After 40 years, the creator of the game’s first heroine has been discovered

Van Mai, creator of one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history, has been discovered and interviewed Written by game historians Kate Willært and Kevin Bunch. Mai left the game industry shortly after completing her first project, and when the significance of her contributions was fully realized a few years later, historians and enthusiasts alike sought her out.

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 control a young girl, Billie Sue, as she fends off predatory bunnies in a carrot field. It was wildly popular at the time, and produced some impressive sprite work for the VCS, but it also has an important place in video game history: Billie Sue is one of our first female game protagonists on record, and the first A named heroine appeared on the home console.