If you are sick of the stereotypical image of gaming gurus being a 20-something guy in a hoodie, you are not alone. Kate Edwards, who’s 54 and was previously executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), is on a mission to change that. There has been an upswing of recognition over the years that women are mistreated and even abused in the gaming realm, but now Edwards is focusing on another facet.
As she told Variety, “While sexism in the industry has garnered tremendous attention, and rightfully so, in the wake of Gamergate and other incidents, the response to ageism has typically been tepid by comparison.” In another interview, she explained further: “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.”
An Age-Affirming List
To put her beliefs into culture-changing action, Kate developed a “50 Over 50” list (including women and men) to shine a light on how older creative minds are worth saluting, not just younger ones. She chose the first list in 2018. As she shared in an interview that aired on NPR, she checked with the honorees to see if they were okay with being on the list, concerned that some might suffer discrimination on the job once “outed” as being age 50 or older. To her pleasant surprise, everyone said, “Count me in!”
For this year’s list, 250-plus people from around the world nominated 120 high achievers. Kate and her colleagues then double-checked ages and created a final list of 50 winners, which can be found at this link.
Even if you never play video games, it’s nice to know that somewhere, someone is fighting the good fight against ageism.