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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Gaming's Greatest Goddesses

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun: Gaming's Greatest Goddesses

For International Women’s Day, we thought it might be prudent to get the girls on the GAMINGbible team - namely Imogen Donovan, Catherine Lewis, and myself - to put our superior oestrogen-powered brains together to come up with a list of our favourite female protagonists. All three of us, powered by a lifetime of The Sims, Animal Crossing, and being told we wouldn’t understand Grand Theft Auto, combined our knowledge to create this: the ultimate, indisputable list of nice women who you can play as in games. A list by the women, of the women, and for the women. Sorry, we didn’t include Samus Aran.

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Melia Antiqua - Xenoblade Chronicles

Melia Antiqua from Xenoblade Chronicles / Credit: Monolith Soft
Melia Antiqua from Xenoblade Chronicles / Credit: Monolith Soft

Oh, Melia. Anyone who’s played the first Xenoblade Chronicles (our review, here) will know that this High Entia princess really didn’t get a great deal in life, or at basically any point in the game. Not only does she face arguably the greatest hardships during the course of the story (I won’t spoil anything, but if you've played the game you know exactly what I’m talking about), but she’s also widely considered to have the worst AI when it comes to having her as a party member. Despite that, she’s a fan-favourite for a reason: she’s probably the best-written character in the entire game. 

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Her strength as a person shines so brightly throughout the entire time she’s on screen, but towards the end of the game it becomes even more apparent. She’s not some dainty, fragile member of the royal family who needs protection from anyone - she might be elegant and proper, but she’s not going to take any sh*t. Needless to say, if that mysterious figure in the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 trailer really is her, I’m going to be very happy. CL

Edelgard von Hresvelg - Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Eldegard Von Hresvelg in Fire Emblem: Three Houses / Credit: Nintendo
Eldegard Von Hresvelg in Fire Emblem: Three Houses / Credit: Nintendo
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Look, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t go with the Blue Lions route when I first played Three Houses, and that Dimitri isn’t my favourite character from that game - but it’s International Women’s Day, so he can take his greasy blonde hair and eyepatch elsewhere. Regardless of whether or not you actually agree with her motives, you can’t deny that Edelgard is an excellent example of a strong female character, and perhaps the very definition of a girlboss. 

Throughout the game, she was resolute with her goals, and was never going to let a single person stop her from seeing them through. What I personally loved so much about her though is frankly how little her gender actually mattered - she wasn’t trivialised by the other characters for being a woman, she was always seen as who she is: an incredibly powerful, menacing leader, who you definitely don’t want to face on the battlefield. Prepare to meet her axe if you think otherwise. CL

Primrose Azelhart - Octopath Traveler

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Primrose Azelhart in Octopath Traveler / Credit: Square Enix, Nintendo
Primrose Azelhart in Octopath Traveler / Credit: Square Enix, Nintendo

Dear reader: if you do absolutely nothing else from reading this article, I implore you to mosey on over to YouTube and search up 'Primrose’s Theme' from the Octopath Traveler OST. In fact, do it right now, set the scene for yourself. Got it? Good. 

Don’t let her alluring garb deceive you - with a tragic backstory in tow and knife in hand, this dancer’s tale follows her quest for vengeance - to strike down those who killed her father as a child. Without going into spoiler territory, her entire tale is one filled with pain, but she always stands strong regardless, using her charm to her benefit to achieve her goals. She’s an amazing example of a strong, sex-positive character, but nobody epitomises this more than our collective top pick, which we'll get to shortly… CL

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Juliet Starling - Lollipop Chainsaw

Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw / Credit: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, Grasshopper Manufacture
Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw / Credit: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, Grasshopper Manufacture

Hold on now, boys... you'd better watch your mouth if you want to say a bad word about my girl Juliet. Yes I know Starling is the embodiment of a blonde bimbo, with her peppy American cheerleader attitude and skirt so short you can see her breakfast, but that’s a very shallow take. She’s amazingly athletic, wields a chainsaw like a veteran lumberjack, speaks Japanese, oh and I almost forgot: she’s completely magic.

Sometimes you want gritty, dark realism - and sometimes you just want to box jump over a zombie and then cut down a horde of them in a shower of sparkles. She even saved her boyfriend’s life by cutting off his head and keeping it as a kind of super-gross talking keychain. So park your surface-level takes, because Juliet manages high school, her absolutely wild family, and takes down the apocalypse, all with a smile. Multi-tasking like that exemplifies what being a woman is all about. GY

Blaze Fielding - Streets Of Rage series

Blaze Fielding in Streets of Rage 4 / Credit: DotEmu
Blaze Fielding in Streets of Rage 4 / Credit: DotEmu

When I was a sprog, Blaze Fielding existed as little more than a few hundred pixels in the Mega Drive's first three Streets of Rage titles. And yet I so badly wanted to be her. With her little red utility dress, and her flying jump kick that could literally knock out an army of burly men, I longed to embody her hair flick. The cop gone rogue was so slick, and her design was even used for the frustratingly difficult penultimate bosses of the first game, the ferociously fast twins Onihime and Yasha.

