Photo by
Photo by Burger Becky Homepage

Rebecca Heineman


Olde Skuul




Olde Skuul




Olde Skuul


Lifestyle & Culture






What makes Rebecca Heineman a Global Shaker?

American video game programmer Rebecca Heineman is credited as one of the longest-serving veterans of the industry. Her foray into the world of gaming kicked off in November 1980 after she won the Atari-sponsored National Space Invaders Championship, making her the first person in the world to win a national video game competition.

She is a member of the advisory board of the Video Game History Museum and the board of directors of LGBTQ+ organisation GLAAD. She has also participated in the PressXY speakers group, where professionals in the game industry discuss topics at the intersection of gaming and transgender issues.

This is a result of her own personal journey: Around 2003, she transitioned to a woman. In an interview with Retro Gamer, she explained that in the ’80s, while writing for Electronic Games magazine, transitioning would’ve been an “automatic firing offence.” And when she did transition, she adds, most of the gaming industry—other than her employers, Electronic Arts—did not accept her decision.

Rebecca’s career quickly gathered momentum after her Space Invaders fame, and by the late 1980s, she had played a lead programming role in cult classic adventure games such as Tass Times in Tonetown, The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate, Mindshadow and The Tracer Sanction. By the end of the decade, Rebecca had achieved widespread recognition for her programming of the Macintosh, Super NES and Apple IGS Ports for Another World.

However, her career hasn’t been limited to the days of retro gaming. Across the course of a nearly four-decade career, the programming pioneer has collaborated with several gaming companies such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Microsoft and Bloomberg. As the current CEO of Seattle-based Olde Skuul, she has overseen the release of several popular titles such as Battle Chess and Descent.

In recent years, Rebecca has received widespread praise for publicly releasing the source code to the 3DO version of first-person classic, Doom. The founding member of Logicware, Interplay Productions and Contraband Entertainment has also attracted a loyal fan base for her anime fiction, which she works on in her spare time.

Tags: LGBTQ+, video games

Last updated: March 31, 2020