it right now.”

(We did NOT end up working with that kid. I felt a little bad for him, in spite of everything, but also grateful that I worked with such awesome people who had my back. To his credit, he did send me a private e-mail about a year later apologizing for his behaviour, saying we were right to turn him down because it made him think about some prejudices he had, not just about women but other people as well. I accepted his apology, and I hope the rest of his life is a lot more fruitful… and less ignorant!)

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