The Disappearance of Emily Butler

Development Blog | Dames Making Games 

Play the Game 

Emily Butler is still in early development stages.

A current working version can be downloaded from here: Download Emily Butler

Experiments: Prequel Comic | Iceberg Platformer 

Concept Work

The Disappearance of Emily Butler is a short-soon-to-be-longer point-and-click adventure game that is set in Newfoundland.


Emily Butler is visiting Newfoundland to rediscover her roots and research family history. She goes to visit her family’s old farm and spends the evening with her relatives. Her cousin tells her about a strange old artefact used in seal hunting history - a “hakapik”. She goes out to the old storeloft to look for it, and ends up finding a lot more than she bargained for…


Emily Butler is strongly based on my own experience, roots and background. Emily Butler’s name is taken from my own ancestors; Emily is the name of my Irish great-grandmother, Emily Katherine Gilbert (I was given her second name), and Butler is the surname of my great-great grandmother Mary Butler, whose family have been in Newfoundland since the late 1600’s and were one of the earliest European settlers.

I myself was born in Newfoundland but left when I was 3 years old to be raised in England. Although I’m a Brit for the most part, I’m fiercely proud of my Newfoundland heritage and will make sure everyone I meet knows where I was born!

Emily Butler was developed and created (in its current form) as part of the Difference Engine Initiative, a women-only game development incubator put together in association with Toronto’s Hand Eye Society and TIFF Nexus. It was featured as part of the Women in Film, Games and New Media Conference in December 2011.

The idea was inspired by a trip I made to Newfoundland in mid 2011 for 3 weeks to visit family & friends. It was a wonderful and memorable experience, andI discovered a wealth of culture, fascinating history, and, most importantly, my own cultural heritage. Emily Butler’s character is (probably obviously) based on me and the design of the storeloft in the game is heavily based on the one on my family’s estate in outport Newfoundland, where I spent a lot of time when I was there.