Mabel Addis
Credit: gamehistory.org

Although her name might not familiar with gamers today, the work of Mabel Addis will be felt throughout the gaming world for eons to come.  Mabel is the first video game writer and first female video game designer in history. Born on May 21, 1912, she excelled in academics early, graduating as Valedictorian in 1929  from Brewster High School. She further completed her education by receiving a bachelor degree from Barnard College in 1933 and received a master’s degree in education from Columbia University. Mabel went into teaching which was her love and once again she excelled. While teaching, Mabel Addis wrote articles on history, conceived an oral history collection, and co-authored a series of books; Quite an accomplishment for a small town teacher.

First Video Game Writer

It was during the summer of 1966 when history was officially made as Mabel Addis wrote the Sumerian Game, which was the first video game to have a narrative. The educational game was created with elementary school kids in mind. It was the first of its kind as it included the the use of a projector. Although her game has ranked as one of the influential video games to have ever been created, not many of us know about her genius. What’s even more extraordinary is the fact that Addis accomplished this at a time when career opportunities for women were more limited than they are today.

The Sumerian Game

Long before video games became a cultural phenomenon, there came an innovative game that was forgotten all too quickly. The Summerian was developed, keeping the elementary school goers in mind. Players were the ruler of Lagash. The resource management game allows you to make decisions that will keep your kingdom and subjects happy.

The Sumerian Game has a brilliant narrative that aided the player through the Mesopotamian town of Lagash set in 3500 BC. With the narrative and eye-catching graphics, the game turned from a simple education tool to an iconic historic. Thus her life and contribution to gaming industry is significant. One of the most significant aspects of the game was its narrative, which shaped the game as a story. With high defining look at the time and the point narration, The Sumerian game stands out as an innovative and spectacular video game.

The sumerian game

Importance of The First Video Game Designed By a Woman

Mabel Addis had extraordinary vision not only becoming the first-ever female to bring a video game to life but also is a major contributor to the high-definition graphics and step-by-step narration. The Sumerian Game began as a project by IBM’s Bruise Monecriff. William Mckay handled the programming part, however, it was bought to life by a brilliant school teacher. Ironically, Mabel didn’t work on any other video games and continued teaching there until 1976. Mabel Addis was contributed to creating a game that was far ahead of its time. She worked consistently on the Sumerian Game once the idea was conceived and began writing for the narrative script.  Her vision and dedication made the game a trendsetter of video games in the era when visual entertainment was backed by only programming. Pioneer for not only women in gaming but the gaming industry as a whole.

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