In 1996, a computer game company sold for $1.5 billion. That company was Sierra On-Line, and its creative head and public face, Roberta Williams, was a woman. Against everything we’ve come to believe about women’s opportunities in gaming, Williams reached the pinnacle of success. How?
Williams’ career began when she created the first adventure game with graphics, Mystery House, in 1980. (Fans of more recent adventure games like Life Is Strange or Telltale’s The Walking Dead have her to thank.)
Back then, “The climate of the early microcomputer software industry was one of vast openness,” Laine Nooney, a soon-to-be assistant professor of media and information Industries at New York University and a leading expert on Roberta Williams and early-’80s computer games, told Mic in an email.
There were no rules. All that mattered was seeing what the newly invented home computer could do.
Sierra On-Line sold for $1.5 billion because computer games, contrary to what most believe, aren’t men’s history. The true history of gaming is antithetical to today’s hyper-masculine, hyper-reactive “gamer culture.” If we want to recover the openness of the early years, our best hope is to tell their story, loudly and often, to anyone with ears to hear. Read more (7/28/17)