Welcome to another thrilling edition of Five Favorites! As you know, every week I pick my five favorite things from whatever the hell I feel like and present them to you in a way that hopefully doesn’t hurt your beautiful little brains. In return, I hope you’ll share with me your top five in the selected category so we can all argue about how much our respective opinions suck!
Late last week, as I browsed through a slew of comments about Ubisoft’s lack of inclusion, I came to subsequent realization that a) I’m tired of arguing about inclusivity, and b) women make the world go ’round. I mean really, without women the entire world would be a grievously less intelligent place; it was also be a frightfully less beautiful place. So why aren’t there more of us in games?
In honor of the badass women who endlessly steal our hearts while beating the living pulp out of the bad guys, this week’s Five Favorites goes out to some of my favorite sassy, classy, and wholly dimensional female protagonists.
5. Jodie Holmes
If you haven’t been able to tell by now, I’m a big fan of Beyond: Two Souls. I’ve spent a lot of time in the game, and the connection I’ve made with Jodie Holmes is one of both love and admiration. I can’t say that I connect with the whole “there’s an entity following me around” thing, but I found her beautiful fragility and uncompromising will to be consuming. To me, Jodie was real. She was complex, deeply flawed, and showed was a character capable of expressing real emotion. Portrayed by Ellen Page, another badass woman in an industry of tropes, Jodie felt all-too-human, a quality rarely captured in any video game character. Throughout to the game, we witness her entire growth, from little girl to savior, and the journey in-between is one of outstanding choice and consequence.
4. Samus Aran
Quite possibly the coolest and most empowering moment in gaming history game when it was revealed that Samus Aran was a woman. I mean, talk about a mind-blowing experience. Samus is the original video game badass, and stands as a true stepping stone in an industry that was clouded by exclusivity. She’s the embodiment of power and femininity, and isn’t afraid to kick ass both inside and outside her suit. She’s like a futuristic Lara Croft, hunting down lost civilizations and saving the galaxy from extinction every other day. As far as female protagonists are concerned, she’s what started it all. She showed an entire industry that you don’t necessarily have to be a male to take down space pirates and subsequently kick wholesale ass.
She’s a horrible person, but she’s our horrible person. Chell from the Portal series is a woman of few words — none, actually — but the impact she’s had on the gaming industry spans far beyond that. She’s obsequiously resourceful, and doesn’t fall in the range of female stereotypes all-too-often found in video games. Whether or not she was a willing test subject at Aperture Labs is yet to be fully proven, but we do know that she’ll do anything to try and make her way out of the doomed labyrinth. Armed with only a portal gun and a brilliant mind, Chell has to face down crazy psychopathic robots — a feat not easily won. She’s a girl who doesn’t let weird testing get her down, and I’m 100% onboard with that.
2. Commander Shepard
Paragon or Renegade, our faithful Commander Shepard is lovable either way. If she’s not dancing terribly or falling in love with aliens, she’s galavanting through space attempting to bring peace to a galaxy on the brink of extinction. Honestly, there’s not much that Commander Shepard can’t do. The emotional depth brought to Shepard undeniably makes her one of the easiest video game characters to connect with, and her complexities are portrayed in a way show her to be real — not weak. Bioware has always delivered some pretty badass female protagonists, but Shepard takes the cake. From having the power of being a complete sass master, choosing your own love interest — male or female — and being portrayed as an infinitely intelligent person, Commander Shepard shows us why women rule the world.
1. Lara Croft
What would a top-something list be without Lara Croft. She’s one of the most iconic characters in video game history, and she’s irrefutably earned the spot as number one this list. I can’t say I was always a steadfast fan of the Tomb Raider series — that is, until Crystal Dynamic’s 2013 Tomb Raider graced us with its presence. To see how far Lara has come as a character, from personal development as well as conceptual, shows just how far the industry has advanced in terms of both writing and implementation. From polygon boobs to actual human being, Lara is the perfect blend of beauty and brains. Her strong will and intelligent mindset separates her from a great deal of characters — male or female — making her the ultimate force to be reckoned with. She’s also transcended the medium into film and common pop culture, securing herself as a household name and go-to heroine.
Welp, that wraps up yet another installment of Five Favorites. It was tough choosing only five badass women, as there’s definitely a countless number of dimensional women in the industry, main protagonist or otherwise. With that being said, who’s in your fave five? Sound off in the comments below and let me know what sassy, classy women rule your world.
Also, don’t forget to check out last week’s installment where I talk about five video game man-children who would quite possibly make not-so-terrible dads.
Happy gaming, nerds!