Ms Pac-man

Chad Sapieha wants his daughter to see some positive female role models in the video game universe.

Since we’re professionals at the discourse on gender, we can all agree that the representation and design of female video game characters since the industry started has been – well, unreal. Helpless princesses and schoolgirly fighters are the norm, and until recently, the only female a gal could look up to in the video game world was Metroid‘s Samus Aran (though fans may mention the weird strip-tease endings).

Sapieha notes that he didn’t give much thought to female video game characters until his daughter was born. Now that he’s having conversations about gaming with his daughter, he made a list of ten female game characters that he’s not ashamed to show his daughter.

“She and I often talk about how girls can do anything boys can, the importance of learning how to do things yourself rather than relying on others to do them for you, and how what you think and do is usually a lot more important than how you look,” Saphieha wrote in the Financial Post‘s Post Arcade section.

Saphieha does indeed mention Metroid‘s Samus – as well as nine other characters including Lara Croft (once a so-so model for the female audience) and Alyx Vance from Half-Life. Not all entries are lead characters – some, life Vance, are sidekicks, but have a unique and strong voice of their own. The tie the binds all of Saphieha’s list seems to be that these women are portrayed as problem-solvers and aren’t overly-sexualized.

We’d like to also give a mention to Cortana from the Halo series. She might look AI-nude, but she was written with a strong voice and the ability to positively change the story without using sexuality.

What female video game characters do you regard as strong or well-rounded? Tell us in the comments!