Brenda Romero, program director for the Games and Playable Media master's degree program at UC Santa Cruz, is featured on a list of the "Top 10 Game Developers of 2013" from computer game news site Gamasutra.

Romero said it was "a huge surprise" to see herself on the list, which includes industry giant Nintendo and a number of small independent game studios.

Gamasutra is the top industry-focused website for the games industry. Gamasutra staff wrote that Romero made the list not because of a game she released this year, but "because of her words."

"From her vibrant and pointed speech delivered at March's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to her design talks at IndieCade in October and GDC Next in November, to listen to Romero speak is to fall in love with the art and craftsmanship of games as she does; to believe in their exquisite possibilities to elevate the spirit; to admire games as existing within a larger ecosystem of human creativity."

A game designer, artist, writer, and creative director who entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15, Romero received the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award from Microsoft for her contributions to the game industry. She has worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts and numerous companies in the social and mobile space.

Romero came to UCSC in January 2013 as the first game designer in residence at the Center for Games and Playable Media and was later hired along with John Romero to lead the professional degree program. The M.S. in games and playable media is a yearlong (12-month) degree focused on combining technical and design innovation.