It’s March 24th! Ada Lovelace Day! What does this mean? It means that today is a day to celebrate all women in technology!
Who was Ada?
Born Augusta Ada Byron, but now known simply as Ada Lovelace, she wrote the world’s first computer programs for the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose machine that Charles Babbage had invented. She translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, appending notes that included a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the machine – the first computer program. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.
Roberta Williams: Graphic Adventure Queen
Some people, over the years, thought that I only achieved what I had achieved because of my husband, but, I always countered those people that the company was started because of a game that I wrote – not something my husband wrote. Therefore, it could be argued that he was there because of ME, not vice versa.
My Tech Heroine: Roberta Williams (quoted above)
To those of you who know Roberta Williams, it should be of no surprise to you that I chose her as my tech heroine. I am a gamer. I have loved playing computer games, and Roberta Williams was the only woman to be included in PC Gamer’s Game God Exclusive. She is the genius behind one of the first huge computer adventures games: King’s Quest. She also created the much lesser known Dark Crystal computer game (a game I always wanted). She and her husband were the original masterminds behind Sierra On-line, one of the first computer game companies, and her company was the first to include a female as a main character in a game (which not only did NOT ruin the game, but brought in even more gamers – girls!).
Known as “Queen of the Graphic Adventure,” Williams made a significant impact in the world of computer gaming. She laid down the foundations of generations of adventure games. In a world dominated by men, Williams became the first successful female game designer, paving the way for the many females who have followed her footsteps. Adventure Classic Gaming even called her “the single most successful adventure game designer ever lived.” Between 1984 and 1998, eight different games came out in the series King’s Quest.
If you’ve ever had the chance to play these games, you’ll understand right away why I say that Roberta Williams is a worldbuilder. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I love adventure games. Not only does the games have their own histories and worlds, but I also just love games that challenge my mind – I love having to think about things and figure out how to do something to get to the next step. I prefer it over the brute-strength and waging battles of other games (even though I love WoW). King’s Quest is a great game because you have to take things you find earlier in the game and use them to solve something later on. One of the reasons I’m such a hoarder in Warcraft is because in King’s Quest, every single item might have meaning later on in the game (even a rotten apple core!) and you shouldn’t throw away anything. You never know what might be useful.
Roberta Williams created a new way to play adventure games. You could say that she’s the reason we have such deep layers of history in even the most heavily played MMORPGs. When it comes to computers, gaming, and technology, Roberta Williams has cemented her place in history. She is the number one female gamer ever.
Who’s your female tech heroine?
5 thoughts on “Women in Tech: Roberta Williams”
I like that you point out that a successful woman can be well supported in a partnership with a man for business and be a success in her own right at the same time.