Twelve-year old Maddie Messer loves video games, and she plays a lot of them. In fact, she plays so many that she eventually realized something was wrong. Most of the video game characters are boys—and Maddie is a girl. So she set out to get video game companies to offer more girl characters.
Maddie noticed that when she downloaded a new game, most often the free character was a male. Anyone who wanted to play with a girl character would usually have to pay, and some games didn’t even offer girl characters! With some help from her parents, Maddie downloaded the top 50 “Endless Running Games” in the iTunes store. Endless Running Games, like Temple Run, are very popular with Maddie and her friends. In fact, most of the people who play Temple Run are girls.
After Maddie downloaded all of the games, she looked at them and counted which ones offered girl characters. She also checked to see how much the girl character would cost. What Maddie found surprised her. Out of all 50 games, less than half even offered girl characters! And many of the girl character were expensive to buy. “I was hoping there would be more girls. But there just weren’t,” Maddie says. “And I was kind of bummed, like, come on!”
Maddie didn’t stop there, though! She put all her notes together onto a spreadsheet and wrote an opinion letter to the Washington Post. In the letter, she wrote how few girl characters were offered for gameplay. The newspaper published her letter, and it ended up being read by the makers of Temple Run. The Temple Run creators were surprised and embarrassed, and promised that soon, Temple Run players will have a free girl character to choose from. One game maker even worked with Maddie to create a character that looks and sounds like her!
By making her voice heard, Maddie convinced the game industry to make some big changes. What kind of changes do you want to make in the world?