Bis today, a female video game developer was lost to history

Bis today, a female video game developer was lost to history ...

Kate Willaert and Kevin Bunch, a video game historian, have spent years searching for Van Mai. Theyve sent letters to the area where Mai worked for Apollo, searched the internet, and other records. But now they have discovered her.

As it turns out, the Mais name was not remembered exactly right: For some time, the historians thought they were looking for a Vietnamese woman named Ban Tran. With the Discord channel for finding Mai, a group of collaborators realized that the Wabbit developer they were looking for was actually Van Tran, who now lives under her married name, Van Mai. When Apollo went bankrupt in the early 1980s, records of former employees requesting verification. Mai was also one of those employees.

Due to her involvement in Wabbit, the first video game for home consoles with a human female protagonist, Willaert and Bunch had been looking for Mai. Wabbit, which was first released in 1982 on the Atari 2600, features a character called Billie Sue, who protects her carrot crops from rabbits.

I don''t think it''s quite significant that the video game industry has been male-dominated since its creation, but that doesn''t mean that no women have made games, and I think it''s important to take a back seat to this narrative by commemorating the many women who have actually arrived from early on.

Mai visited the United States as a refugee at the end of the Vietnam War, but was initially hired by Apollo because it took four to six months to create. However, Apollo filed for bankruptcy shortly after her release.

Although Polygon wrote in 2021, the gaming industry had a particularly difficult time keeping its own history even with modern games. The importance of understanding women''s influence on early game history has been overlooked.

Although a lot of people out there believe that video games were always developed by guys for them, when when games of the Genesis era were usually intended for the whole family, women werent discouraged from learning to program, according to Willaert. It''s important to ensure that women are not, like, biologically incapable of doing these things if given the chance.

Mai''s recovery was a huge bonus, according to Willaert; for a while, the police thought she might have died. Several individuals had discovered a news article about a Ban Tran who was brutally murdered in the mid 80s, she said. If we could simply verify it, it was likely the same person.

Willaert maintained: The Van Tran breakthrough was such a major shift my in my reality. Even when Kevin told me he heard back from her, it almost didn''t appear real!

Mai continued to work with former colleagues at MicroGraphic Image after Apollo closed, according to Willaert and Bunch. After a few months working on a solar Fox Atari 5200 port, she left the video game industry, making for a long-term career.

Here''s a guy who non-promoted video games but purposely created a game specifically for young girls, a demographic that even today is somewhat underserved, according to Bunch. And its impressive, which you can''t say about the majority of Apollos programming!