Top 100 Women in Games: Kirsty Payne

26 years ago, Kirsty Payne entered the games industry with Codemasters, working alongside Richard and David Darling in the days of Spectrucm, C64 and Atari ST.

In amongst a plethora of what appeared to the younger me, serious companies and business suits, the early days of the games industry were really ground breaking, young, fun, innovative and creative,” Payne recalls.

Jim Darling said to me in my interview for Codemasters "You don’t have to be white, male, over 30 with a degree to get on in the games industry, you just need to be good!" I was instantly hooked!”

Having witnessed the birth of the NES and Master System, and the launch of games such as Dizzy and MicroMachines, Payne went on to work at Mindscape and then Activision, before setting up her own games agency with PR expert Rich Eddy.

More modern achievements include joining the charity SpecialEffect in 2007 and helping gamers with disabilities.

As well as meeting some of my best friends and my husband through working in the games industry, I’m very proud and honoured to have worked with some brilliant people on some hugely creative British games, we’re very good at making games in the UK and I’ve been lucky enough to work on many of them,” she says.

I was also hugely proud of heading up The London Games Festival and particularly the art exhibition I put on at City Hall in association with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and UKIE, showcasing fantastic games art and highlighting interactive entertainment as an important creative industry and a force to be reckoned with. The whole art collection was then sold worldwide, raising vital funds of 30,000 to help with SepcialEffect’s brilliant work.”

She adds: I could not be happier or more proud to be working with the amazing team at SpecialEffect, Dr Mick Donegan and Nick Streeter to name but two, have for years, selflessly given everything they have to make gaming accessible for EVERYONE, regardless of their disability. SpecialEffect’s work is massively important in improving the quality of life for many young people with disabilities and we plan on expanding and growing the charity to help more and more people every year. I’m truly proud to be part of this amazing organisation.”

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