Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day; a day in which we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women from around the world, with a focus on ensuring that the “future for girls is bright, equal, safe, and rewarding.” Women have no doubt had a positive impact on gaming through their work as developers, studio leaders, and more, bringing to life iconic characters that players have come to know and love.
TheGamer celebrates International Women’s Day by listing some of our all-time favorite female characters in video games.
Helen Ashcroft - Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
I’ve loved Lara Croft since she had triangular breasts and an obstacle course in her garden. The recent reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise has only increased this. Considered to be one of the first sex symbols in gaming, she is so much more than her looks. Intelligent, athletic, beautiful and brave, Lara was everything I wanted to see and she was female, like me. Perfect. (That was hard to cut down. I could write 700 words on why Lara Croft was (and is) so important to me.)
Sam Watanuki - Mercy (Overwatch)
If you are in an Overwatch match without someone on your team playing as Mercy, you might as well chalk it up as a loss. The angelic character is the epitome of what a healer should be. But don't let her name fool you. Mercy has all of the spunk and firepower needed to take offensive matters into her own hands when necessary. Pair her with a Pharah, and you might just have the most badass, powerful female duo in the history of gaming.
Honorable mention: Kara (Detroit: Become Human)
Jaime Latour - Femshep (Mass Effect)
Sure, she's essentially the same character as Male Shepard, but Femshep is more commanding, impactful, and just plain more badass than her male counterpart. Whether you're a renegade or a paragon, when Femshep is making the decisions that determine the fate of the universe, she comes across as a stoic, no-nonsense leader who gets the job done. It's easier to buy her headbutting a Krogan than the pansy, male version. Plus, it's way less weird when she punches that reporter.
Sean Murray - Bayonetta (Bayonetta)
On the surface, she's an over the top, overly sexualized female protagonist that prepubescent boys can fantasize over. And honestly, she's still that even after digging about halfway. But get down to the ooey, gooey center, and you’ll find that Bayonetta isn't as flimsy a stereotype as she appears. She's smart, witty, playful, and so immensely powerful that she single-handedly crushes the misconception of women as the weaker sex between her shapely thighs.
Sergio Solorzano - Chun Li (Street Fighter)
My first fighting game was Street Fighter, a random Christmas gift for Super Nintendo. At six years old, I was baffled by all the moves with their crazy inputs. So I picked Chun Li, because her special kick consisted of mashing one button. She shaped the way I play fighting games, with her emphasis on agility and outmaneuvering the opponent. I know more than one attack now, but Chun Li is still my main.
Daniel Alvarez - Shantae (Shantae series)
Shantae is the Half-Genie Hero, and a true hero at that. She's kind hearted, cheerful, and always ready to help those who need it. As a professional dancer, she journeys into danger in stylistic grace and beauty. Did we mention her favorite ice cream flavor is cookie dough? Shantae for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, please.
Chris Littlechild - Lady Maria (Bloodborne)
For my money, no character has ever defined the Spice Girls' concept of "Girl Power" quite like Lady Maria of the Astral Clock tower. Sporty, Scary, Posh, Baby, and Ginger didn't mention flaming, blood-infused katanas anywhere in their songs, but that's neither here, nor there. The battle with Maria in the “Old Hunters” DLC is one of the most cinematic and memorable moments in the game, if not in recent gaming history.