Since a lot of us are at home, those who have gaming consoles now have time to play video games to de-stress. When we’re not writing, #TeamPreenPH has been obsessing over Animal Crossing: New Horizons and The Sims 4.
As someone who grew up with video games (and around people who loved playing them), I gravitated towards a lot of female characters. Some I liked because they were cute (i.e. Princess Peach), others because they proved they were just as cool as their male counterparts. Most of the time they’re stronger and more competent.
That said, here are the female characters who made a lasting impact in video games, the world and our adult lives.
Before Angelina Jolie immortalized the character in the 2001 “Tomb Raider” film, Lara Croft was already kicking ass in the ’90s video game. Sure, the graphics weren’t crisp and Croft had weird proportions, but we’ll always remember her for exploring dangerous temples and shooting enemies with dual pistols. That alone was enough to get us hooked, be it in the video games or the movies.
My first memory of playing Street Fighter was choosing Chun-Li and mashing the “kick” button until my opponent was defeated. Some people might think Chun-Li looks too cutesy because of her pigtails and her bright-colored qipao, but her strength and fighting style, which is said to be inspired by tai chi and other Chinese martial arts, are enough to convince anyone otherwise. (Friendly reminder: Don’t watch the whitewashed 2009 Chun-Li film. It’s bad.)
Jill Valentine is one of the most recognizable Resident Evil characters. When the game was released in 1996, Valentine was the first playable female character in the survival horror genre. She has since appeared in almost all the games as a main and side character. Just like Lara Croft, what makes Valentine stand out is her shooting skills and the fact that she can defeat Nemesis on her own.
During the late ’90s and early ’00s, a lot of spy media was dominated by James Bond. At one point, Austin Powers made it popular thanks to his films. One spy who did stand out for me was Cate Archer from the No One Lives Forever franchise. Codenamed “The Fox,” she’s a cunning operative who started out as a thief and later became a heroine after taking down a criminal organization in the game. Archer also had a sickening fashion sense as she’s often seen wearing sleek latex suits and colorful ’60s-inspired outfits.
Elena Fisher first appeared in the 2007 game Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, so she’s a pretty new character in this list. But what I remembered most about her character is that she’s a journalist (instant relatability points) who wanted to create a documentary based on protagonist Nathan Drake’s adventures. Fisher later becomes a reliable ally and was referred to as the “female version of Drake” because she had the same strengths and would even save Drake when he’s in danger. (Fisher and Drake later got married and had a daughter together. Cute.)
Special mention: Bella Goth
You might be thinking, “What did Bella Goth contribute to the video game world?” She may not be as badass as the women we mentioned above, but she’s a Sims legend, okay? When The Sims was released in 2000, the Goths were one of the pre-made families in the first game and they are still present in The Sims 4, which came out in 2014. Anyone who has played the franchise knows Bella has gone through a lot—from being the socialite wife of Mortimer Goth and mom of two to being abducted by aliens. The Sims may be simulating “real” life, but we low-key want Bella’s.