Carol Shaw (born 1955) is one of the first female game designers and programmers in the video game industry. She is best known for creating the Atari 2600 vertically scrolling shooter River Raid (1982) for Activision. She worked for Atari, Inc. from 1978–1980 where She designed multiple games including 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (1978) and Video Checkers (1980), both for the Atari 2600. She left game development in 1984 and retired in 1990.
Shaw was born in 1955 and was raised in Palo Alto, California. Her father was a mechanical engineer and worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In a 2011 interview, She said She didn't like playing with dolls as a child, but learned about model railroading from playing with her brother's set, a hobby She continued until college. Shaw first used a computer in high school and discovered She could play text-based games on the system. Shaw attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1977. She went on to complete a master's degree in Computer Science at Berkeley.
Shaw was hired at Atari, Inc. in 1978, straight out of her Master's,
to work on games for the Atari VCS (later called the 2600) with an
official job title of Microprocessor Software Engineer. Her first
project was Polo, a promotional tie-in for the Ralph Lauren cologne.
The game reached the prototype stage, but Atari chose not to publish
it. Shaw's first published game was 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe for the Atari 2600
Shaw left Atari in 1980 to work for Tandem Computers as an assembly
language programmer, then joining Activision in 1982. Her first game
In 1984 Shaw returned to her former employer, Tandem.
◯ 3D Tic-Tac-Toe (Atari, 1978)
◯ Othello (Atari, 1978) with Ed Logg
◯ Video Checkers (Atari, 1980)
◯ Super Breakout (Atari, 1981) with Nick Turner
◯ Happy Trails (Activision, 1983)
◯ Calculator (Atari, 1979)
◯ River Raid (Activision, 1983) port from2600 to Atari 8-bit and 5200
◯ Polo, Atari 2600 (Atari, 1978)