AtariWomen is a research project aimed at celebrating the hidden stories of women who made crucial engineering contributions to Atari games in early 70’s and 80’s. According to media historians Nathan Esmenger and Marie Hicks, women have been essential to the rise of computing in both US and UK – nevertheless, few women are known and many more are completely missing from computing narrative. The 1980’s 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 story lines for major movies and popular accounts.
Focusing on the 1970’s and 1980’s 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 and who should become a programmer, engineer, and designer 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.