She Games Interview: Indigo Doyle

Indigo Doyle is a Toronto gamer and industry innovator, running the organization Mix in Toronto, Canada. The Mix is a networking event for indie developers, find out more at indiemixer.net

What was the first game you remember playing, and who introduced it to you?

 The first game I remember playing was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Sega Genesis. It was one of my favorite games growing up. I’m honestly not even sure who introduced me to it; I just remember my brother and me playing it all the time growing up. I still love that game so much I bought it on my phone.

 

Tell me about the video game that had the greatest impact on you, and what age were you when you played it?

Halo 2 is my ultimate favorite game. Growing up, the Halo series was a huge part of gaming for me. I believe I was 10 when I started playing it with my brother and it has really shaped the games I look for now.

 

When did you realize that video games were more than just a hobby or a pastime to you?

I realized it just after high school. When I was looking at game design programs they were a bit uncommon and I remember looking at one and thinking “Wow. I could go to school for this?” And since then, game design has been as much a part of my life as playing games.

 

In elementary school and junior high, how did your peers react to you being a “girl gamer”? Was your uniqueness accepted or rejected?

Being interested in games as a girl at a young age was a bit of a unique trait but I don’t recall any negative things happening because of it. I mostly spent time around other kids that were interested in gaming so it wasn’t a huge stretch. As I got older I do remember not feeling completely comfortable using a mic during online matches and I still don’t. It’s sad that there’s still a stigma about being female and playing games.

 

Are there any stereotypes about female gamers you want to disprove?

For sure, stereotypes that suggest that female gamers are only good at social games or mobile games are very frustrating. Things like that really discourage new players and keep the diversity level low, which results in the same types of games being made because the same people are always playing them.

 

Have you ever been targeted or harassed in an online game for being female?

Fortunately, I have not had this experience, mostly due to my lack of engagement. If I am playing online I do not advertise my gender, mostly because I don’t think it matters. If I’m good at a game, then who cares what my gender is? Of course by avoiding engagement there is a sense of community and teamwork that is lost during gameplay which is a bit sad.

I usually am avoiding talking on a mic on purpose just to avoid the extra effort of dealing with immature responses, so much that now it seems like second nature. I’ve owned a Turtle Beach headset for years and haven’t used the mic once.

 

Do you believe this game should increase their monitoring of harassment or implement more serious penalization policies? 

Since I do not have personal experience with harassment, I can’t pinpoint a game I know that has this issue, but by being aware of things that are happening in the gaming community, I know that there are female gamers that do get shamed for being a girl and get put down for doing something they love, so I do believe that there should be a more serious penalization when it comes to bullying people online for gaming.

What do you believe is the best method to get more young women to enjoy videogames  and be interested in the video game industry?

 I believe that by breaking down the stigma that gamers and game devs are all the same stereotype we can encourage more female to embrace gaming. I personally love when I find another female that is into the same games as me. It brings a great sense of community and relation. By encouraging young females to explore the world of gaming, we are setting things in motion for future generations and allowing them to experience community and whole other worlds in doing so.

About the Industry

What inspired you to work in the digital entertainment field?

It was almost an accident honestly. I was looking up schools and stumbled upon game design and once I started attending I was able to zero in on what I was interested in exactly and broaden my knowledge from there. Since then it has been a bit of a journey. There are times when I don’t know 100% if I’m in the right field or if I should explore other things and I think that is actually a good thing. Exploring other avenues has actually helped me to be more confident that game development is the right area for me.

Do you have any specific game design role models?

One of my role models is Kate Edwards, founder and Principal Consultant of Geogrify, previous Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and named one of "The 10 Most Powerful Women In Gaming" in 2013 by Fortune.

Kate has been involved with video games for years and also worked on some of the first Halo games, which inspires me and reminds me that being a woman in this industry is possible.

 

Does being a woman in the workplace present any unique challenges?

Being a woman in the workplace is something that I have become more and more aware of. While I do feel comfortable sometimes being the only woman in the room, there is always that moment when you walk into a room and it immediately becomes apparent to you that you’re the only female.

One thing that comes from the lack of gender support is feeling that you have to prove yourself and your worth even if you are completely qualified to be there.

 

What kind of impact would you like to have on the gaming world and industry? What would fulfill your career?

I would like to become an example and role model for other females that are interested in game development, showing that it’s not weird or out of place to have females on staff at a game studio or in any other relating fields.

Interview conducted by Maggie Mae Lee

maggie-maelee@doabarrelroll/ca