Carol Shaw had no idea when she started working at Atari in 1978 that she was becoming the first female professional computer game designer. Fresh off earning her Masters in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, Shaw was excited to take her first professional job with a company that made games. While Atari's president once told her "Oh, at last! We have a female game designer. She can do cosmetics color matching and interior decorating cartridges!", Shaw thankfully did not receive the same sort of discrimination from her fellow programmers. While her early games seem rudimentary today, 3-D Tic Tac Toe and Video Checkers, these efforts were innovative for their time. Shaw's most popular work, River Raid, would come later when she worked for Activision. Shaw's programming career was as lucrative as it was short-lived, allowing her to essentially retire in the mid-eighties as a pioneer in her field.
This entry is part of MPL's National Women's History Month.