Location: Bellevue | Employees: 30
For generations, the adventures of fictional teen sleuth Nancy Drew have taught girls the importance of reading, self-reliance and intelligence. Shepherding that tradition into modern times is Her Interactive, a leading maker of computer and mobile games, and winner of nearly 30 Parents’ Choice Awards.
As befits its name, Her Interactive makes video games primarily for young women, an underserved demographic in an industry full of shoot-’em-ups and war titles. The firm’s success illustrates how far apart supply and demand are for these girl-focused games: Her Interactive notes its Nancy Drew titles have been the top PC mystery franchise since 2004, outselling prominent franchises such as Tomb Raider and Harry Potter.
Reading is not as integral to Nancy Drew’s roughly 30 computer games as her hundreds of books, but many of the characteristics that make the young detective so compelling are still present. With challenging puzzles, historical references and characters, and exotic real-life locales, Her Interactive presents Nancy Drew’s empowering and educational adventures in a manner that respects the character’s 80-year history, but with an experience tailored to a new generation of women.
Location: Seattle | Employees: 50
for a company that operates the fail blog, a website dedicated to every variety of wrong move, Seattle-based Cheezburger has seen a good deal of success. Named for a viral internet meme featuring a kitten that wants to “haz cheezburger,” the company has since grown into a network of humor websites that generate huge amounts of online humor every day, as well as a fair number of books. Online pop culture is obsessed with memes and anything to do with cats. Whatever you think of that development, Cheezburger shoulders a good deal of the credit.