The Amazing Atari Women highlights the creations of four Atari women and their superpowers. Inspired by the Atari classic game Spider-Man, which was created by Laura Nikolich in 1982, we created a tangible representation of the yellow building featured in the game, and situated it inside a laser cut TV screen. Climbing the building are two 3D printed Spider figures who can discover and reveal the names of women that contributed to Atari games. These women include: Patricia Goodson for her creation of the music in Pac Man Jr., Betty Ryan Tylko for her work on Pole Position, and Noelie Alito for her work on Moon Patrol. These women each had a variety of individual experiences in their paths as pioneers of the video game industry, but are often forgotten. It is important that we remember their work during the dawn of the gaming industry.
In creating the artefact, The Amazing Atari Women, we explored many possible ways to showcase Atari women’s stories. Ultimately, we decided that it was important to reveal the women names who were hidden behind the games. This is why we used electrochromic displays–they allowed us to tie the names of the women directly to the names of the games that they worked on. We used moveable 3D printed Spider figures from the movie, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” as a way to bring the growing diversity in the superhero universe to our project. We wanted to make a connection between the fictional characters to the representation to real-life women superheroes. The comic-style decoration references the work of other Atari Women by showcasing a ‘reference’ to the women’s work–try to see if you can figure out the references! The comic style allows us to stay true to the Spider-Man game’s original concept art, format, and inspiration. We hope that these design choices come together to create an empowering and interactive learning experience.
To quote “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Anyone can wear the mask. You could wear the mask!” If there is anyone in the world who can help prove that, it is the AtariWomen.
Concept, Design, and Creation: Mulki Mohamed, Sandy Yang, and TJ Gascho