Hi everyone, I’m Camille Dodson, and I make video games. NCWIT recently contacted me after hearing about my activities, so I’m writing here to share a bit about myself and my goals as a woman in IT.
I grew up on things like Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Rayman, and yes, I even enjoyed some “immoral” content in games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto – Vice City. Once I got to college, I was ready to stop playing and start creating. Since then I’ve made over 30 online games, lead team projects, and ran the Game Developers Club at CU for two years. In May, I’m graduating with a BS degree in Computer Science and a certificate in Technology Art Media, and I’m ready to take on the industry and create something amazing.
I think games, as a medium of self-expression, have incredible potential similar to that of film and novels. Last fall I tried to touch on some deeper issues in life through the game medium. In an Atlas class project, I created a game to help explore lesbian and gay homophobia by putting the player in the shoes of a lesbian hero who’s out to save the princess. The boss she fights shoots a boy-girl symbol at you while you shoot him with rainbows. In the end, he becomes accepting of your choice, smiles, and makes a rainbow over his head. I’ve gotten all positive feedback on the game and feel quite inspired.
Right now I’m working on my senior project for CS with three guys. We’re making a biofeedback game for kids, where the players’ fingers are attached to a device that monitors their heart-rate and skin conductivity. Kids with ADHD don’t want to meditate or learn soft breathing exercises. But with the medium of a video game, we can bring out the fun in mindful activities. So I keep the classic game elements of characters, story, magic, and enemies to fight and get to add in this nifty bio-input device that kids love to play with.
This last month, I got my first industry recognition by being awarded the International Game Developers Association’s Student Scholarship. There were 25 of us students picked from colleges around the world to get a ticket into the Game Developers Conference, access to special events, and given professional game-makers as mentors.
So I am standing out – partially because I’m a woman in an industry that’s 95 percent male, and also because people are genuinely interested in my projects and my ideas. I hope to one day become a producer/director of video games and lead a team of programmers, artists, musicians, writers, and actors toward creating unique, collaborative entertainment.
Camille Dodson is a Computer Science undergraduate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is a programmer, artist, writer, and team leader whose passion is making video games. Find her at www.supercami.com!