Carla Meninsky learned computer programming in high school but shifted her focus to neuropsychology and brain modeling at Stanford University, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1977. Seeing the potential for using computers to change the animation process she tried to find backers to pursue this path but others couldn’t quite understand her vision.
Hired by the gaming company Atari in 1980 she was quickly moved into game design and programming. With no experience with the Stella emulator used in the Atari 2600 console she was given a list of names of potential games and told to make one.
And that’s just what she did by creating the car crash maze game Dodge ‘Em. Earning good reviews it was given an Honorable Mention in the category of “Best Solitaire Game” at the 3rd annual Arkie Awards.
The next year she was responsible for the console version of the game Warlords, a multi-player battle between four warlords trying to destroy each other’s fort and the warlord icon at the center. The game was well received and won multiple awards at the time and was even ranked the 25th best video game of all time in 2009 by Game Informer.
After her time at Atari, Meninsky started her own computer consulting business working as a systems architect. Still trying to find venture capital and to prove herself as a “woman” game designer she and a colleague agreed to work on a game project only to have to back out after discovering another programmer was using stolen code on the project. While reflecting on that experience, among others dealing with theft of code and trade secrets, and the fact that she negotiated all the contracts for her business, she decided change careers.
Attending the George Washington University School of Law she earned her degree and began practicing law in 2004. Meninsky is currently Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Bank of America where she specializes in contract disputes, trade secrets, fraud, and financial law and regulation. She also teaches courses on international financial law at the London School of Economics.
Written by Angela Goad