US-RSE Pride Month Spotlight - Rebecca Heineman

Published: Jun 19, 2023 by Mattie Niznik

US-RSE’s DEI working group (DEI-WG) is proud to help US-RSE celebrate and participate in Pride Month. Each week during Pride Month, the US-RSE will spotlight a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who has been involved in computing, science, engineering, and/or math, and have inspired our members through their accomplishments in their careers and their personal stories.

This week’s Pride Month spotlight features Rebecca Heineman

Rebecca Heineman, CC BY 3.0
<>, via Wikimedia Commons
Rebecca Heineman, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s easy to overlook the breadth of skill involved in creating a video game, but any study of game design will quickly change your mind. Sitting at the intersection of art, physics, storytelling, and (of course) computers, video game creation is complex and I can’t help but marvel at those who can successfully navigate its pitfalls (pun definitely intended). As Research Software Engineers, we leverage many of the same skills and it’s important to celebrate and support each other. As we highlight LGBTQIA+ individuals this month, I’d like to introduce you to someone who has been around games since the 80s.

Rebecca Heineman is a video game enthusiast and champion (at Space Invaders) turned programmer and game designer. Also known by the pseudonym Burger, she worked on countless games such as The Bard’s Tale, Wasteland, and various other ports (which could be particularly challenging due to hardware limitations and incompatibilities), perhaps most famously as a co-founder of Interplay. Later in her career, she spent time consulting with Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Sony, Bloomberg, and Amazon; additionally, she founded Olde Sküül, her current company, in 2013. Rebecca also served as a board member of GLAAD and is a member of the International Video Game Hall of Fame (Class of 2017). I’m happy to (briefly) share her story here and I encourage you to learn more about her and LGBTQIA+ influence in the history of gaming and computers!

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