10-1 | Ronnie, Millie, Lila—Women’s History for Games

Article

Ronnie, Millie, Lila—Women’s History for Games
A Manifesto and a Way Forward

Carly Kocurek

Abstract:

The author discusses how, in practice, historians often obscure the effect of women’s lives, work, and contributions on their topic, and she takes special note of video game history. Using both history and film studies as examples, she argues that games historians can and should adopt feminist viewpoints to help ensure a fuller, more diverse accounting of the past. She examines the stories of three women—video game regulation activist Ronnie Lamm, route operator Amelia “Millie” McCarthy, and Exidy executive Lila Zinter—to demonstrate the types of historical information often overlooked in video game history. She concludes that video game historians must use archives, documents, and other research to think more broadly about the purpose and impact of their own work and not allow video game history to be reduced to a highlights reel that captures only the works of a few key players. Instead, their history should capture the depth and diversity of video games and game culture, including the impact of women on the field. Key words: arcade, coin-op games, Exidy, feminist history, Lila Zinter, Millie McCarthy, Ronnie Lamm, women in video games, video game history