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Stephanie Harvey (centre) is an active member of Counter Logic Gaming’s Counter Strike team. Photo: Dave Weatherall.

Stephanie Harvey talks games, careers, and bullying

This past Thursday, professional gamer Stephanie Harvey sat down with some University of Ottawa students at Morisset’s Media Centre to talk game development, professional gaming, and bullying in the video game community.

Harvey is a five-time world champion of Counter Strike: Global Offensive and a game designer at Ubisoft Montreal. Having worked with the team that created the most recent entries in the The Prince of Persia and Far Cry series, she is in the unique position of being able to provide insight  from within the games industry and the gaming community at large.

Driven by online harassment and bullying, she also co-founded Missclicks, an advocacy group lobbying for openness and acceptance within the gaming community, specifically the acceptance of women, who are underrepresented in games development, gaming communities, and the medium in general.

With that in mind, the group seeks to provide a community of like-minded gamers a place support one another, a platform for women in gaming to receive more exposure, and representation of positive female role models in the games community.

The talk began with Harvey offering students her experience with game design, careers in the video game industry, and how to work toward a career in games design.

To her, the key is learning the systems and processes at work inside of video games.

“Play games, and think about the features and how it’s designed. The more you do it, even if it’s for fun and just for you, will give you experience.”

The talk also consisted of her experience as a professional gamer. As an active member of Counter Logic Gaming’s Counter Strike team, she offered some advice to students interested in pursuing competitive gaming.

“There are easy steps you can take towards becoming a pro gamer—playing with your community, college, and local events,” she shared, noting that starting small and developing skill is important in the pursuit of a competitive career.

Harvey also took the time to address the ongoing issue of online harassment in the video game community, particularly towards women. In an age where everything is online, she said harassment in the online world is just as impactful as in real life.

She suggests that changing the negative attitude starts with individual players, and advises gamers to “start making a change with yourself, which will make a change with your friends, and a change with their friends.”

“(Players have to) be aware of the problem. (Don’t) just tell people to shutdown their computer.”

For Harvey, this is an essential step for the gaming community. However, she believes in uplifting geeks of all walks of life.

“Focus on your passion and continue working hard. I really believe in the motto that ‘you can do anything in life.’” she shared.  “If it’s humanly possible, you can do it.”

To learn more about the work Harvey does as the co-founder of Missclicks, you can visit their website.