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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Game Club: Female Icons of Video Gaming!

Hey All,

In honor of Women’s History Month here on the newly formed "Girls Club," Game Club will be taking a look a few of the coolest female characters to ever grace the Video Games world. Boot up your favorite console and get ready to play!

Samus Aran: “The Metroid Series”

Arguably one of the first female heroines seen in console gaming, Samus Aran caught the gaming world by complete surprise when the ace bounty hunter removed her helmet to reveal a shock of long blonde hair. Video games were irrevocably changed for the better. No matter what iteration Samus and her adventures have taken, she’s never been denigrated to the world of pin-up eye candy. She’s a kick-ass warrior with the coolest abilities who can wield an arm cannon in a sweet symphony of destruction. Metroid's BEWARE!! She’s also got the most iconic set of armor games have ever seen, The "Zero Suit": Often imitated, but never duplicated. A true original, just like Samus.

Chun-Li: “The Street Fighter Series”

The reigning Queen of all female fighters in "versus" games, Chun-li captivated player after player with lightning fast kicks and devastating helicopter twirls. The only female fighter in Street Fighter II, adept players found she was a force to be reckoned with as she went toe to toe with the best male fighters in any version of the SF series. Chun-li remains a fan favorite to this day, a powerful and whimsical whirling dervish of destruction. If you listen carefully, you can still hear her out there kicking ass and taking names with her battle cry sounded:"Spinning flying kick!!"

Bayonetta: “Bayonetta”

As discussed in my debut game review on Write Club, Bayonetta has become somewhat of a model for a modern female character that can decimate foes with a flick of her wrist (or ankle for that matter) and own her sexuality like no other in the genre. Some would argue that she’s still the creation of a male mind and thus falls into similar trappings that less notable female game characters have suffered through, and while that is true in certain respects, the end result still can’t be denied. Bayonetta is a bad ass, and is always in command of every situation she finds herself facing. She’s sass and over the top camp all rolled up into a crimson bullet with your name carefully engraved on it. Get in her way and they’ll still be cleaning up pieces of you from the floor tiles.

Lara Croft: “The Tomb Raider Series”
Without a doubt one of the most popular and recognizable female game characters of all time. While it’s a sad fact that most of the attention was paid to her “assets” when she first exploded onto the gaming scene, no one could deny that the world Lara Croft carved for herself was rock solid and uniquely hers. Lara was tough, a fighter, born of royalty and riches, and had a hunger to follow in her parents footsteps as an archeologist and treasure hunter. Eidos had successfully created their own version of a pulp novel icon, an Indiana Jones for the digital world.

Today Lara has evolved from game to game, becoming more realistic in proportions while maintaining everything that made the character so great from the outset. Currently, the Tomb Raider series is seeing another reboot, with Lara again at the receiving end of what’s probably her most realistic look yet. One that aims to tap directly into the strong and intelligent character she is and, hopefully she'll permanently leaving the days of fanboy fantasy far behind.

Faith Connors: “Mirror’s Edge”

The fastest “Runner” on two legs (think Spider-Man as an information broker), Faith leapt from her stark and sterile cityscape straight into the consciousness of gamers everywhere. Rebelling against a Totalitarian government and fighting to clear her sister’s name for a crime she didn't commit, Faith proved to be as persistent a detective as she was at scaling and leaping from skyscrapers. When Mirror’s Edge was announced, Faith received a lot of attention as she was one of the first lead video game characters to be of Asian descent. Slight in build with baggy clothing to support maximum movement, and sporting the coolest set of jet black tattoos, Faith could outrace any opponent that was unlucky enough to cross her path. Faith remains an uber-cool parkour soldier, a silent, watchful guardian perched forever on the ledges of ivory towers everywhere.

Alyx Vance: "Half-Life 2 Series"

Alyx Vance is usually the "go to" game character when an avid player is asked to point out when the female character finally evolved. Alyx Vance was a fully realized PERSON when players met her within the first few hours of Half-Life 2. Whip-smart and humorous, her design intelligent, tasteful and respectful, Valve created a character so three dimensional it was hard not to feel connected to her by the games end (and each subsequent chapter after). While the story has yet to draw to a close, Alyx will always remain that benchmark character. A strong, intelligent woman who could solve any task at hand, and who fought back against alien hordes so vile, Ripley herself would cringe:) Alyx remains an important character in video games and a very welcome addition to the Half-Life series. The gaming industry wouldn't be the same without her.


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