We review 10 of the most important female characters in the history of video games; from the origins of the medium to the present.
From the moment that video games became somewhat more complex and included stories with characters detailed in them, we have been able to meet various female profiles that have gone from princesses whose sole function was to be saved to strong and independent protagonists. The role of women in the world of videogames has evolved in line with the progress we have made as a society and despite the fact that there is still a lot to be done, we are glad that this Top 10 of the most important female characters falls short ( since we would like to add many more). Below you will find a complete list with various essential players to enhance representation and inclusion in a medium that has begun to take steps in the right direction but still has a lot to move forward.
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
It could not be other than the great Lara Croft who initiated this list, since it is one of the best known female icons inside and outside the borders of the video game industry. Created by Core Design and Eidos Interactive in 1996, it was conceived as an adventurer, archeologist, treasure hunter and reckless British woman. Its initial design was created to have a striking shape (we just have to remember its exaggerated pyramidal breasts) but despite this it was a before and after in the world of video games by being a female protagonist within an action title, adventure and puzzles as groundbreaking as the first Tomb Raider was.
The saga continued throughout the years and there have been dozens of major and secondary deliveries in which we have been able to play as Lara Croft. With the change of hands of development of the main saga to Crystal Dynamics the saga took an important turn (necessary after the fall of the saga with The Angel of Darkness) and in the last installment, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we met a Lara ready for action, with a realistic and muscular physique.
In addition to video games, Lara Croft has appeared on the big screen up to three times (played by Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander respectively), in comics and novels and even in hundreds of merchandising products. It is an icon whose history already has more than two decades and still has no intention of ending its adventures.
Samus Aran, Metroid
Metroid still has a more distant origin, since the first videogame of the saga was released in 1986 and designed by Nintendo Reserch & Development 1 and Intelligent Systems for the Family Computer Disk System and years later for Game Boy Advance. The argument of the more than 11 titles in which Metroid has appeared is based on embodying the bounty hunter Samus Aran and trying to protect the galaxy from the fearsome space pirates.
From the beginning the protagonist was conceived as feminine, although when wearing armor that protects her completely throughout the game, many thought that it was a male protagonist. The developers were smart to include a secret ending with surprise, which could be unlocked if the title was completed in less than an hour. In it, Metroid took off his armor and revealed himself as a beautiful and athletic young woman. This curiosity has been maintained throughout the saga with Samus “Zero Suit” (without armor, with a tight blue body) if the players are skilled enough to finish each game in record time.
Despite presenting a somewhat sexualized appearance when not wearing the armor, Samus has become over time and the progress of his games in an icon among the female characters of videogames.
Chun-Li, Street Fighter
The mythical saga of fighting Street Fighter landed on the Arcade arcade machines for the first time in 1987, although it was not until its second installment that there really was a before and after in the games of this genre, in addition to reaping great success. Its playable premise is not very complicated, but the importance lies with its characters. Most of the squad's squad was presented composed of muscular men, but there was one that stood out for being different: Chun-Li.
One of the most recognized faces of the Street Fighter saga stood out for its agile mobility and powerful kicks, thanks to which it has accumulated a good ration of victories over the years. As for her appearance, according to the official online encyclopedia of Street Fighter: “She wears a qipao, which although it is originally from the Manchuria region, is a traditional Chinese dress that became very popular among girls in the early twentieth century "
Its design has evolved throughout its history, but it has always maintained its key characteristics and its speed, in addition to knocking its opponents with the help of its famous movement "Hyakuretsukyaku" (Lightning Kick). Over time other fighting companions ended up arriving, but Chun-Li was the first in a 1 vs. 1 fighting video game and therefore we will always remember her as an iconic character.
Jill Valentine, Resident Evil
The well-known franchise that made zombies and the survival horror genre fashionable was born in 1996 with the first game in the saga. Throughout its history it has had numerous adaptations to the cinema, novels and comics and we are currently waiting for the arrival of Resident Evil 3: Remake, so the saga is still in full shape.
