Throughout history, games have been an inseparable part of the human nature. According to John Huizinga, a Dutch philosopher and academic, today's man could be classified as Homo Ludens referencing the social role of play in culture. So as much as some sectors try to dynamite them, video games are culture. In many cases they have a pedagogical work and favor the development of cognitive properties. And for a while, games have sought to cross the screen, dealing with more human issues such as loneliness, depression or bullying, managing to empathize with people who feel identified with the main character. Therefore, it is increasingly common for development studios to want to reflect the reality in which we live and allow players more decision-making power.
The most recent example is Ubisoft and its way of including female protagonists in Assassin’s Creed, much debated on social networks. The announcement of the new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has once again put the debate and scorn of a few on female protagonists in video games on target. This installment will allow you to choose between a male or female character as it was already done in Odyssey, in which Kassandra was undoubtedly the great revelation.
But it is not the only example because if video games have taught us anything, it is that there are great ladies with enough reasons to hook ourselves hours and hours in front of the screen. The first female character to star in her own video game was Ms. Pacman in the middle of the arcade fever. Not only does she have the honor of being the first lady of video games, but she is the fourth best-selling arcade game in history. Why do we need female protagonists?
I want to be like Lara Croft
Many young women found in Lara Croft the paradigm of a heroine like they had never seen before. A totally independent woman who entered ancient ruins, caves and other places to discover artifacts. An adventurer whose publicity of the time did not hesitate to sexualize her to target a broadly male audience. This role of the explosive woman was also brought to the big screen, but in essence she was still the same intrepid archaeologist. It was with the 2013 reboot that he got a more intimate and close role.
The ambiguity of Samus Aran
Although she came before Lara Croft, nothing suggested that she was a woman. Samus' powered suit didn't say anything about his gender, so they intentionally wanted the player to get to the end of the game without knowing this information about the character. As explained by Yoshio Sakamoto, director of the first Metroid, it occurred to someone that "It would be shocking if Samus Aran were a woman" and everyone supported the idea. They included a secret ending where Samus took off his helmet and showed that she was indeed a very athletic woman. And it is, in a way, a good metaphor for how difficult it was for a woman to step forward in some professional fields such as literature.
Zelda and her evolution
It is not a protagonist as such. Zelda was initially so displaced a character that many players came to think that the protagonist was called Zelda. But memes aside, Zelda adopted the classic role of princess in distress and it has no special role in games. However, time is putting him in the place he deserves and in Breath of the Wild it had more weight than in the first installments. Even her appearance departs from stereotypes and presents her with pants. Possibly we are at a turning point for this character that makes us wonder if it is time to take the leap as the protagonist of his own game. Time will tell.
Kate Walker, determination
Syberia is a graphic adventure in the third person that introduced us to a New York lawyer who leaves the office to live an incredible adventure. Walker is the confirmation of the ambitious woman who wants to discover the truth of what happens, without obstacles. This character is surprised by the conversations with her boyfriend, her mother and her best friend, who continually put her between a rock and a hard place for him to return. Kate disregards all advice and finally breaks free from his bonds to live as you want.
Jill Valentine against a zombie horde
Resident Evil and Raccoon City arrived, where there was no place for princesses. So you could already choose between a male character (Chris Redfield) or female (Jill Valentine) to experience the adventure from different points of view as it changed slightly, a formula that was later replicated in the fourth installment of Alone in the Dark. Of course, the design of Valentine was sexualized with a garment not suitable for running in front of zombies and that has been changed in the remake of Resident Evil 3. Still, it is a benchmark in survival horror and a whole statement of intents
Ellie, human and vulnerable
Princesses or warriors. It seemed that in video games there was no middle ground. However, The Last of Us featured a frightened young woman in a post-apocalyptic world, so human that players could feel your vulnerability. It is one of the keys to the Naughty Dog game. Despite not controlling Ellie, the character is not in the background at any time. She feels the relationship with Joel who almost becomes a father to her. And the greatest proof of its influence is that it will be the protagonist of the expected sequel. Brave? Yes, but not a heroine by definition.
Kassandra and Aloy, the definitive protagonists
There are few female characters that have penetrated as deep as protagonists. As Aloy became a PlayStation icon with a huge world to discover, Kassandra has overtaken other protagonists of Assassin's Creed on the right. The game delved into its more personal side, as it uncovered a whole political fabric to spark the Peloponnesian War. The Spartan mercenary demonstrates her feats on the battlefield And for the first time there is a conversational system that allows the player to design Kassandra however he wants. That is to say, it can be relentless and cruel against enemies or pious. Both are strong, smart and able to decide by themselves.