FutureFive NZ - Women in Video Games

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Women in Video Games

This month we’re celebrating women in video games. We take a look at video games - past, present and future with a focus on some of the more prominent female characters that have lavished the covers of gaming magazines, monitors, desktops and TV sets the world over.

The Adventurer: Lara Croft – Tombraider series
Curves to die for, looks that could easily stop (virtual) traffic and all the right moves and manoeuvres to bring a grown man to his knees, Lara Croft represents everything that is both good and bad in a female video game protagonist. Many a debate has been wagered over Lara Croft’s unbelievably unrealistic form. A femme fatale with a 36DDD bust and an impossibly small waist, Lara Croft brought every male gamer’s fantasies to life – regardless of the fact that she was as far from reality as you can get.

The Creepy: Alma – F.E.A.R
Although Alma is only eight years old her character was probably the root cause of many a nightmare amongst the gaming multitudes that played F.E.A.R. For that accolade alone she earns her place as one of the most influential females in video games. With her horrific and often terrifying psychic ability to control people’s minds, Alma was not a character to be messed with and was probably at her creepiest when she morphed into a semi-naked zombie-like apparition that always managed to find you when you least expected. We bow down to Alma in all her creepiness.

The Sinister: Alice in American McGee’s: Alice
Perhaps slightly less creepy than Alma (and certainly a little more sugar-coated) is Alice from American McGee’s Alice. Whilst this game is a few years old now, punters are either going to be delightfully surprised or woefully dismayed to discover that a movie is now in the works for an adaptation of the game with Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) taking on the role as Alice. I’m dead keen to see how this turns out and I really hope that the brilliant atmosphere of the game play is somehow retained and delivered in the movie version. Nobody makes a Vorpal Blade look half as good as Alice does clutching it. Without a doubt, Alice is one unforgettable character.

The Cute: Princess Zelda from the Legend of Zelda series
There’s just no way that I could ignore the cuteness of Princess Zelda. At the risk of sounding slightly anti-Zelda’ish, poor old Link does all the work so I’m pretty reserved to the thought that Zelda was and still is the eye candy of this game franchise and nothing more. Even though she is sometimes depicted holding a sword, I don’t really think we could call Princess Zelda anything other than the cute little damsel in distress. However, cute is definitely worth mentioning and Princess Zelda has that in spades. Welcome to the list, Princess.

The Deadly: Samus Aran from the Metroid series
It was a toss up between Samus and Joanna Dark for the most deadly female in video games. I went with Samus because quite frankly, she’s the shiz and pretty much kicks copious amounts of butt wherever she goes. A bounty hunter who was originally thought to be a male cyborg, Samus Aran has everything it takes to make it in the rugged and unrelenting world of the Metroids. For sticking it to the aliens and space pirates of the Nintendo virtual galaxy (and looking damn good even under all that cyborg armour), Samus is our number one choice for deadliest female in video games.

The Vixen: Elexis Sinclair from SiN
We’ve covered cute and we’ve covered adventurous. We just couldn’t leave out the Vixen of video games. Whilst there are many female characters in the world of video games that could probably take this title out, I deliberated over the decision and decided to handover the title to Elexis Sinclair from the popular SiN series of games. If you get a chance to check out Elexis, you’ll understand what I mean about being the vixen. But it’s not just about having the looks, it’s about knowing how to use them which is why the evil and manipulative Elexis wins this title hands down. She’s a genius to boot!

The Martial Arts babe: Taki from Soul Calibur
Again, another tough category as there are quite a few female characters in video games these days who can kick major butt and do it well but having played Taki in Soul Calibur, I have to say that I really liked her the best. With the agility of a cat and the lightning reflexes of a seasoned warrior, Taki is both beautiful and deadly. Everything you could ever want in a Martial Arts babe and almost semi-realistic.

And the vote for the best female video game character:

The most realistic: Alyx Vance from the Half Life series
If you recap this list and then compare my final choice to the others, you’ll notice straightaway why I chose Alyx as the pick of the bunch. For a start, she isn’t running around in a bikini top nor is she wearing tight and revealing outfits. She’s as normal as can be – a character with both brains and ‘brawn’ when she needs to use it. She’s a hacker by trade who acts for the most part as a supporting character in the Half Life games. She’s also very adept at handling weapons and can hold her own in unarmed combat without the flashy kicks. Alyx is one female character in video games that really does come close to reality on so many levels. And after researching facts for this article, I discovered that the character of Alyx Vance is modelled after a real life celebrity – Jamil Mullen. Fancy that!

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