From the first ER they gave us the option to choose between Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield as a playable character. Both are members of the special unit S.T.A.R.S. sent to the Racoon City mansion to investigate the mysterious incident that triggered the virus created by Umbrella Corporation. In this case, the plot varied slightly if we chose her, in addition to presenting an easier level of difficulty than in the case of Chris's route. Despite this detail, Jill is a reference among the female protagonists for being prepared for any situation and being able to cope with intelligence or force as the situation requires.
Zelda, The Legend of Zelda
The master Shingeru Miyamoto created with Takashi Tezuka back in 1986 The Legend of Zelda, which would become one of the most successful and known video game franchises in history. His plot premise puts us in the role of the hero of time, Link, who must save Princess Zelda (often reincarnation of Goddess Hylia) from the villain, who is usually Ganon. Each of them has a fragment of the Triforce, a relic that is divided between Power, Wisdom and Valo; fragments that Ganon plans to gather to have absolute power while Link and Zelda try to stop him.
In the first games she was just a princess without too much weight in the plot (although the saga bears her name in the title). Even so, with the years and the evolution of the deliveries, its role has been gaining much more importance. In some like Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass she appears as Tetra, a pirate who helps Link in the adventure. In the acclaimed TLoZ: Ocarina of Time we see her characterized by her alter ego, Sheik, who has the appearance of a muscular young woman from the Sheikah tribe but is actually the hidden princess who helps Link move forward in the story. Finally, in Breath of the Wild we met a much more human Zelda. A young woman with insecurities who had to bear a heavy weight on her back to fulfill the legend she has always been chained to.
As we can see, both her appearance (changing the pink dress for a blue trouser suit) and her personality have evolved throughout history. Everything indicates that in the face of the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will still have more prominence and, who knows, maybe even the wish of many will be fulfilled and become a playable character.
Peach, Mario Bros.
"Thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle!"
We have heard this phrase countless times when completing the different levels that the Mario Bros. saga has presented in its long history. It is one of the best known video game franchises of all time that was born from the minds of Shingeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi in 1981. The first appearance of the protagonist was as Jumpman in the Donkey Kong game. Mario's name was obtained in his first video game of his own, two years later. An Italian plumber who along with his brother Luigi (hence Bros., Brothers) had to advance through the levels of platforms with the final mission to save Princess Peach, who had been captured by the main enemy of the saga: Bowser .
Blonde, with blue eyes and a pink dress, Princess Peach (peach in English) has appeared in the numerous installments of the saga, presenting almost always a secondary and dependent role. He has been an equally playable character in games like Mario Kart or Smash Bros. and in 2005 he had his own video game, Super Princess Peach, in which he was the protagonist and the roles were exchanged with Mario. It was she who had to save the Italian plumber. Although this title had a much roster overall appearance and aimed at the female audience, it is a step that should have laid the foundations to bring a new game starring the princess but adapted to current times. In Super Mario Odyssey we saw a breakthrough, when Peach decided to take a suitcase and travel the world in the company of Tiara, but there is still room for a significant delivery that puts the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom in the foreground and with a good treatment.
Bayonetta, a name shared by the games and the protagonist, is a hack & slash title developed by Platinum Games. It puts us in the skin of the provocative witch who must face numerous hordes of enemy angels to advance through the adventure and solve various dilemmas of her past. Although initially the approach of the game may seem only focused on the action, when we advance in the plot we discover that the protagonist is the daughter of a Witch of Umbra and a Sage of Lumen (two clans faced by a great war), so that she has a key role in the balance of both sides.
