Ageism is a rampant problem in the game industry and within the broader technology sector, and it's becoming even more so as first generations of game creators reach their traditional "retirement years." While sexism in the industry has garnered tremendous attention, and rightfully so in the wake of massive harassment episodes, trolling, and other incidents, the response to ageism has typically been tepid by comparison.
Several games media sites have recently highlighted the ageism issue as an ongoing problem, including Gamasutra, Kotaku, GamesIndustry.biz, and others. Yet various media outlets continue to exacerbate the problem by enthusiastically publishing their annual "30 Under 30" lists to double down on the value of youth and vision while seeming to ignore the benefits of experience and wisdom. The assertion is that highlighting veteran talent is just as positive and valuable to any industry as elevating emerging talent.
By contrast, in much of the popular media consumed by the wider public – and especially admired by many in the tech and gaming sectors – older, wiser characters are regularly featured as key advisors, teachers, mentors, and leaders whose experience and knowledge are greatly prized. Gandalf, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Oracle (from The Matrix), Dumbledore, Mr. Miyagi, Antiope, and on the list goes. Even the word “mentor” is derived from a character in Homer’s The Odyssey; the elderly Mentor provided guidance to the younger Telemachus (and ironically was actually the goddess Athena in disguise).
The “50 Over 50” List was conceived to help counter the trend of glossing over ageism and playing off the much-trumpeted “30 Under 30” lists. Soliciting nominations from a wide array of game industry colleagues around the world, the primary intent is to demonstrate that ageism, like sexism, must be openly confronted, discussed, and addressed. The secondary purpose is to actually highlight the amazing talent who are over 50 years old and still fervently involved in game creation in some capacity.
The following individuals represent the top 50 veteran game creator nominations for 2018. These names are listed alphabetically by first name, and are not otherwise ranked in any way. Click on a name to view their profile. To learn more about this list and how it was created, please view the F.A.Q.