Game Designer in Residence, University of California Santa Cruz
Brenda Romero is an award-winning game designer, artist, writer and creative director who entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She is the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry. Brenda worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts and numerous companies in the social and mobile space. She is presently the Game Designer in Residence at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer of Loot Drop, a social and mobile game company.
In recent years, Brenda has become known for an award-winning series of non-digital games titled The Mechanic is the Message. So far, Train, Síochán Leat, the New World and Pre-Conception have been released. In 2009, her game Train won the coveted Vanguard Award at IndieCade for “pushing the boundaries of game design and showing us what games can do.”
Brenda serves on the advisory board of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play. She also works with John Romero and The Romero Archives to record game designers discussing their game design process for historical archiving. Brenda served on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and was the chair of the IGDA’s Women in Games Special Interest group.
From 2006-2009, Romero was Chair of the Interactive Design and Game Development department at the Savannah College of Art and Design. While there, she overhauled the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, created many new courses, and led the school to a spot in the Los Angeles Times’ list of the Top 10 game design schools in the world.
She is the recipient of the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Microsoft and previously was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design award. Romero was also named one of Forbes “12 Women in Gaming to Watch” in 2013 and Woman of the Year by Charisma+2 Magazine in 2010, one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by Gamasutra.com in 2008 and one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine in 2007. Nerve magazine also called her one of the 50 artists, actors, authors, activists and icons who are making the world a more stimulating place.