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Brenda Romero: "Start coding tonight. Start making games. Don’t wait for college"

Brenda Romero: "Start coding tonight. Start making games. Don’t wait for college"

Today - Friday, March 8th - is International Women's Day and to mark the occasion, we have decided to highlight some of the incredible women working in the games industry.

We are very fortunate to have a true industry legend with us today as Brenda Romero shares her own journey into the games industry and tells us what you need to do to get into game design

Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?

I am the CEO of Romero Games, and lead designer on my own - not yet announced - game.

What did you study (if anything) that helped you get into games? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals interested in your areas of expertise?

In college, I studied writing and programming, which is about as good a mix as you can get for a game designer, I suppose. However, in general, I just studied. I am ridiculously curious and will research anything that I find interesting long past the point of usefulness. That curiosity often turns into games.

Where did you get your start in games and how did you progress into what you're doing now? Is this something you ever imagined yourself doing?

I started making games when I was very young, probably around 5. They were board games at the time, however. I got my first job in the industry when I was 15, and I never left. Throughout those years, I kept learning and progressing, and it was a very clear path to here. While I can’t say that imagined myself doing this, because I was completely unaware one could actually do this for a living, I don’t think I could have done anything else.

What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?

Seeing the various pieces of the game come to life. Nothing beats that.

Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?

Every once in a while, someone will be certain that the wild world of making video games would make for a great reality TV show. When they realise it’s mostly people coding, playing in spreadsheets, and having meetings discussing the various ways we can do something to or for a player, I think that allure goes away. The first few and last few milestones might work, but the in between is a lot of heads down.

Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?

So much, but I learned it as I went. The most important is probably don’t stay in one place too long. In my case, 20 years was a long time to learn the same things from the same people.

What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?

Start coding tonight. Start making games. Don’t wait for college.

Is there anyone in the games industry (or anyone else in general) who inspires you? 

I always find Amy Hennig ridiculously inspirational. She such a badass. There’s an incredible swagger about her and her work that I wish I could bottle. I also deeply admire Laralyn McWilliams. She is one of the most well-rounded game designers I know, and she’s a fearless advocate for people in the industry.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.