AtariWomen is a research project aimed at celebrating the hidden stories of women, who made crucial engineering contributions to Atari games in early 70ties and 80ties. According to media historians Nathan Esmenger and Marie Hicks, women have been essential to the rise of computing in both US and UK – nevertheless, only few women are known and many women are completely missing from narrative on computing. The 1980s represent a crucial period of change for women’s participation in computing. Across the decade, images of the weird, brilliant male computer hacker began to take hold of the media’s attention, showing up in storylines for major movies and popular accounts.
Focusing on 1970s-80s Atari game developments, we will build an interactive experience that introduces and allow participants to learn about the narratives of Atari women. We explore and challenge industry notions of who is or should become a programmer, engineer, and designers by revisiting accounts of women whose labor remained hidden within the Atari products and their marketing. In doing so, we call on participants to help rewrite engineering histories to highlight key computational know-how contributed by groups underrepresented within computing fields today.