Jade Raymond at NYVGA: ‘I’m happy there’s a light being shone on the great women in the industry’

Amanda Farough, Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019 6:38 pm

The 8th Annual New York Videogame Awards were held last night in Manhattan. There were a number of awards given out, including the usual suspects like Game of the Year, Best Kids Game, and Best Indie Game. The real star of the show, however, was women finally being celebrated for their work in the game industry.

Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio won the award for Best Games Journalism for her work on the exposé that took League of Legends developer, Riot Games, to church and showed the executive branch just how bad things had gotten for games workers and support staff. D’Anastasio’s speech focused on her admiration for her sources and their bravery in speaking up to her, because talking to the press can be intimidating and scary. True to her personality, D’Anastasio took almost no credit for herself.

But it was Jade Raymond, former head of EA Motive and a true industry legend (fitting that she won the Andrew Yoon Legend Award), who really stole the show with her acceptance speech.

“My mom didn’t really want us to watch TV, but she didn’t really mind us playing video games,” Raymond said. “Maybe it gives a single mom a break. But I think it’s because she knew that the stereotype that girls aren’t competitive is wrong and we needed to get that competitiveness out of [our systems].”

(She got a laugh from the audience on that one.)

“The last couple of years, especially, have been great years for women in entertainment,” she continued. “And I’m happy that this year there’s a light being shone on the great women in the industry. Amy Hennig, whom I’ve had a chance to work with, who’s fantastic, is getting a Lifetime Achievement Award and so is Bonnie Ross. And for all three of us, for all three of these awards, it’s the first time ever that women will be getting these awards, [which is] great.”

Raymond, Hennig, Ross, and Rieko Kodama (of SEGA JRPG fame) are all receiving achievement awards of some kind this year and each of these awards haven’t recognized women until this year.

“I get a lot of questions when I’m in interviews, ‘How does it feel to be a woman in the game industry? Aren’t you a unicorn?'” Raymond added without a hint of wryness. “There are tons of great, talented women in the game industry. They just tend to be working in the background. I’m happy that this year we’re shining a light on some of that great talent.”

At this point, Raymond took the time to recognize a number of women she’d had the pleasure of working with at some point in her career (too many to list, really, and some were lacking last names entirely). Raymond’s commitment to using her voice to uplift the people (in this moment, the women) around her is a powerful reminder of the importance of using a personal platform for the good of others.

“Lead by example: support women on their way to the top. Trust that they will extend a hand to those who follow,” Mariela Dabbah, Latinx activist and career development expert, has said.

“Making games is tough,” Raymond noted. “It definitely often feels like you’re trying to dive off this tall building into a tiny little haystack at the bottom. But my career has definitely shown me that the temptation to quit is often greatest before you’re about to achieve success. So, to all of you who are thinking about getting into the game industry, or you’re waiting for your big break … hopefully you see the women and the awards going out there … and think ‘why not me?’ Please take a leap of faith and stick with it, because the video game industry needs you.”

Full List of Award Winners for the NYVGA

  • Knickerbocker Award for Best Games Journalism: Cecilia D’Anastasio
  • The Andrew Yoon Legend Award: Jade Raymond
  • Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year: God of War
  • Central Park Children’s Zoo Award for Best Kids Game: Nintendo Labo Variety Pack
  • A-Train Award for Best Mobile Game: Florence
  • Coney Island Dreamland Award for Best Virtual Reality Game: Tetris Effect
  • Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game: Dead Cells
  • Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game: Tetris Effect
  • Statue of Liberty Award for Best World: Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Herman Melville Award for Best Writing: Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Raging Bull Award for Best Fighting Game: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Freedom Tower Award for Best Remake: Shadow of the Colossus
  • Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game: Christopher Judge as Kratos in God of War
  • Captain Award for Best Rookie Esports Team: Knicks Gaming

Disclosure: Greenlit Content, GameDaily.biz’s parent company, donated to the New York Videogames Critics Circle for the awards show.

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