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

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Van Mai, creator of one of the first female protagonists in videogame history, has been found and interviewed by gaming historians Kate Willært and Kevin Bunch. Mai had left the games industry shortly after completing her first project, leaving historians and enthusiasts struggling to find her when the importance of her contribution was fully realized years later.

In 1982, Texas-based 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 rabbits from her carrot patch. It was well-received at the time, and had some impressive sprite work for the VCS, but also holds an important place in videogame history: Billie Sue is one of the very first female game protagonists we have on record, and is the first named female protagonist to appear on home consoles.

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