Gaming is a man’s industry, right? Wrong. According to this article by the BBC, 48% of people who play video games are female. But despite this, only 4% of the main characters in video games are female. The reason for this may have to do with the way in which products are typically marketed using gender stereotypes, after all, gaming is still perceived by many as a masculine pastime.
To balance and correct this means that titles will require more women characters, an endeavor which for one reason or another has always been met with a bit of resistance. Yet history has shown us that female characters are not only entertaining protagonists, but empowering ones too. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at some of the most awesome female characters in video games over the years.
Samus Aran – Metroid
When players first started playing the Metroid, they simply assumed that the space bounty hunter they controlled was male. It wasn’t until the very end when Samus removes her helmet to reveal that she is in fact a woman, a move that surprised many gamers at the time. Since then, Samus Aran has gone on to tackle multiple alien lifeforms and bad guys across the galaxy, saving humanity and the Galactic Federation in a string of titles that stretches across 14 games and nine different gaming platforms.
Lara Croft – Tomb Raider
An English aristocrat with a penchant for exploring ancient tombs while wielding dual pistols, Lara Croft was an early example that showed how powerful and influential a female gaming character could be. The Tomb Raider franchise has spawned numerous titles, graphic novels, as well as three blockbuster films, the latest arriving in 2018 with Alicia Vikander as the titular role.
Sonya Blade – Mortal Kombat
The first female character introduced in the Mortal Kombat series, Sonya Blade showed first hand that she could hit like a girl, and hit hard. She’s a tough, agile, take-no-nonsense soldier whose skill as a fighter rivals that of every male counterpart in the game. And while she might be a red-hot warrior, that’s nothing compared to her signature fatality – a kiss of fire which burns her combatants alive.
Jill Valentine – Resident Evil
When the world is crashing down around you and people have turned into bloodthirsty zombies and all hope is lost, who would you look to? The only possible answer is Jill Valentine, of course. An invaluable member of the Alpha Team, Jill is competent, clever and uses her ingenuity and deadly skill to escape many a lethal situation. As one of two playable characters in the original Resident Evil game, Jill has advantages and disadvantages compared to her male counterpart. The intent behind this move was to show how slight differences between male and female characters affect the gameplay surrounding the same scenario. In this case, Jill comes off as better prepared in the long run, a great asset regardless of gender.