Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The 12 Most Awesome Women Video Game Characters

Elizabeth from Bioshock: Infinite
A few weeks ago, I ranted about girls in video games. Since then, I've been thinking a lot about the subject of women in gaming. You see, I am nearly finished with Bioshock: Infinite, an insanely compelling game that has one of the best female game characters I've ever seen. Elizabeth is a non-player character, yet she's so well written and amazing. She's brave, smart and fully clothed! She has easily become one of the best parts of that game.

Elizabeth struck a chord with me and I fond myself thinking of other awesome video game women and what made them so special. Soon I had a mental list of some of the coolest, most badass women to ever be made of pixels.

Join me as I list the 12 most awesome video game girls, and let me know who I missed!

First on the list is Lara Croft. Sure, she walks around in short shorts and tight tank tops, but she's also a total and undeniable badass. She shoots, she explores and she's basically fearless. And hey, she's in the rain forest a lot! It's hot there! I'll give her a pass on the shorts for now.

One of the most awesome things about Samus Aran is that you didn't even know she was a girl to begin with. When the first Metroid came out in 1986, she always wore her armor and it wasn't until the end of the game that she revealed her gender. Guinness World Records even recognizes Samus as the FIRST playable female character in the history of video games.

While not technically a biological female (she's a robot, after all), you can't deny that GLaDOS is hysterically delightful. She's snarky, cruel and mercurial. One minute she loves you and wants to give you cake, the next minute she's trying to kill you horribly. The only person that can stop her is Chell, the Aperture Science lad rat in orange trousers. Armed with a powerful Portal gun, Chell and GLaDOS go head to head with amazing results. They have awesome, dare I say it, chemistry. Shut up, I like puns.

Valve, the makers of Portal, cut their game making teeth on epic female characters. Case in point, Alyx Vance from Half Life 2. Without her, Gordon Freeman would have been eaten by a headcrab within the first few minutes of the Black Mesa incident. She wears a hoodie and a pair of jeans and is not to be fucked with. In a word; epic.

Speaking of women who are utterly badass in the face of crawling, creeping, horrific monsters, there's Claire Redfield. Poor Claire is tasked with fighting hoards of the undead in the Resident Evil series of games. Before there was Milla Jovovitch in latex fighting the Umbrella Corp, it was good old Claire. She's unwavering in her dedication to saving her brother, even in the face of scary zombie dogs and the other horrifying and terrifying monsters created by the Umbrella Corp.

Well, the games aren't called the Legend of Link, are they? Zelda starts off as a princess you have to go save, but comes into her own as the series progresses. She's strong, smart and resourceful. Nintendo has discussed the possibility of Zelda being the protagonist of her own game and I think that is the best idea in the world. Move over Link, you Robin Hood wannabe, it's time for Zelda to shine!

Soul Calibur is shameful in the way they treat their women characters. Ivy wears nothing but a string bikini to fight in, and there's more bouncing boobs and upskirts that you can shake your head at. That's why Hildegard von Krone is so amazing. She's the first female character treated respectfully in the series and dressed appropriately! Outfitted in real plate armor, she's swift and powerful. Appearing in Soul Calibur IV, she made an instant impression and became a fan favorite. When not in her armor, she's in a long dress with a breast plate. Maybe now Ivy can get some real clothes too.

I'm not going to lie, Alice Liddel is a complete mess. As the main character of the deeply twisted American McGee's Alice, she's got a whole lot to deal with. Taking Wonderland and making it full of enough horrors to send Claire Redfield screaming in terror, Alice learns to deal with whatever is thrown at her. Sure, she's a violent headcase, but she's so deeply awesome.

Of course, I couldn't forget FemShep. The female Captain Shepard is a turning point in video games. Mass Effect lets you choose if you are a male or female version of Captain Shepard. When I heard about this, my brain simply couldn't understand it. She's downright fierce and most people say you're playing Mass Effect wrong if you're not playing as FemShep.

Last but not least are the women of the Final Fantasy games. The women in these games are legendary. From poor Aerith, who made every single gamer cry, to the amazing Yuna, the women of Final Fantasy could be a list on their own. Do they all wear a lot of stupid outfits? Oh yeah, crazy outfits and even crazier hair are hallmarks of a Final Fantasy game. It doesn't take away from their groundbreaking levels of awesome.
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  1. I have almost no gaming experience - my parents had a ban on video games in the house until about five months ago - and everything I've played has been at a friend's house.

    And desepite the fact that there was always much debate about who got first go at the game (I was the youngest, so that was rarely me) Zelda was always my all-time favorite.

    Fast forward eight years, and here I am, putting the finishing touches on my Princess Zelda cosplay. The best thing about aging: taking geekdom to the next step.

  2. Sarah Kerrigan from the original Starcraft/Broodwar. Videogame villains doesn't get much better.

  3. On the off chance that I nay toss my two cents in:
    Kat from Halo Reach
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    Jodie Holmes
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    James Kidd/Mary Read from Black Flag
    I'm certain there's more I'm missing,yet that was just off the highest point of my head.

    @Kathy Brooks.

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