Roberta Williams: The mother of computer video games
Share Now on:
Complaints are rife that the video game industry treats female employees and female players as outsiders or worse. But it wasn’t always that way.
Laine Nooney, a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University, has been looking at the contributions of Roberta Williams, who in the early 1980s co-founded one of the early video game companies, Sierra Online.
“[Williams] was actually the designer of the first home computer adventure game with graphics,” says Nooney. The game was called Mystery House and was a murder mystery set in an abandoned Victorian house.
As adventure games took off in the early ‘80s, Sierra Online became one of the largest independent producers of home software in the country.
According to Nooney, at the time, developers and players did not see gaming as stictly a “guy’s thing.”
“[Williams] had a passion project about encouraging families to play together,” says Nooney, who notes that Williams railed against the couch-potato stereotype of gamers.
To hear more about Roberta Williams and the early days of video games, click on the audio player above.
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.