After 40 years, the creator of one of gaming’s first female protagonists has been found

Van Mai, creator of one of the first female protagonists in video game history, was tracked down and interviewed by game historians Kate Willært and Kevin Bunch. Mai had left the gaming industry shortly after completing her first project, leaving historians and enthusiasts struggling to find her when the significance of her contribution was fully realized years later.

In 1982, Texas developer Apollo released a game called Wabbit for the Atari 2600 (also known as the Video Computer System or VCS). Wabbit is a shooter where you take control of a young girl, Billie Sue, as she fends off marauding bunnies from her carrot patch. He was well-received at the time and had some impressive sprite work for the VCS, but also holds an important place in video game history: Billie Sue is one of the game’s very first female protagonists that we recorded, and is the first named female protagonist to appear on home consoles.

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