-Game user researcher consultant-
I’ve had role models pretty late, as an adult, and one of those is Kate Edwards who I was lucky enough to meet at the Game UX Summit 2019 organised by Celia Hodent who is another very nice person. She is a geographer who works in video games, among other things. She explains, among other things, the importance of a sensitive reading of the elements that constitute a game and of taking into account cultural and socio-political differences so as not to offend importing countries and players alike. And that is beautiful and brilliant.
I’m a big film consumer and in my top 3 are films such as Bicentennial Man, The Fountain, and The Man from Earth. I also have a lot of affection for films that are more complex in their narrative, such as Birdman, Sleeping Beauty and Dogville. If I like them, it’s mainly because the first ones have themes based on what I call « the Pinocchio concept ». In short, to allow oneself to exist, to play a role in life, to be, to question one’s existence. As an autistic person, these are frequent questionings, doubts that echo my desires to exist and to transcend my existence I find them beautiful, not only aesthetically, but also in the accuracy of their expression (and the acting).
After initial studies in video games (ESIA 3D, Bellecour Ecoles d’Art, Lyon), Gwendolyn « Noumenie » Garan was, for 10 years, a UI/2D Artist for video games. She has worked on visual communication and the creation of applications and companies’ games such as Wallstreet English Vietnam, but also on the artistic direction of events such as ‘‘Desert Bus de l’Espoir » (a charity marathon based on video games and aimed at the Little Princes’ association and before that, at the ‘’Secours Populaire Français’’).
Then, after resuming her studies in psychology and educational sciences and discovering that she was autistic, she transformed her first job to become a Game User Researcher Consultant (self-employed). Specialised in neurodiversity and neurodevelopmental disorders and wishing to raise awareness on these subjects, she questions the uses and habits of users in order to improve the accessibility of video games. In parallel, she has given numerous masterclasses and workshops, including at Ubisoft on neurodiversity but also for the BIC in Montpellier and the incubated studios with the Push Start association, carried out numerous expert reviews and improved the accessibility of independent games such as Solasta, and intervened in video game schools such as the Gobelins School (Paris).
Her work has gained recognition from the industry, especially in an article written by the journalist Merry from GameKult, who gives an overview of the accessibility of video games in 2020. With this background and the questions that have fueled her, at 29 she became Knwoledge Manager for DONTNOD (Paris). A true expert and manager of knowledge and methods, she does not hesitate to play the dual role of facilitator and strategist in companies.
Activist and committed, she is also a speaker for Women in Games and CapGame, in order to defend a better inclusion and diversity of profiles and representations in video games as well as in this industry on issues of gender, disability and mental health. Thus, she was able to take part in international conferences to defend these subjects and associations, especially during the Game Accessibility Conference where she was able to present CapGame. She is also D&I speaker for Women in Games France.