Disclaimer: I’ve worked on many projects with over a dozen different studios. None of the following content is meant to implicate any one in particular, and it is not a strictly linear narrative.
There’s been a lot of anger creeping into my corner of the internet: Anger about the unequal or insensitive treatment of women and minorities, specifically within the game industry.
As a woman working in games since 2007, I’ve felt hurt, discouraged, and isolated by various forms of discrimination. Most of it came from people who were in no way intending to be hurtful. Anger does not accurately describe my true feelings, and so I don’t feel angry.
Really, I don’t.
Let’s say you’re a guy who’s just entered the game industry right out of college. People joke about you being all young and fresh-faced, but then after a couple of months they get tired of the joke, or some new blood moves in and you’re not the “young guy” any more.
I’m sitting on a park bench, part of the massive flock of tourists surrounding the cathedral. A huffy French woman approaches, asserts herself on the second half of the bench, and commands her boyfriend to sit in the spot where my bag rests. I take the hint and move the bag. The boyfriend doesn’t sit, despite being instructed to do so a second and third time.
While he stands and snaps a few photos of the park, she delivers a steady stream of brusque concerns about the unfulfilled aspects of their Barcelona itinerary. The boyfriend looks tired.
Eventually she stands again and charges off, her fist full of tourist maps. He trudges behind on an invisible leash.
Although it’s been photographed billions of times, I’d never seen the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, and the only info I got ahead of time was that it “looks like a melted sandcastle.” So, before exiting the metro station and getting my first glimpse of it, I was expecting a minor riff on an otherwise standard tromp through a European cathedral.
It does not look like a melted sandcastle. No photograph or panorama can do it justice.
The Basilica looks as if aliens came to Earth and left a structure specifically engineered to surprise me into crying outside of a metro station.
It’s so beautiful and startlingly organic that I imagine Gaudí, like Mozart, had to have been touched by the divine. But, after reading about his rural childhood observing trees, flowers, snails and chickens, I realize that he had merely been paying close attention.
In one of the tiny elevators that shuttle people to the spires, I’m crammed next to an equally tiny Chinese couple who look to be in their 70s or 80s. The husband walks with difficulty. His wife shepherds him with care, and sweetly negotiates with the elevator operator.
“He has handicap.”
“The way back down is on foot,” says the elevator man.
“But he cannot walk.”
After protracted discussion, elevator man agrees that they can return later and he’ll take them back to ground level.
“Oh, thank you,” says the wife.
In the cramped stairwell of the spire, she and her husband shuffle to the side.
Her English is simple and carefully pronounced, and I imagine her poring over a phrase book, practicing over and over everything she knew would come in handy.
Her hand on his arm, she smiles and addresses the rest of us:
“Please, go ahead. Please, you go first. We walk slowly.”