Gamers love to talk about Lara Croft and Alyx Vance, but these ten women don’t get the recognition they deserve
Female gamers have always been under-represented in today’s world of gaming, that’s unquestionable. But a lot of people seem to forget the few great examples of female characters in videogames that we’ve had so far, some of which even go all the way back to the Nintendo 64 days. A lot of these characters do pop up from time to time in “good female character” discussions, but even then they are usually forgotten, or better said, underappreciated. There’s hardly any mention at all of the women who help create these characters.
It’s as good as time as any now that we’ve all come off from the excitement of E3 to take a quick look at 10 females in gaming that are underappreciated, or otherwise just not talked about a lot in gaming. For the record, these are all in no particular order, as they are all equally as important as one another
Rebecca Chambers (Resident Evil)
Rebecca is one of the youngest members of her group in Resident Evil, and as the medic she is one of the people the rest of the team rely on the most. Rebecca’s attitude is, for lack of a better word, very girly. For a lot of people that would be a severe downside, but I think it’s one of the better parts of her character.
Rebecca manages to go through some of the biggest monsters in Resident Evil with no experience or knowledge of what she’s up against, all alongside Billy Coen, a prisoner on the lam. She is a fan favourite, though rarely does her name actually pop up in conversations about good female characters, and I guess that’s primarily because Resident Evil O is not one of the most popular instalments in the series. She’s not appeared in many games afterwards, only being a selectable character in the infamous Mercenaries game-mode.
Even then, she manages to bring a great personality of her own onto the Resident Evil story, showcasing how someone who is “less than combat ready” can really rise above and beyond what is expected of them. True, Resident Evil isn’t known for great storytelling, but Rebecca still manages to stand out. She shows us that you can be a novice and still overcome the hardest situations, and for that matter that you can still be caring and, yes, even girly, while still being a badass.
Amata Almodovar (Fallout 3)
Fallout 3 is a sore spot for many gamers. It’s a great game! But a terrible sequel. It’s an outstanding RPG! But a rather lame FPS. It has Liam Neeson! But only 20 or so lines of dialogue for his character. It’s hit or miss for the people who play it.
Amongst those hit or miss details are the strong characters. One of them is Amata, the girl who the player meets and befriends inside Vault 101. It’s not solely because she is your biggest friend and ally in the first storyline mission of the game, but rather what happens after the game ends.
See, Vault 101 has kind of gone haywire while you were gone saving the little population DC still has left. They’re pretty much in the middle of a civil war, with Amata leading the rebels who simply seek the ability to leave the vault when needed to gather supplies while the overseer wants to keep the entire place on lockdown.
Amata is the one who brings you in when she realizes the Vault is in peril. She is also the one who has managed, so far, to keep several of the residents alive, and even organize them for the one thing everyone needs: contact with the outside world. Sure, you could argue that’s not the best of ideas, but the fact that she, at such a young age, manages to calm down people, overcome the doubts of her leadership and actually do logical, good decisions for the vault dwellers shows that she is more than capable
Amata may not be a playable character, but she is the showcase of a great female character in gaming, one that actually thinks her decisions through and tries to instill good in the chaotic, perilous environment that she lives in, rather than simply be along for the ride.
Major Greenland (Battlefield 4)
Okay, hear me out here guys. I know many of you are already jumping onto your keyboards to kick my ass for saying a character in Battlefield 4’s storyline is good at all.
Yes. She is a character that just appears for a few minutes and is equal to a deus ex machina story-wise. Yes, she is a hardass on her men and seems, at first at least, unlikable. And yes, she doesn’t even get much of a sendoff when you finally leave her.
But think about this for a moment; she never feels out of place. Major Greenland is a minor character, but her gender doesn’t really affect the storyline. The fact that she is female is not a rarity for the other characters either, who treat this with complete normality.
It seems small, perhaps even nonsensical to bring it up, but putting a female character in a small role, as little as it feels like at first, is actually an impressive forward for women in gaming. It’s the idea that not only can women do anything, but that it’s an entirely natural position for them too.
It’s a small, minimal change, but it makes all the difference. Major Greenland shows us that women can truly take on any role without feeling like shoehorned tokenism.
Zoë Quinn (Developer)
Some of you may already know Zoë from her work on Fez, They Bleed Pixels and Depression Quest, so when I say she’s underappreciated I don’t say that because her games aren’t popular or that she doesn’t already have a lot of followers, far from it, she is a pretty big icon on Twitter when it comes to gaming or just general tomfoolery.
But a lot of people tend to forget about developers in general when it comes to good examples (or even, icons) of women in gaming. Zoë isn’t just an important force when it comes to game developers, but also when it comes to organizing events, as well as very inclusive in the ideas of LGBT
Zoë has been in the midst of some of the strangest controversies in gaming, as well as some of the “less than fun” ones that have involved their fair degree of chauvinism and even full-on discrimination, and it’s the way that she has handled them that is important to note here. Many other developers would quit after receiving as much hatred as she did at some points, or perhaps react in much angrier ways, yet she still keeps going.
And that persistence is perhaps the best thing that she can show gamers, especially those who may be discouraged from developing videogames due to their gender. As a developer, Zoë Quinn shows us that the old stereotype of game developers being just a men’s thing is entirely wrong, and that moreover, we need more people like her out there.
Joanna Dark (Perfect Dark)
I One of the very first female protagonists in FPS games, Joanna Dark is the epitome of a secret agent. She works for the mysterious Carrington Institute, and is so good they had to literally make a new qualification just for her. That’s kind of awesome.
You may be thinking that given all of these traits, Joanna would be a less effeminate character, or even that she’d be overly sexualised. Far from it, her outfit covers most of her body, makes complete sense given her work, and she is not against showing her femininity in game either. She is also a humorous character, and an all-around excellent protagonist for anyone interested in picking this game up.
She takes quick, smart decisions and shows true care for her work, trying to not let it get to her head while at the same time doing actions and taking decisions that will literally change the way of the entire world.
Joanna Dark shows us that your game isn’t just restricted to having a one note male protagonist, and that female characters can indeed be just as, if not better, than any other simply by the virtue of good writing.
Images; Capcom, Bethesda, EA, gameloading.tv, Rare, transfuse (via deviantart.com)