Game researcher Annakaisa Kultima had a blunt answer at the Game Developers Conference Europe's #1ReasonToBe panel today about why she's in the video games industry:
"I have a fucking right to be here," she said to attendees (as detailed by Polygon).
Kultima was joined by a panel of speakers including games journalist Leigh Alexander, developers Brenda Romero, Auriea Harvey, Siobhan Reddy, Henrike Lode and curator Zuraida Buter. All the panelists shared their personal stories on how they became a part of the games industry and why they have stayed despite some challenges.
Brenda Romero she said she had always made games and wasn't aware of a division by gender until much later in her career.
"I was completely unaware my gender was a function in me being a game designer," Romero said during the panel. "In 1999 I suddenly became very aware I was a female game designer, [even though] my reproductive organs have never made a game design decision."
Despite people's insistence on labeling her, Romero said her hope was "we can be an industry where we can all be together and just make games."
Media Molecule studio lead Siobhan Reddy said her reason for staying was a desire to change things and to improve conditions for fellow developers.
"[And] I have changed things," she said. "I make decisions every day and I change things. I think we all need to think and act progressively and even radically. It's all well and good to want to do something, but you have to do something. You have to represent yourself."
But Kultima probably summed it up by saying that she shouldn't need to justify anything:
"In the end, I don't think I need other reasons," she said. "I have the ticket. I have the right to be here."