My favourite female video game characters
By Aimee Oliver
I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim recently (have quite a way to go before I’m a threat to anyone but myself and a few scurrying foxes) and thinking about the representation of women in video games. Growing up, it felt that female characters were often side-lined, underdeveloped, or non-existent. Nowadays, there seems to be some improvement!
Here are my favourite female video game characters; feel free to disagree, but you might hurt my feelings.
Zelda and Sheik from The Legend of Zelda
Initially, it seemed that Zelda could be the Princess Peach of Hyrule. Needing others to rescue her from a big, red-headed tyrant (perhaps Bowser and Ganondorf are related?) Zelda is an incidental character that one day appears in young Link’s life (if, like me, you were introduced to this world through Ocarina of Time). Saved by her guardian Impa, who looks like she could play the drums in a heavy metal band, that’s the last we see of Zelda for quite some time.
Enter Sheik. Wrapped up in bandages and wearing some kind of leotard with the red eye symbol of the Sheikah on her chest, she makes quite the first impression. Sheik always appears to bring a little music to proceedings, teaching Link to play such hits as Bolero of Fire, Serenade of Water (everyone’s least favourite, surely?) and Requiem of Spirit. Without Sheik, Link would be doomed to trek all over Hyrule to stop the spread of evil, as these songs all warp Link to the place of action.
When it is revealed that Zelda and Sheik are one and the same person? Mind blown.
Zelda/Sheik is clearly the best character you can find on Super Smash Bros, too. Who doesn’t love a good smash attack?
Tali from Mass Effect
A controversial choice perhaps – maybe others would immediately think of Liara or Miranda in the Mass Effect world – but Tali captured my heart from the get-go. She was a young refugee with a passion burning in her heart to see her homeland after years of her race being set adrift in space. Out of all the kick-ass companions on board the Normandy, one might say that Tali grows the most. From naïve upstart to experienced admiral, Tali always brings a smile to your face, whether it be her interactions with other characters (Garrus in particular), or getting drunk at the ship’s bar using her emergency induction straw. She’s the absolute sweetheart of space. But underestimate her at your peril – she’ll tear you apart with her tech skills.
Lara Croft from Tomb Raider
Lara Croft is a classic choice. Long considered as video game totty, recent incarnations of Lara have given her a voice and a proper backstory of her own, allowing her to actually be presented as a 3D character. She’s probably the character who’s experienced the most growth over the years.
Alex Roivas from Eternal Darkness
You might not recognise this next one. Alex Roivas (looking uncannily like Buffy Summers) is the lead protagonist from cult classic Eternal Darkness, quite a revolutionary game for its time (its sanity effects were creepy as hell). Finding out that her grandfather has been killed in suspicious and violent circumstances, Alex is called out to his residence to identify him. Or, what’s left of him, anyway. What ensues is a riveting and horrifying look through time with Alex in the centre of the action, casually using magic, reading from a book made from bones and skin, and kicking monsters’ arses.
Samus Aran from Metroid
Just look at her Power Suit. One arm is a cannon, for the love of God.
Morrigan from Dragon Age
This mage is quite the multi-layered character. Brought up to be distrustful of humans and outsiders, Morrigan is strong, sarcastic, and a talented shape shifter. Side with her against her mother, Flemeth, and you might just incur the wrath of *spoiler alert* a high dragon.
Who’s your pick? Submit your own heroines below!