My mom just asked me why I wasn't in the "Making the videogame" Spidey 2 show on MTV. As is usual for shows about videogames, programmers are not represented. I'm almost used to this, but it's especially irksome that Blur, the prerender house we used, got as much airtime as Treyarch did, and a localization tester got more screen time than anybody else who worked on the game. All I can do is speculate...maybe the MTV audience likes seeing testers because then they think, "I too could get a job in the game industry!" And maybe the reason programmers are shunned is because they tend to be fashion unconscious, or because there are no visual opportunities: interview an artist and you can show some nice graphics in MAX or MAYA. What do you show if you interview a programmer? Some C++ code? Stepping through instructions in a debugger? Actually...why not show that? For just a few seconds? It might look techy and cool and Matrix-like. Or maybe it would alienate the typical MTV audience: "That looks scary. I'll never be smart enough to work in videogames."
It reminds me of this Neal Stephenson article where he talks about H. G. Wells' morlocks and eloi. Coders are the ugly morlocks, hidden underground, running the machinery, making life happy for the pretty eloi.
I could argue that programmers are the most essential force in game development; that you can have a game with bad art or bad design, but a game with bad code won't even run.
But I can't be too bitter; according to the GD salary survey, programmers do make more money than their eloi counterparts. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.