So recently, I keep seeing a lot of speculation on the internet about how game developers are portraying women in their games. But what really grinds my gears is the fact that a lot of feminists have a huge issue with how women are portrayed to be sexy in video games and not being ‘realistic’. To make things worse, I recently seen posted on metro about a website that is supposed to help bulimia (see website here) recovery changed a really old version of Lara Croft to look ‘realistic’. I kind of agree with what they are trying to say, but I don’t think the focus should be based on appearance alone, because then everyone will feel insecure. What is worse they are criticising an older version of Lara that is not even relevant to the appearance of female characters anymore. As a feminist myself, I try to focus on the positive characteristics that make some of these amazing heroines of the gaming world more than just a pretty face. So here are a few of my favourites:
5) Lara Croft: (Tomb Raider)
Trying not to be biased…. But the famous Lara Croft had to make it in this list. As a child, this woman inspired me to be brave and cunning. She was more than just a sexy character for guys to play with as she has previously been slated for. Lara to me was one of the bravest women in the world, who puts herself into strange worlds and does not hold back until she discovers the truths behind some of history’s greatest legends. Her braveness and determination changed my entire perspective on myself growing up and helped me think I can do anything if I put my mind too it (gahh sounds cheesy). Believe it or not, Lara Croft is a lot more iconic than those pointy Madonna boobs she had going on.
4) Amanda Ripley (Alien: Isolation)
This personally is a very recent one. I contemplated a lot whether to consider this one for this list but I feel like she qualifies perfectly as an epic female protagonist. Unfortunately for Amanda, the road to finding her mother also meant a terrifying encounter with one of the infamous Ridley Scott’s aliens. What I like is that she seems to be the only female that is actually sent out to do anything involving that nasty creature as well as being the only one brave enough to do it. We can gather, she is just as scared as I am sitting with the controller praying ‘I hope there are no face huggers in this damn game’. I really enjoyed playing as an afraid but equally brave character who really pulled on the heart strings to fans of the hit franchise.
3: Chell (Portal 1 & 2)
I personally feel quite sorry for Chell. She doesn’t say much, like quite a lot of valve’s main characters but she picks up and gets on with whatever she has to do. She is smart and uses her limited abilities within the aperture science testing chambers to her advantage. We don’t know much about Chell besides the fact she arrived at aperture for a very unfortunate ‘bring your child to work’ day as she is captured and forced to test out the revolutionary portal gun. But her intelligence, endurance and not to mention patience to deal with such a sinister and whitty AI, GLaDOS, is enough for me to praise her role in such an awesome game.
2) Alice (American McGee’s Alice & Alice: Madness Returns).
Although the game was not exactly everyone’s cup of tea (see what I did there?) I could not help but indulge into the incredible world of Wonderland in American McGee’s dark twist to the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. To make it better, we are given a mysterious Alice, all grown up and completely bonkers. The more we start to make sense of the truth the more we delve into her madness. Yet, she still carries her own daring characteristic which is surprising considering she is … well, mad! I cannot help but love the courageous and irresponsible Alice we know from the beloved tale as the tables turn into a much more sinister way.
- Elizabeth Comstock (Bioshock Infinite)
This one is definitely my favourite of all. Elizabeth represents what it means to be a woman as she transforms from the ignorant sheltered young girl into an intelligent and powerful young woman. Her talents interfere with the very fabrics of life itself and makes her unique to many other female protagonists. Her story not only presents to us a metaphor that challenges strict religious beliefs but also allows the player to think more about the world we live in and beyond. Throughout the game, Elizabeth faces the challenges of finding who she really is yet we also learn some of her most admirable traits such as her intelligence, loyalty and optimistic personality.
So there you have it, my five favourite female characters from video games. Each character is unique in their own way and guess what? They are more than just appearances. They are not just dense characters put there to look appealing. They are given a reality in which gamers can delve into. We should not still be stuck in the dark ages where women have to look a certain way. We shouldn’t be changing weight goals or pointing out what skinny characters SHOULD look like or curvier characters SHOULD look like, because then we just get sucked into the trap. We should instead embrace what is important in their characters and in ourselves rather than appearances. Let’s bring some positivity back into girl gaming. I’d love to hear some of your own favourites too!