Top Video Games Created by Women – In the past, video gaming was often classified as a male hobby. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, the vast majority of regular players were men, while most of the very first global gaming championships were attended by male competitors and their supporters. Still, this hasn’t always been the case.
Even as early as 1981, women were on the ground floor in the gaming industry. That year, Dona Bailey teamed up with Ed Logg to develop and release Centipede. This arcade game took off and became a hit in its own right. Professionals like Bailey began taking on more meaningful roles in the gaming industry, and a few decades later, women are a core part of the global gaming scene.
This is true in terms of streaming and competing. For example, players like Zainab Turkie (zAAz) are now competing at the highest level of games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and are earning top dollar for their efforts. Turkie has been pro since 2002 and has featured on rosters on teams like Fnatic.
Even outside of traditional games, women are letting their influence be known. For example, Jennifer Shahade is a professional poker player who regularly streams on Twitch. She went pro playing via online platforms like PokerStars, which offer tutorials, table games, and tournaments. Today, she has flipped that love of poker into a podcast called The Grid, which explores poker through a variety of lenses.
But what about video games that were created and developed by women over the last two decades? Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest hits in the industry.
Animal Crossing, Aya Kyogoku
Aya Kyogoku has been active at Nintendo for well over a decade. By the time she got around to producing Animal Crossing, Kyogoku had already helped create hits like Splatoon and even The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. In other words, she’s a core part of a legacy developer like Nintendo.
Since 2008, she has served as a primary director and producer of the Animal Crossing series. Specifically, she’s been focused on the game as it innovates within the social simulation space.
Portal, Kim Swift
Back in 2007, Portal became one of the most unique and memorable puzzle games on the market. In fact, along with the follow-up release of Portal 2, these games are sometimes regarded as the best ever made. Thanks to her unique history with games like Narbacular Drop, Swift was invited to present her idea for Portal to the team at Valve.
The idea quickly turned out to be a hit. The game is a puzzle that requires players to escape a ship with a rogue AI program using only a portal gun. It will challenge players to think spatially and push their minds into totally new territories.
Uncharted, Amy Hennig
Amy Hennig has been active in the gaming industry, stretching back to the 1980s. The Uncharted series borrowed heavily from hits like Indiana Jones, showcasing the exploits of a hero named Nathan Drake as he crossed the world in search of treasure. The series became so popular that it spawned a hugely successful Hollywood film release.
The Uncharted series marks one of the most long-running, successful, and greatest crossover hits that has ever been produced by a woman. Though Hennig eventually left the company producing the game during the development of its fourth installation, she has since contributed to another release, Forspoken.
BioShock, Alyssa Finley
Alyssa Finley led the release of BioShock back in 2007, along with its follow-up release in 2010. Both are considered some of the top gaming experiences for FPS and adventure gamers. The game transformed the experience by adding tons of weapons and combat tactics that hadn’t been seen before—especially not within the survival horror sector.
Finley was a primary contributor and producer on the project. Just like Portal, the original BioShock garnered hugely positive reviews and is often labelled as one of the best video games ever released. The original has since been remastered and re-released across various platforms.