Ten Coming-of-Age Games Starring Strong Girls and Women
Empowering Girls, Women in Animation

Coming-of-Age Video Games Starring Strong Girls and Women

By Claire Graman

Coming-of-age stories capture what is perhaps the most difficult part of life, the hard transition from childhood to adulthood. In this genre, hero(ine)s discover their identity, test relationships, and navigate an often cruel and nonsensical world. Video games make this journey more immediate, as you guide your protagonist on their quest.

In these coming-of-age video games starring strong girls and women, players are active heroines, shaping their destinies on epic adventures.

Horizon zero dawn

Horizon Zero Dawn

This action adventure game takes place in a distant future where humans live in tribal societies while robotic beasts roam the land. You play as Aloy, a young woman raised as an outcast, as she uncovers her mysterious past, hunts robots, and saves the world. Available for PlayStation 4 and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 13+.

Life is strange

Life is Strange

In this narrative-driven game, you play as Max, a high school girl in a coastal Oregon town who finds she has the power to control time. Max is a fully developed character with relationships, a past, and hobbies. An added bonus is the central theme of female friendship. Available for PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 260 and One, and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 16+.


Child of light

Child of Light

In this fairy tale role-playing game, the princess takes up a sword and controls her own destiny after being transported to a fantastical world. With unique characters, a watercolor world, and an outstanding soundtrack by Béatrice Martin, this game will leave lasting impression. Available for Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 10+.




In this widely-acclaimed game, you play as a young woman climbing a mountain. This simple premise provides a powerful parallel for the heroine’s own battle with depression and anxiety. Available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 10+.


Gone Home

Gone Home

This ground-breaking narrative game has simple controls, but complex themes, as it explores teen identity and sexuality. Available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 15+.


Falcon age

Falcon Age

In this virtual reality game, you play as a young woman fighting a colonial power with the help of her falcon. With themes of cultural identity, freedom, and friendship, this game is a hidden gem. Available PlayStation 4 and Virtual Reality. Common Sense Media rates this 13+.




Named after the children’s game, Oxenfree follows a group of teenagers on one last camping trip before college. Unfortunately, they are coping with the recent death of a friend. Even more unfortunately, the abandoned island they’re camping on seems to be very haunted. Available for Mac, Windows, and Xbox One. Common Sense Media rates this 14+.


What remains of Edith Finch

What Remains of Edith Finch

In this interactive story inspired by magical realism, you play as the titular Edith Finch, a young woman exploring the history of a family curse and how it impacts her own life. Available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 13+.




In this fighting, fantasy game, you play as Ajna, a teenage girl trying to avenge the death of her father. With charming animation and a story steeped in Southeast Asian culture and mythology, Indivisible showcases what indie games can offer. Available for Linux, Mac, Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Common Sense Media rates this 13+.


Broken age

Broken Age

Broken Age tells the stories of two teenagers “seeking to break the tradition in their lives.” Vella is a young woman fated to be sacrificed to a monster, while Shay is a young man adrift on a mysterious spaceship. With a clever story, top voice-acting talent, and engaging puzzles, Broken Age is well worth exploring. Available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Common Sense Media rates this 13+.


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Girls Design and Play Their Own Video Games
Empowering Girls, Women in Animation

Girls Design and Play Their Own Video Games

We had fun and learned some of the basics of computer commands during Scratch Programming for Girls on February 20, 2020 at Ophelia’s Place. Students created their own “chase” games using the free program Scratch. Choosing from motion, looks, sound, backdrops and more, students used their imaginations and creativity to animate characters that ranged from squirrels to a loaf of bread!

The first computer programmer: Ada Lovelace

Claire Graman led the class, starting off with a short PowerPoint presentation. Claire showed the girls photos of Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, and Melba Ray Mouton, head mathematician and programmer at


Claire Graman at Ophelia’s Place

NASA, who coded the spaceship trajectories in the 1960s. Then, Claire defined programming, which is, simply put, telling a computer what to do. She demonstrating basic If/Then/Else logic, reminding the class that computers aren’t very smart, and that they should be patient and try again if something didn’t work right away.

Girls Design and Play

The girls started out creating a sprite, and then added commands to make something happen to the sprite based on certain conditions. For example, if the player presses the left arrow, the sprite moves to the left. The characters ran, leaped, flipped, glided and chased. Much hilarity ensued!IMG_4211

Our next offering at Ophelia’s Place will be Digital Photography on May 6 at 4:30 pm. More details coming soon!




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flipbook animation
Empowering Girls, Women in Animation

Flipbook Animation Class at Ophelia’s Place

On January 28, 2020, Girls’ Voices Matter lit up the classroom at Ophelia’s Place! It was rainy and cold outside, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the girls who attended GVM’s first Flipbook Animation Class. Using Post-It notes, numbered pre-made blank flipbooks, light-powered tracing boards, and colored pens, students made their own flipbooks, drawing a 2-second, 24 frame animated flower.

IMG_4163Introduction to animation

Claire Graman started us off with an introduction to animation. Using the famous example of “the horse question”—in 1876, Edward Muybridge used a series of photographs to prove that during a gallop, all four of a horse’s legs left the ground at the same time—Claire explained how a series of moving pictures, whether film or drawings, creates the illusion of movement. From the very first animated films to video games, Claire told the class that women have always been involved in this art form, and that it was once believed that women were better colorists than men, since women have better color vision!

Beginning flipbook animation

The girls started out with a warm-up exercise of drawing a moving dot, then a stick figure waving its arm. They then started working on the flipbook, using LED tracing boards to carefully draw each frame. In the flipbook, a flower pops out of the ground; the girls drew red, pink, and purple flowers emerging from green grass.

At the end of class, each girl finished her flipbook with a cover, and bound it with ribbons.


Claire Graman giving introduction.

We had a wonderful time, and look forward to teaching our next class at Ophelia’s Place, Scratch Game Programming for Girls!









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