The character of Bayonetta is built in an ironic and exaggerated way so that his sensuality is another weapon of his arsenal, next to the four guns he possesses (two in hand and two as heels) and his long mane, which serves as a suit (yes, what covers his body is his hair) and to attack his enemies. The glasses that give him an intellectual air are the icing on the cake to build a sarcastic and funny woman, who ends up with everyone who is put forward in an agile way through the movements he makes, which could well be included within contemporary dance For all this, the Witch of Umbra is a protagonist that likes both players and players, although many would appreciate that in the face of the nearby Bayonetta 3 from Platinum Games they consider withdrawing according to which positions too sexualized in order to give it an even more powerful and respectable to Bayonetta.
Ellie, The Last of Us
Developed by Naughty Dog in 2013, The Last of Us proposed us the mission of surviving in a post-apocalyptic environment razed by the mutant plague of the Cordyceps fungus. It is an alternative version of the classic zombies, which we have faced in various video games, which transforms humans into dangerous and cannibal creatures. The protagonists, Joel and Ellie, have to learn to survive and overcome all adversities in company.
In this first installment, the protagonist is Joel, but it is the young Ellie who has the greatest relevance in history because she is immune to the virus and a possible solution to the plague that is killing all humanity. The relationship between the two can be described as father and daughter since, although they do not have direct blood ties, Joel lost his biological daughter shortly after the incident broke out and therefore ended up seeing in Ellie a figure to protect and teach . However, during the adventure there are several occasions when she has to save him and protect him. Being a girl and not having great physical strength, Ellie must manage to make use of stealth and learn to handle the weapons at her disposal.
Ellie starred in the title DLC, Left Behind, in which we can experience some tragic events from her past. In them we meet Riley, her best friend and who she was in love with, and we live the moment when she loses her forever. In the nearby The Last of Us Part 2, Ellie will gain even more prominence and, from what we have seen in trailers and gameplay, it will not be an easy road. Even so, since Naughty Dog they have taken a very important step forward by openly presenting a kiss with Dina, who will be a key piece in the future of the protagonist in this highly anticipated sequel.
Kassandra, Assassin's Creed
The French company Ubisoft gathers a large number of titles and sagas behind it. One of the best known is Assassin's Creed, which started in 2007 with its first installment and already presents a good collection of clashes between the guild of murderers and that of the Templars. The franchise even reached the cinema (although with a questionable result) and it is easy to see how throughout its numerous deliveries most games have starred in male characters: Altaïr, Desmond, Ezio, Connor, Edward Kenway, etc. It was not until Liberation (2012, for PSVita) when we could control a female protagonist: Aveline de Grandpré. In Syndicate (2014) the couple of brothers Evie and Jacob Frye were offered, among whom we alternated during the adventure, located in Victorian London.
Even so, where we really saw a change in the main saga was in Assassin's Creed Odyssey. The title, set in Ancient Greece, allows us to choose a female character to star in the adventure completely (although the male option also remains). Kassandra is a powerful and self-confident woman, who presents a sarcastic humor with which to face any challenge, whether dialectic or battle. Her muscular and attractive appearance makes her someone who can attract any player. In addition, romance is present in the game and there are no gender barriers, so Kassandra is free to choose her path and unimpeded relationships.
Aloy, Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn was one of the great titles of 2017; a new and fresh proposal by the Dutch Guerrilla Games exclusively for PlayStation 4. The premise of the title puts us in a post-apocalyptic world in which nature has made its way again. However, there is very little human life and the inhabitants of the planet are divided into tribes. Sharing the world with them there are a lot of metal machines shaped like animals, which the survivors must face.
Aloy is an independent warrior of the Nora tribe, of which she has been an outcast pariah all her life just because she was born “without a mother”, something that will be resolved later in the course of the adventure. His character is very strong and he has always had the free spirit and the dream of traveling beyond the village to discover the secrets that the world hides and solve the mystery of its origin.
Guerrilla marked a path to follow when creating female characters with interesting stories, with much more to tell than simply having an attractive physique. Fighters, intelligent and independent; Heroines like Aloy and the rest of the virtual companions that make up this report show that we have an increasingly large catalog of women protagonists. A fan that we hope will continue to grow, so that in a few years the one that is too small for us will be a hypothetical Top 100.