Strong Female Characters in Video Games

  • Date Published: May 10, 2020
  • Last Edited: June 27, 2020
  • Topic(s): Video games, Sony, Nintendo

These are the most empowering females in video games

Since the early days of Mrs. Pacman and Donkey Kong, female characters have been portrayed in video games. Designers didn’t take much time to develop interesting female characters with personality.

It’s important to note that most video games have always been produced, in the majority, by adult males. This means that the character design of females show off their skin or have voluptuous curves and large breasts. 

Times have changed, and character designs have improved to give women in video games less promiscuous attitudes and provocative clothing. They have taken on more serious roles and less of a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor. 

The most exceptional people I know happen to women. Unfortunately, women have always been mistreated or looked down upon for generations. It’s only up until less than 100 years ago women couldn’t vote, get a job, own a house, and do what every other male can accomplish. 

In the world of entertainment, women have also had fewer dominant roles. But during recent years, there’s been more content that helps target the different demographics of females. The new iterations of Ghost Busters and leading roles like Wonder Woman, the Crown, and Hunger Games helps empower females. 

Video games have been no exception. The characters listed here are women in video games that show signs of strength, kindness, and femininity. These women also need to be playable in video games and have had a significant role in pop culture.

9. Sonya Blade – Mortal Kombat

Wife of Johnny Cage and mother of Cassie Cage, Sonya Blade is one of the original women being responsible for the famous ESRB ratings. She’s the first female character ever to blow a kiss of death that burns her enemies into a skeleton. She’s tough as nails, and I wouldn’t ever think of crossing paths with a woman as tough as her.

8. Aloy – Horizon: Zero Dawn

Aloy is a naive young woman who is curious about the post-apocalyptic world she’s living in. After thousands of years, humanity has reverted to using primitive forms of survival. People are part of tribes without knowledge of technology since it is seen as taboo. 

Being an outcast and rebel, Aloy delves into forbidden territory, giving her a glimpse of the past and understanding more about the creation and destruction of humanity through technology. The knowledge she gains from her explorations helps her further adapt to the harsh environments of her world. 

7. Alyx – Half-Life

female characters

Alyx has always been more of a mysterious character with a strong role as Half-life 2’s story developed. The recent entry in the series Half-life: Alyx gives players the ability to play as her and view the world from her eyes. Fans get to enjoy Alyx’s mannerisms after waiting for thirteen years for her to appear on screen again.

Alyx is a rebel fighting for the benefit of the survival of others, she’s never in it for herself. She has a sense of wit and cunning.

She doesn’t mind having to result to violence to survive against the aliens that continually try to attack her. I don’t blame her as I also wouldn’t want a Head-crab to end my life or have the Combine imprison me.  

6. Bayonetta – Bayonetta

A strong female character is the umbra witch, Bayonetta. This woman loves fashion and luxury but doesn’t mind getting dirty. She executes hoards of demons and angels without thinking twice. 

Bayonetta will use everything that she has at her disposal to defeat her enemies quickly. Her choice of weapons can range from firearms to swords, hammers, whips, and more. She’s also got guns attached to her high heels. 

When Bayonetta needs to make a run for it, she can quickly transform into a puma and dash towards enemies, taking them out quickly. Her abilities also allow her to shapeshift into a snake underwater, or grow wings when jumping.

She can also slow down time, making it nearly impossible for anyone to attack her in this state. But her best power lies in her hair. That’s right; she can summon gigantic demons through the portals using her hair as the medium. Lastly, as a woman, she is wise and has a protecting nature, similar to a mother.

5. Lara Croft – Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is one of the first strongest female character in games. that changed the way how we perceived polygons in their early beginnings. Lara Croft was the woman who paved the way for other 3D women to come in the future. She is what we’d call an everyday hero. She’s extraordinarily intelligent, athletic, and adventurous. 

Her curiosity gets the better of her most of the time, causing her to get into rough territory. Her emotions also get in the way of her better judgment, but it’s part of what makes her a more believable character.

She’s always worried about her fellow companions and has the urge to help her enemies. But even though Lara can be fickle, she’s also a natural-born killer. Once she lets go of all her fears and emotions, she becomes a force to be reckoned with. 

4. Princess Zelda – The Legend of Zelda

At first glance, most people who aren’t familiar with video games often mistake Zelda as the main protagonist of the series. The Legend of Zelda games centers around the story of a young boy named Link whose destiny is to save the land of Hyrule from eternal darkness. During his adventures, he is tasked with saving Princess Zelda and working alongside her. 

Princess Zelda has now taken a more prominent role in the series, where players are now able to play as her in spinoffs. Since her inception in Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube, Princess Zelda has become a more cemented character in her franchise. Zelda has become less of the traditional defenseless princess and more of a warrior who will lead her people.

