Wonder Woman With Wonder Woman hitting theaters across the globe, now seems like the right time to talk about some of my favorite female characters from the gaming world. For a long time the realm of video games has been fairly male-dominated, so it’s well worth taking a look at some of the stronger female characters that has helped diversify the playing field.

Now I’m sure some of the nice ladies on this list (which, by the way, isn’t given in any particular order) will be rather expected, even though I think one or two may come as a surprise. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Samus Aran
Samus Aran (Metroid Franchise)

Now a list like this would be grossly incomplete without mentioning a great character like Samus. She's important to the gaming industry for several reasons, the first of which is that she was the first real female protagonist gamers got to play as. Making her debut in 1986s 'Metroid', on the NES, she appeared as a galactic bounty hunter in a super-powered energy-suit, killing space pirates and other alien creatures on her journey to take down the evil Mother Brain

What makes Samus interesting, though, is that her gender was not directly stated in the game’s instruction manual and pretty much all players thought she was a guy until they cleared the game, when finally we got to see her without her space-suit on. This was pretty significant because it threw expectations out the window, hitting home the idea that a woman could just as easily fill a more traditional male role and kick ass in the process. In the decades since her debut, her character has been greatly fleshed out yet still retains her qualities as a model for strong femininity.

Lara Croft
Lara Croft (Tomb Raider Series)

Back in the day, the original 'Tomb Raider' games on the PlayStation stood out to me because of the character of Lara Croft. Sure, they were unique, challenging, and fun adventures, despite their somewhat awkward controls, but what made them even more memorable was the fact that they had a strong female character as the star of the show. Even in 1996 the gaming world was filled with a bunch of male characters and only a few good female supporting cast members, but Lara (like Samus before her) most certainly helped sway public opinion.

The 2013 reboot by Crystal Dynamics really served to develop her as a character in her own right, as it was able to show us the raw visceral feelings of a young archaeology graduate, while she gradually got hardened by her experiences and became the strong woman we all know and love today.

Triss Merigold (The Witcher Series)

Triss is kind of a wildcard character, but I really wanted to include her in this list because she’s a very strong woman in a series that is exceptionally male-dominated. As we all know, 'The Witcher' is set in a fantasy world that is the equivalent of the 13th century, so it should be no surprise that women are generally valued as little more than sex objects and servant wenches. Now some gamers have complained about how the females in this series are badly portrayed, nonetheless, that is fairly true to life, and it makes those women stand out, stick up for themselves, and prove that they can do anything a man can do, like a shining beacon of equality.

Triss Merigold is one such woman. While she may be a major love interest for Geralt of Rivia, she also is a woman who knows what she wants, defends those in need, and at the same time is still loving and nurturing to those around her. Triss has always been one of my favorite characters in the games, but she isn’t the only strong woman to stand out. Honorable mentions should also go to Yennefer, Philippa Eilhart, and Saskia.

Princess Zelda
Princess Zelda (Legend of Zelda Franchise)

Zelda is a character that I really like because of how she has evolved throughout the thirty plus years of the series history. In the original NES title she was essentially the damsel-in-distress, but as time went on she served more pivotal roles in the games themselves. By 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time', she went as far as to take the role of the gender-ambiguous Sheik character and even aided Link later on in the final battle against Ganon. In 'The Wind Waker' she was a pirate captain named Tetra, and by 'Twilight Princess', she was a somber, powerful monarch for the Kingdom of Hyrule. In the latest installment, 'Breath of the Wild', we get to see a new side of her character, one in which she's had to sacrifice her childhood to take on the burdens of a leader after the sudden death of her mother.

I will hand it to the 1989 cartoon, as well as the Valiant comic book series, for developing her in a way that was impossible to show in the original entries. In fact, they did it so well, after a while they made her into a partner for Link in his adventures to save the kingdom. Sure, the cartoon was rather cheesy, but it fit in with many of the other TV shows made in the 80s, plus, the dynamic between the two characters was actually rather fun to watch (especially with how Zelda plays off of Link’s attempts to gain her affections!).

Celes Chere
Celes Chere (Final Fantasy VI)

The 'Final Fantasy' series, particularly 'FF4' and after, is actually pretty solid when it comes to portraying females in a strong, positive light. 'Final Fantasy IV' had Rosa and Rydia, who each had some depth to them, whereas 'Final Fantasy VI' had both Tera and Celes, both of which were very strong women. Celes stood out to me though because she was a female general serving in the empire. A general, no less, that was eventually jailed for speaking out against the Emperor and his practices.

Then, of course, there is the famed opera scene, a scene that shows off her prowess as a beautiful young woman. Perhaps there’s a bit of bias showing here since I think 'Final Fantasy VI' is perhaps one of the best entries in the long-running series, but the strides it made for its time (1994) are really rather impressive.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic. So please stay tuned for more crafty content coming your way, care of Jessica's Journey, as written by Joypad Jess from NerdyButFlirty.com.


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