The Strong Brings Female Video Game Innovators Together for First Time

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

October 16, 2018

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Noelle McElrath-Hart, 585-410-6325,

The Strong Museum Brings Female Video Game Innovators
Dona Bailey, Brenda Laurel, Megan Gaiser,
Amy Hennig, Sheri Graner Ray, and Susan Jaekel Together for the
First Time for Special Events on November 15 & 16

ROCHESTER, NY—The Strong museum, home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and World Video Game Hall of Fame, will bring together past and present women pioneers in the video game industry for two special events—a ticketed evening on Thursday, November 15, and an invite-only student symposium on Friday, November 16. Both events will be a prelude to the opening of The Strong’s Women in Games exhibit— which chronicles the many ways women have shaped the development of games, from design and production, to manufacturing and marketing, to consumption and criticism—on Saturday, November 17.

“Women have played a crucial, though often underappreciated, role in the development of the video game industry,” says Curator Shannon Symonds, who spearheads The Strong’s Women in Games initiative (launched in 2017). “The women that will be joining us to help celebrate the opening of the Women in Games exhibit best represent what it means to be part of the video game industry. They have different backgrounds, have worked at different companies, and have even worked during different decades, but together, they all help tell a unique and often-under-told story of this influential business. Having them all together for the first time will be an inspirational and unforgettable experience.”

The two events will feature gaming pioneers Dona Bailey, Brenda Laurel, Megan Gaiser, Amy Hennig, and Susan Jaekel. Bailey, one of the earliest known women game designers, co-created the popular arcade game Centipede. Laurel, who worked at Atari and founded her own game studio, Purple Moon, is best known for creating video games targeted at girls and by her work in virtual reality. Gaiser acted as president and CEO of the video game company Her Interactive for 12 years, working on dozens of titles and their best-selling Nancy Drew series. Sheri Graner Ray designed and wrote for Ultima VII and Ultima VII and was a senior designer on Star Wars: Galaxies. She’s also the author of the book Gender Inclusive Design, and is a co-founder of the Women in Game Development SIG of the IGDA. Jaekel is an artist and illustrator who designed several of Atari’s most iconic box covers in the 1980s, including Adventure and 3D Tic-Tac-Toe. Hennig, a game director and script writer with experience at Nintendo and Electronic Arts, acted as head writer and creative director for the Uncharted series.

The November 15 evening will include a panel discussion with all five moderated by executive director of the Entertainment Software Association Foundation Anastasia Staten, along with a tour of the Women in Games exhibit, a networking reception with light refreshments, and video game play. Tickets may be purchased online for $15 at Students interested in the symposium on November 16 should contact Shannon Symonds for more information at

“I hope this is the first of many events to come at The Strong centered on the history— and future—of women in games, and that it will serve as an inspiration to all the young girls out there who hope to follow in the footsteps of these leaders.”

About The Strong

The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families. The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play. Together, these enable a multifaceted array of research, exhibition, and other interpretive and educational activities that serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.