Game Creation and the Battle against Ageism
11 July 2019
The 2019 Results are In!
The votes have been cast and the results tallied, and I’m very honored to announce the finalists for the 2019 Global Game Industry’s “50 Over 50” List. It was very humbling to see over 250 people from more than 20 countries nominate a total of 120 individuals for consideration to be on the list. After processing the results and verifying ages, as well as eliminating three individuals who already appeared on the 2018 list, we arrived at the final list which can be viewed below.
A Wealth of Expertise
The finalists on the 2019 list represent a tremendous breadth and depth of skills and expertise. Regardless if some names are widely recognizable and obvious choices, and others are not as well known, every individual represents a long career of continued, active contributions to the art and science of game creation. From hardware architects to composers, from educators to narrative designers, from artists to executives, and beyond, this group illustrates the reality that game creation – like all other media of creative endeavor – is a lifelong passion that is not diminished by age and time, but rather honed and ever-refined as one’s career progresses.
Ageism, like its similar counterparts of sexism, racism, and all other forms of discrimination, poisons the well of creativity and represents the real possibility of irrational bias – sometimes unconscionably or even worse, deliberately. Research continues to confirm that our creative energies aren’t affected by time; in fact, an article published by the BBC in April of this year discusses the findings of Professor Bruce Weinberg from Ohio State University. Professor Weinburg states:
Conceptual innovators tend to peak early in their careers, before they become immersed in the already accepted theories of the field. […] But there is another kind of creativity, which is found among “experimental” innovators. These innovators accumulate knowledge through their careers and find groundbreaking ways to analyze, interpret and synthesize that information into new ways of understanding.
Conception, experimentation, and innovation are core elements to all game creators, regardless of age.
The “50 Over 50” List Refutes Ageism
The “50 Over 50” List was conceived as a response to the reality that ageism is a rampant problem in the game industry and within the broader technology sector (and beyond). Howard William‘s of Parker Software illustrates in an article published by TechTalk in a March 2019 that 68% of those in the baby boomer generation don’t even apply to technology jobs because they fear ageism and being perceived as “too old.” Indeed, when the worldwide average age of tech developers falls into the 22-29-year-old range, it’s easy to see why older, experienced individuals in the workforce might take pause and save themselves from the frustration of being interviewed and rejected.
As you view the distinguished names below, as well as those in the 2018 “50 Over 50” List, consider how much the game industry would lose if these individuals were still not actively participating, if their careers had been cut short by being discouraged, or rejected via ageism, or seen as inadequate simply because they reached a point of physical age.
Our Response to Ageism
For those reading this who are under 50 years old, consider the fact that you will likewise reach this point in your life and will likely face the specter of ageism, despite you feeling as creatively on fire in your 50’s as you did in your 20’s.
But the trend can be reversed, and it starts with each and every individual. Just as we must all question our inherent biases related to ethnicity, gender, culture, geography, and so on, let us be mindful of how we perceive the value of age and experience. The wealth of knowledge, insight, perspective, and wisdom accumulated over the years for a single individual – such as everyone on this list – is a commodity that the game industry, and the world at large, can simply not afford to discard.
As we so readily embrace the power of aged wisdom and perspective in our fictional characters in our favorite narratives, such as Gandalf, Yoda, Dumbledore, Antiope, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gurney Halleck, Ned Stark, and so on, may we learn to likewise value the real people around us whose knowledge is an empowerment in the workplace and beyond.
The 2019 Global Game Industry “50 Over 50” List
The following individuals represent the final honorees for the 2019 “50 Over 50” List, as nominated by their peers and colleagues across the global game industry. This list is presented in alphabetical order; there is no ranking implied or intended:
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