Being the heir to the royal bloodline of goddess Hylia, Zelda controls potent magic. She is the only person in the series capable of bestowing Link the light arrows, the most powerful and most refreshing weapon in the game to defeat Ganon.

3. Ellie – The Last of Us

Audiences were introduced to an innocent young girl naive about the outside world. Things haven’t been going well for her. She lost her parents, and her best friend recently died. 

To top it all off she’s been bitten by an infected person but miraculously is immune to the disease. No one knows about her immunity, except for a small circle of people. 

 In the dark themes that The Last of Us portrays, the world and the people have become even crueler. Ellie has had to toughen up and grow into a woman capable of surviving on her own. 

Knowing that her life is always on the line, she’s become ruthless when having to kill enemies. With her ability to withstand a deadly virus that has wiped out the majority of Earth’s population, Ellie can explore toxic areas without gas masks. 

During her grueling journey across the United States, Ellie has overcome many obstacles. She was encaged by a group of humans who would’ve eaten her or, even worse, raped her.

She’s survived a lot and is a complete badass. I honestly can’t wait for The Last of Us Part 2, which is to be released later this year.

2. Chun Li – Street Fighter 2

She’s a gorgeous oriental woman who. Since her inclusion in the series, she has stayed present in every interaction. Chun-Li is a cultural icon in video gaming history because of her keen sense of justice and desire to help others. Disciplined and committed to her job, Chun-Li works in the Interpol police force fighting crime to avenge the death of her father. 

In Street Fighter, she fights alongside Ryu and is continuously impressed by his skills and techniques. Her admiration also leads her to improve her moves, becoming one of the strongest fighters in the world. 

Hundreds of girls (and men) dress up as Chun-Li for cosplay because she’s a very likable character. The lighting fast kicks are an iconic characteristic of her move set. As such, her design often shows off her legs. Her appearance consists mostly of a traditional Chinese dress called a qipao with spiked metal knuckles as bracelets.

Nicki Minaj made a song called Chun-Li which I do not recommend listening to but you will anyways and you’ll see for yourself that it’s not that good. 

  1. 1. Samus Aran – Metroid 

female characters

Samus is a bounty hunter that moves through the galaxy fighting aliens and other monstrosities. She frequently encounters Space Pirates, extraterrestrial amphibian-like sentient creatures that travel trying to colonize anything they see. Space Pirates take a deep interest in Metroids, alien creatures with the power to absorb the life out of any living organism they come in contact with.

The majority of Samus’s adventures revolve around destroying Metroids as they are also seen as highly dangerous parasites with the ability to reproduce quickly and evolve into even deadlier versions of its former self. 

Samus and Metroid are highly inspired by the incredible 1979 film Alien, directed by Ridley Scott. One of the best things about Alien is the atmosphere and Metroid; atmosphere plays a vital role in the series. It sets the tone for the planets and hostile environments Samus encounters during her journey.

Samus Aran is an orphan and was raised by an intelligent and peaceful race of Aliens known as the Chozo. They were creators of the most significant technology in the universe and had expert knowledge about existence. To help Samus survive the extreme conditions of alien planets, the Chozo created the Power Suit. Apart from giving her protective armor, the suit also comes with a Power beam attached to her right arm that shoots out energy. Samus also can use different elements, explosives, and other alien technology once she acquires them from her adventures.

Without a doubt, this is a woman that every video game fan knows about and loves. Metroid games are golden gems of Nintendo and have been so well received that the franchise has won numerous game of the year awards. Currently, everyone is anxiously waiting for information about the next entry in the series, Metroid Prime 4.

Metroid games have even spawned a sub-genre of videogames known as Metroidvania, a mixture between the Metroid and Castlevania formula. The gameplay consists of adventuring into different areas of the map that later intertwine with one another. It also focuses heavily on backtracking, sections in games where players are not permitted into progressing forward and thus must find other paths to advance. Having done so allows them to encounter tools to progress into previously unreachable locations.

The thing that makes Samus a little bit more special than the rest is being part of a big plot twist. Back when no one knew anything about the character, every player would begin their adventure fighting aliens and happily reaching the end screen. Here players were finally given their first glimpse of Samus as she took off her helmet and revealed to be a woman.

Women have never been given primary roles in books, film, and video games; they’ve usually always been secondary support characters. Most would assume that during the time they were playing Metroid, the main protagonist would be a strong man, but to everyone’s surprise at the end, they were presented with a blonde woman. 

However, now the endings are controversial because depending on how fast you’re able to complete the game Samus will take off more of her pieces of clothing until she’s in a bikini.

This feature takes inspiration from the film Alien. At the end of the movie, Ripley,  the main protagonist takes off most of her clothing in an escape pod after believing to have lost the Alien.

Closing Thoughts

Samus’s reveal at the end helped shape the perspective of women in video games; it paved the way for what other women in video games could become and also contradict the stereotypes of weak women who need men to solve their problems. 

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