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Meet Dona Bailey, the Unsung Programmer Behind 'Centipede'

“I guess I was a pioneer,” Dona Bailey says while shrugging.

Jordan Valinsky

Jordan Valinsky

"I guess I was a pioneer," Dona Bailey says while shrugging.

Although her name might not immediately ring a bell, her impact on video game culture will. A former programmer for Atari, Bailey, along with Ed Logg, created the addictive arcade game Centipede.

The California native was an outlier, as she was one of the few female programmers in the gaming industry. She says she wasn't "nearly as technically experienced" as the men, but she knew she one one of only a "handful of women" in the country with programming experience.

"That made me one of the most qualified women in America to be hired by Atari to make a game," she says. Bailey is part of a small, yet largely ignored group of women who played pivotal roles in early years of the notoriously dude-ruled games industry.

But there's no museum celebrating these women, as noticed by the New York Times.

"Women have created, or contributed to, scores of video games," wrote Chris Suellentrop last year. "Putting together a museum exhibition to highlight their work would be a way to reclaim some of this overlooked history."