Rockett - Rockett and Whistling Pines Newsletter

The educational video game heroines (and villains) of yesteryear

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Mar 11, 2018, 10:01 AM EDT

Video game heroines have been around much longer than you’re probably aware of. It’s nothing new that women are taking charge in your favorite series. We’re just seeing a few more these days. But to really appreciate them, we also need to turn an eye to the past so we know where some of our faves came from.

Today, we'll be looking at a selection of video game heroines culled from educational games from the '90s throughout the 2000s, the veritable heyday for edutainment. From Carmen Sandiego to Freddi Fish, you'll see some of the more noteworthy female heroines and influencers from one of the greatest eras for kids' software ever.

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Carmen Sandiego - Sneaky Carmen

Carmen Sandiego, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

So let's face it. Carmen Sandiego wasn't quite a heroine -- she was an amazing villain -- but she was always forcing us to think on our feet. The early days of games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and the other games' spinoffs made us feel like veritable detectives when we could hunt her down successfully, and she left quite the impression on yours truly. Carmen is impossibly cool, the feckless leader of V.I.L.E. and sometimes the antiheroine who turns the tables to help you out. Yes, you! What did you ever do to become so deserving? She became one of the most recognizable faces of edutainment during the medium's golden era, and for that she should always be lauded. 

Purple Moon - Rockett Movado

Rockett Movado, Rockett's New School

The Purple Moon series introduced us to one of the most unforgettable middle schoolers out there in PC gaming: Rockett Movado. The star of Rockett's New School, Rockett's Tricky Decision, and several other preteen-focused adventure games, Rockett was a relatable avatar through which we could test out friendships, interactions, and learn how to be true friends with others. Her series of adventures were an integral part of many a young girl's first PC gaming sessions and they're still extremely fun and enjoyable today. Rockett was a pioneer of a character for her time, and she deserves more than to be lost to the sands of time. 

Math Blaster - Galactic Commander

Galactic Commander, Math Blaster

Galactic Commander, aka Princess G.C. of Omega is a boss lady. She's been the boss ever since the original Math Blaster, assigning orders to Blasternaut and Spot from her position at the Galactic Space Patrol. She's not only a princess, but calm in the face of danger, a calculating and strategic planner, and most importantly a leader kids learned to emulate if they played through the Math Blaster series and their reboots. She's seen several different looks over the years, but her cunning and personality still remain just as sterling as ever. Let us not forget that she's more commander than princess, too. 

Freddi Fish - Freddi Fish and Luther

Freddi Fish, Freddi Fish series

Hands up if you knew Freddi Fish was a girl when you played the Humongous Entertainment games back in 1994. Nope? Didn't think so. Yes, young and courageous Freddi was one of the greatest characters introduced to kids back in the '90s. Freddi herself is a rambunctious tot who can handle just about anything, from stolen conch shells to missing kelp seeds. A real Nancy Drew under the ocean along with her friend Luther, there's no mystery that's too big for her to solve. She's doing more work than most of the "detectives" out there in other series, that's for sure. Plus, just look at that cute little face!

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing - Cover

Mavis Beacon, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing

Hear me out. No, Mavis Beacon isn't a real person. She's a character, the clever amalgam of a model's face and a singer's voice. But she was one of the first "heroines" in edu-tainment who helped us learn how to type beyond hunting and pecking, which my teachers always hated me for. It was just as fast, I thought, but I decided to give Mavis Beacon and her kid-friendly versions a chance, and now I'm a ridiculously fast typist. Give it up for the Mavis Beacon who became just as real in our minds as a heroine for letting us loose on the keyboard and teaching me that keeping my hands close to home was the best move I could ever have made to improve my typing speed.