This is a brief excerpt from an article by Eileen Reynolds for NYU News. Read the full article here!
Growing up, Jenny Jiao Hsia just wasn’t that into video games. She was artistic—loved cartoons and comics, especially anime and manga, and thought she might become a fashion designer one day—but definitely wasn’t one of those kids who was always glued to a console. In fact, the idea that you had to be a whiz with the controller in order to fully experience and enjoy a game—a technological hurdle that didn’t exist for other media—is part of what turned her off.
When Jenny arrived at NYU, a career in the arts (let alone games) wasn’t something she even considered. She focused on the path to becoming a doctor, but it wasn’t long before she had to admit her heart wasn’t really in it. “I did really poorly in some of my prerequisites,” she recalls, “and so that no longer felt like it was an option.” She took a semester off, unsure of what to do next. Then, on a whim, she enrolled in Games 101, an introductory course at NYU’s Game Center that aims to foster “games literacy”—a shared understanding of games as cultural and aesthetic objects.” This approach, which reminded Jenny of an art history class, piqued her interest in games as a form of expression. And as soon as she got a taste of developing her own games—at a Game Jam hosted by the non-profit Code Liberation, which offers classes and workshops to encourage women and girls to learn to code—she was hooked.