As mentioned in an article last week, females in gaming are not always represented as well as they should be. From fighting off demons naked to being used as objects to be exploited, it is fair to say that gaming has not always been kind to the gender. But we can’t forget amid all the hype of Gamergate and so on that there are some companies who have made some truly progressive female characters in their games. As easy as it may be to write off the industry as sexist, there are developers who go out of their way to make sure they portray the opposite. It is with that in mind, here are 6 progressive females from gaming that help shift the overall view of how women should be treated by developers.
Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite
Never sexed out, never exploited, never brutalized for the sake of the story. Not only that, but she is a character integral to how your own fate plays out in the game. Some wanted to call her an A.I who tossed you things, but to me, she felt very real and very realized.
She also goes from being a victim at the start of the game to essentially being the hero, which no one sees coming. That, my friends, defines progressive females in gaming for me.
Alyx Vance from Half Life Series
I think before I knew females could even be portrayed as progressive in games, I got Alyx Vance from the Half Life series. Smart, buttoned up, sweet, charming. She was EXACTLY what you would expect a woman in that position to look and act like. It’s funny, just how subtle and realistic she is, I feel like so many other programmers could learn from this.
Of course, we don’t quite know how things play out yet because Half Life 3 is floating in the fourth dimension somewhere.
Jade from Beyond Good and Evil
Now this is the ONE I always think of when I think of progressive females from gaming. From her stance to her strength to her clothes to her profession to her dialogue, she was a heroine who was believable and, well, cool. Hell, they even gave her green lips to go with her name. Weird, but so much more awesome than some big chested heroine who wears no clothes and gives no reason for that choice.
Sad thing is, one of the best females in all of gaming, and we are still waiting for news of that fabled sequel.
Ellie from Last of Us
I know some of you may be thinking she was young, but you saw how much she grew across the course of that stellar and essentially perfect game. Ellie was no damsel in distress, even if she appeared as one at first. But what Naughty Dog did what that character was nothing short of astounding. Why?
Because we couldn’t handle the thought of anything bad happening to her (which is why most of us barged into that operating room with guns blazing even though we knew better). What will be even more astounding here is seeing just how much she has grown by the time we get a part 2, and to see what that does to the character’s purity and innocence we slowly saw slip away.
Bonnie McFarlane from Red Dead Redemption
I actually want to start this off by going ahead and saying I think Bonnie deserves her own game. Never in a Rockstar world had we dealt with or played a female so empowered and badass. She took care of herself and her property, and took little shit from anyone.
Honestly, when we meet John’s bitchy wife and lame kid later in the game, I often thought to myself: why didn’t John just stay with Bonnie? She was clearly his soulmate.
Clementine from Season Two of Walking Dead Game
Yes, she may have started season one as a young damsel in distress, but by season two, Clementine may still be young, but she is no longer naive about the brutal world she is in. Across that game you see her face choices that were tougher than some the adults had to make in part one of this Telltale game.
Season two showed us what living and surviving in the world alone does to a little girl. It hardens her, makes her stronger, and makes her one of the most progressive females in all of gaming because we get to see her grow from a shy, scared little girl into an ass-kicker. That pretty much defines progression.