Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Friday, 17 June 2011 11:00
There is a long list of women in video games who defy the odds. Most of them are protagonists, and a few of them are allies. Here is a list of some of the top women in video games from the last 20 years.
She may not look like much but she’s been the centerpiece for a number of Resident Evil games. She was even in Marvel vs Capcom 2. She’s got what gamers need in a game like Resident Evil: an iron will. She never backs down from a fight and she possesses a great code of honor, stopping at nothing to take down the enemy. I remember in Resident Evil 3 for the original PlayStation that I really got attached to Jill. Nothing beats taking on Nemesis while fleeing a burning Raccoon City. Whether she’s blasting Zombies or saving teammates, Jill Valentine is the type of female video game character modern gamers need more of.
Who doesn’t love Samus? Remember when you found out she was a girl in the original Metroid game for NES? I was completely surprised and ignorant at the time that a female character could make that great of a game. Samus Aran is the kind of women that could take on any challenge and live to tell about it. She has a been in a number of great games including Nintendo’s lovable mash-up-fighter series, Super Smash Brothers. Over the years she has transitioned from 8-bit systems to the Wii, in all of this Samus has lost none of her attributes that made her great.
Fondly remembered as the go-to-girl of mid-1990s PC gaming. Lara has been in at least 10 games. But I’d say she is best known for digging up treasures and taking down dinosaurs. Most gamers may remember Lara for other reasons. But gamers saw this popular heroine in a new light in the last few years. And last year’s XBL/PSN’s game, Guardian of Light was the perfect sort of new gaming focus for Lara. Furthermore, at E3 this year gamers were treated to some footage of a new Tomb Raider game. We now know the series is being rebooted with a grittier Lara Croft who as always isn't afraid to get her hands dirty.
By now I am sure at least some of you have played Mass Effect 1 or 2 using the female version of Commander Shepard. She’s not much different than her male counterpart in that she's fiercely loyal and willing to sacrifice herself to save her crew and civilization. I would say ideally, depending on the way gamers play Shepard, she might be the ultimate female gaming protagonist.
What is a Zelda game without the princess? Princess Zelda always seems to be getting kidnapped by someone and Link has to try to rescue her. This all changed in the N64’s Ocarina of Time when Zelda took on a disguise and became Sheik. She ended up lending a helping hand to Link on several occasions. She also makes a great character in Super Smash Brothers Melee and Brawl. What more can I say, she is a princess capable of handling herself.
Claire Redfield is another favored female protagonist from the Resident Evil series. Jill or Claire, the argument persists, who is better? Jill has been in more games. But Claire is just as good in a firefight and like Jill she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She knows how to take down zombie-fied monsters without batting an eye. She’s willing to help others, as seen in Resident Evil 2 and is usually concerned about Chris, her older brother. Claire is the type of female character modern games could use more of.
I am sure there quite a few more I may have passed over like Alyx Vance, the lovable Princess Peach, gun-totting Joanna Dark, and The Boss (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater). I think it comes down to this, most male gamers won’t admit they enjoy playing as a strong female character who can hold her own. Yet their popularity keeps growing as gamers find more and more ways to relate to them. So readers, who are your favorite female characters, and why?