Carol Shaw

Carol Shaw

Born: 1955

Carol Shaw is believed to be the first professional female video game designer. She first used a computer while at high school in Palo Alto where she excelled at Maths and enjoyed playing text-based games. She went on to gain degrees in Computer Science in the 1970s when there were few women in the field.

Carol was then employed by Atari, programming games for the company’s VCS console (later renamed the 2600). The console popularised the concept of cartridge-based games and Carol was Atari’s go-to coder for the trickier programming tasks. At the time, developers created a whole game including the programming, sound and graphics. She said she joined the company because they paid her to play games! While at Atari, Carol also worked other titles, including 3-D Tic Tac Toe (1978), which took her six months to create, Video Checkers (1980), and Super Breakout (1982).

Later, while working at Activision, where she was again the first female designer, Carol produced River Raid, the game she is most well known for and which won numerous awards. The game was inspired by the side-scrolling alien shooter game Scramble. However, Shaw’s boss informed her that there were too many space games on the market so she went with a river-based game instead and River Raid came to be. Activision’s River Raid manual also includes tips for beating the game, written directly by Carol and describing her as “a scholar in the field of Computer Science”. The game’s success later enabled her to retire early.

Carol Shaw was one of the women profiled in our Women in Computing Festival 2017 of entitled Where Did All the Women Go?. Click here for the Women in Computing timeline created for that event.


 

 

 

 

Carol Shaw

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Publication articles relating to :

Item Publication Date
dK'tronics Hardware and Software [Advert] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Sinclair ZX81 Advert [Advert] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Testing Your ZX81's Speed [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Windfall (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
1K Chess [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Orbit (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Bureau de Change (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
The Dreaded ROM Bug [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
ZX81 Re-Number (Utility) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Building a Library [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Power Boat (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Zap (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Tourist Trap (16K Adventure Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Double Your RAM [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
First Steps in Machine Code [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Micro Mouse (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Screen Pokes for ZX80 and ZX81 [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
One Armed Bandit [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Othello (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Swappo (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Peek, Poke, Byte and RAM [Review] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Clive Sets the Pace [News Item]
Uncle Clive will be donning his sweaty tracksuit to set the pace in a half-marathon to be held in July.
ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Sinclair Misses the Bus [News Item]
Sinclair and Timex were most conspicuous by their absence at the giant West Coast Faire held in San Francisco at the end of March.
ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Schools Lap it Up [News Item]
More than 2500 UK secondary schools have bought ZX81s to give their pupils hands-on computing experience.
ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Timex Buys it Up [News Item]
Sinclair Research have signed a deal with Timex in America to get the ZX81 sold through some 171,000 retail outlets in the states.
ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Users' Club [News Item]
A network of Users' Club for the ZX81 has sprung up in the UK.
ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Users Crowd it Out [News Item]
The ZX Microfairs, organised by Mike Johnston, are going from strength to strength.
ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
DCP Developments' Packs [Article] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Hypno (16K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Crofton Keyboard Review [Review] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Quicksilva - Nick Lambert Interview [Interview] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Chopper Squad (1K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Draughts (4K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Customer File (Business Software) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
UFO (1K Game) [Type-In Listing] ZX Computing Summer 1982 May 1982
Dixons Advert - Amstrad PCW 8256 399 [Advert] Personal Computer World - October 1985
Integrex Colourjet - 569 [Advert] Personal Computer World - October 1985
Amstrad PCW 8256 Review [Review] Personal Computer World - October 1985
Interview with Sir Clive Sinclair [Interview] Personal Computer World - October 1990 October 1990
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