Overwatch Team Makes a Little Girl's Day (and ours too!)

Sometimes I need a reminder that the Internet isn’t all MRAs, vile Youtube comment threads, and doxxing. This one did the trick and hit me right in the Feels.

First off, if you haven’t looked into Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment’s newest game, you are missing out. It’s a First-Person Shooter, which may immediately turn off a number of folks, but hear me out. This isn’t Call of Duty or some other grim modern warfare scenario.

If you actually dig deeper into Blizzard’s site and watch their amazing cinematics, there is a fairly grim story behind it all. But the cartoon style of the graphics—a sort of World of Warcraft aesthetic with all the spectacular upgrades from Borderlands 2—make this game a delight to look at. And it's family-friendly, to boot.

Each character in Overwatch has a backstory, along with specific skills and powers. And best of all? The cast of characters is incredibly diverse. About half of the characters are female, and there's a brilliant blend of races and cultures.

But before I get excited talking up Overwatch, let’s focus on this delightful exchange:

Shane Hickey’s daughter Ava is an Overwatch fan, and she drew up this super cute idea for a new character called Birst, which her dad tweeted at the Overwatch team.
Can I take a moment to squee at a dad gamer cultivating his daughter’s love for not only video games, but self-expression?

Inspired by Ava, Blizzard artists got to work and created concept art based on her drawing:
And even better? Shane recorded a video of Ava getting to see her design as concept art:
I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Seriously #Birst had been trending since this exchange. Even the official Twitter account got in on the action:

Full disclosure, I am a Blizzard fangurl and have been for a long time.

At a time when women and girls seem to be actively discouraged from traditionally masculine pursuits like video games (even though studies have shown that more women than men play them) this is inspiring indeed—even moreso considering all the barriers to including women in the tech industry.

Big thanks to Blizzard for not just making a child’s day, but probably providing encouragement and inspiration for a little girl to love video games and art a little more than she already did. And who can say? She might even grow up to become part of the tech industry.

As for right now? I desperately want to play as Birst in Overwatch. Make it so, Blizzard!

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.