Elvan Güleç of Istanbul, Turkey, is not a casual gamer. When I asked the Product Manager for Gram Games how long she’d been playing, she flashed her forearms like Wonder Woman, revealing a set of tattoos on each forearm—one representing directional buttons for Playstation and the other for XBox.
And, if her gamer street cred is still in question, Elvan also has Pandu—the fictional character from the Merge Magic! game she recently product-managed for Gram Games—inked on her bicep. It’s safe to say, Elvan is not just playin’.
As she sipped her Turkish coffee in a cozy room, complete with a cat snoozing on the bed, I asked about the origins of her fascination with gaming.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t into video games. I started by playing Crash Bash, Mortal Kombat 3, and Super Mario. Then I got my first job so I could buy the Playstation Vita and was really into Need for Speed: Carbon and The Sims. After that, I was on to Professor Layton, Pokémon, and Cooking Mama. And, I’ll probably never stop playing Diablo II,” she remarked, nostalgically.
Elvan’s wide-ranging taste in video games is in keeping with how she approaches life. She’s insatiably curious about a broad array of subjects, has a limitless lust for knowledge, and has never been afraid to explore the darker, more psychologically-charged aspects of being human. She’s also never, ever without a book and has even been known to carry a spare in case of emergency.
Given her fascination for probing the unknown, it’s not surprising that Elvan majored in philosophy at Istanbul University and then explored a variety of jobs in different sectors—both public and private. That is, until the inevitable happened. Elvan succumbed to the gravitational pull she’d been unwittingly fighting for years: like a magnet to steel, she entered the gaming industry.
When I asked if young Elvan ever dreamed of getting paid to create video games, she replied, “It really wasn’t a career path that I knew was possible for me, a girl, growing up in Turkey. But, when the opportunity came up, I never questioned whether I could do it. Even when people warned me about it being a male-dominated field, I didn’t care. I was all in. And, I’m just as excited about being here as the day I started. This is where I belong,” she replied, gleefully.
It’s hard to imagine anyone more suited for the job at hand: Elvan naturally pushes the boundaries of what’s conceivable, so there’s no telling how many amazing games she’ll help build for the next generation of wide-eyed players. This is, of course, why we consider her a Mobile Revolutionary. She’s blazing a trail for women in the mobile gaming industry, expanding the limits of what’s possible from a story perspective, and, eventually—mark my words—she’ll have the ink to show for it.