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People Were Right, And Wrong, About That PC Gamer Article

It's still bad, sure, just for a different reason

9:16 PM EST on November 15, 2023

PC Gamer

If you follow enough game developers and games journalists on social media, you may have noticed people being upset this week about a PC Gamer article that, supposedly, couldn't name a single influential woman from the last 30 years of video game development.

If a magazine put together a list of the most influential people from the past 30 years and didn't name a single woman, that would be a real bad look! As so many have been quick to point out, it's almost impossible to conceive of such a list without including names like Roberta Williams, Carol Shaw and Amy Hennig.

This all kicked off from a tweet made by PC Gamer a few days ago, promoting their print magazine's 30th anniversary:

Most of the top replies to that tweet are asking where the women were in this big historical roundup, and things got so out of hand that the official account of web browser Opera GX (1 million followers) jumped in with a joke.

The thing is, nobody linked or quoted the actual story because the story in question hasn't (at time of this story's publication) been posted online. It's a feature in the print magazine, and it is most definitely not about the most influential people in video games over the past 30 years.

The story, called “Celebrating Three Decades Of PC Gaming,” is actually a retrospective about the last 30 years of PC gaming as recounted by former PC Gamer staff members. Something to “celebrate many of the key people who made PC Gamer magazine over the past 30 years”, namely the “legends who made the best damn gaming magazine in the world”. It's a very long piece--30 years is a long time!--and includes contributions from everyone from Hollywood screenwriter Gary Whitta (formerly of PC Gamer, of course) to author Kieron Gillen through to more recent writers.

Those taking part in the feature are asked a range of questions, from their favourite game to their favourite memories working there to what they think the publication's legacy is.

Importantly, and this is where the truth and assumptions in this story converge, no women are interviewed for the roundup. Women have worked at PC Gamer in the past (and work there now!), so to interview nothing but dudes for a piece covering your entire history is not a great look. It's an indictment on the publication's past, sure, but it's also a shitty oversight for the present.

It’s still a bad article, then, but not bad for the reasons everyone said it was bad? But also, it still kind of was? People were completely wrong about something without having even read the article, but they also ended up being kinda right in the end, because the history of video games is so universally shitty for women? What a mess!

UPDATE 5:00am ET, November 16: I've had a few people message me to say there's another feature in the issue that looks back on the last 30 years and doesn't mention any women either, and that maybe it's what people are talking about when they thought the magazine had a list of influential men. I don't think so (though maybe some people conflated the two?). That separate section, also called "Celebrating Three Decades Of PC Gaming", is a big guide to a range of important games and tech, with every entry broken up into its own miniature article, and while it does name a few men from certain projects (like John Carmack and Julian Gollop) while failing to specifically feature any women (again, not a great look!), it's not really about singling anyone out on any of the development teams, with most of the entries failing to mention any individuals.

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