Miko Charbonneau is a Yonsei computer game designer who, after earning her PhD in Computer Science, worked at Microsoft before starting her own game design studio called prettysmart games. Charbonneau was born in the summer of 1983 in western Canada. Soon after, her French-Canadian father and her Japanese-American mother followed work opportunities in the United States, from California, to Texas, to Georgia, and to New York. Beginning around age five, Charbonneau spent much time with her grandmother, Emiko Maruki Uyeda. During World War II, Charbonneau's grandmother was incarcerated without due process by the United States government in detention camps at Manzanar, California and at Rohwer, Arkansas. In 2001, Charbonneau completed high school in Knoxville, Tennessee where she fostered interests in Japanese anime, manga, and playing Dance Dance Revolution in a local arcade. Between 2001–2013, Charbonneau attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando to become the first in her family to complete college and graduate school. After her father's sudden death in 2001, Charbonneau's mother and grandmother also moved to Orlando to live with her maternal aunt. Charbonneau studied and traveled in Japan during college and later with her family and husband. During college and graduate school, Charbonneau became competitively involved in cosplay at comic and anime conventions across the nation. After earning her PhD in Computer Science on dance game interfaces, she joined Microsoft where she worked on HoloLens, the Photos app, and Minecraft. Charbonneau then founded prettysmart games as an independent game development studio specializing in emotional and narrative-rich titles on desktop and mobile. In this oral history, Charbonneau discusses all of the above, including stories she learned of her Japanese American family's incarceration during World War II, the effects that has had on her family, on the development of her own identity and sense of belonging, and on her inclination to invite others into her activities and lift them up.




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