One of the best things about playing as Blaze in the original Streets of Rage is that you could turn on your teammate right at the final boss fight, kick them to death, and become the Mafia’s own Godmother. Isn’t it every little girl’s dream to take down a criminal empire only to wield the power as your own? Okay, maybe just me then. Blaze continues to be an awesome protagonist pick in the exceptional comeback for the series she made her name with, Streets of Rage 4, which we reviewed here. GY

Tifa Lockhart - Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII Remake

Tifa Lockhart in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix
Tifa Lockhart in Final Fantasy VII Remake / Credit: Square Enix

From this list you may discern that I have a thing for women in crop tops and miniskirts, and while that's true it’s almost entirely incidental. I don’t love Tifa Lockhart for her stylistic choices, I love her because of her beautiful soul. That’s her Powersoul, of course. Thanks to this glove, Tifa is by far Final Fantasy VII’s (our review) best damage dealer. She’s so good, in fact, the other characters are better used only to heal and cast defensive spells.

Powersoul multiplies Tifa’s output by how much her life is in danger. Giving her the Curse Ring to put her in Death Sentence and keeping her at low health will see her take down bosses like Cloud drinks down the Lifestream. But there’s more. Deathblow + Stop + Added Cut equals three hits per turn, while Added Effect + Death negates Death Sentence. Put frankly, if you still stan Aerith after all that, you need to have your discs cleaned. GY

Ellie Williams - The Last Of Us series

Ellie Williams in The Last Of Us Part 2 / Credit: SIE, Naughty Dog
Ellie Williams in The Last Of Us Part 2 / Credit: SIE, Naughty Dog

As a teenager, Ellie's devil-may-care charm shrouds the pain of the death of her friend Riley and her fearful optimism that she might have found her family in Joel. However, the events of the second game (our review) see her transform into a shadow of her former self, pursuing revenge for what was taken from her. It's a terrifying sight that shows the complexity of her character and how trauma impacts individuals that we would say are "strong" or "badass".

Of course, we're looking forward to the adaptation of The Last of Us that's in the works with HBO, featuring Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie. ID

Julianna Blake - Deathloop

Julianna Blake in Deathloop / Credit: Bethesda, Arkane Studios
Julianna Blake in Deathloop / Credit: Bethesda, Arkane Studios

How would you spend your eternal life, given the chance? As the Archivist of the AEON Program in Deathloop (our review), Julianna chooses to become a bookworm, becoming the most intelligent person ever to exist. Probably. Her hobbies are also assassination - dispatching the former Head of Security, Colt Vahn, to stop him breaking the loop - and patronisation - disparaging him for his "shoot first, ask questions never" approach. An acerbic personality with a fearsome skillset, Julianna is one of the newest heroines on this list but there's no way she wasn't making the cut. Same time tomorrow, Captain? ID

Vivienne - Dragon Age: Inquisition

Vivienne in Dragon Age: Inquisition / Credit: EA, Bioware
Vivienne in Dragon Age: Inquisition / Credit: EA, Bioware

Vivienne, also known as Madame de Fer, is one of the most controversial companions in Inquisition - which is wild to me considering Solas is standing right there. Condescending, fashion-forward and frosty. If you invest in her, however, you'll find out that is extremely protective of people she holds in high esteem, very generous and deeply sympathetic of outsiders. Vivienne is incredible to include in your party as she is a proper powerhouse and she's got more zingers in her dialogue than a round of tequila shots with limes. "I never worry, darling. A leash can be pulled from either end," she advises the player character. Oosh. ID

Bayonetta - Bayonetta series

Bayonetta in Bayonetta 2 / Credit: SEGA, Platinum Games
Bayonetta in Bayonetta 2 / Credit: SEGA, Platinum Games

As the three of us came together to craft this article, there was one character who immediately sprung to mind as gaming’s ultimate female character. The perfect climax to this feature, if you will. “Stunning,” said Georgina. “Iconic,” I added. “Bayonetta,” concluded Imogen. 

She’s sexy. She’s powerful. She’s confident. She’s frankly everything I could ever hope to be, give or take being 600 years old. Forget narrowing things down to just women, this Umbra Witch is easily one of the strongest characters in the world of gaming in general.

While we've got you, check out the trailer for the forthcoming Bayonetta 3, featuring our beloved bicon.

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Although the original Bayonetta game was designed by a man, Hideki Kamiya, you might be surprised to learn that the actual character was designed head to toe by a woman - Mari Shimazaki. On the surface, she might seem to embody every stereotype of a female character that we don’t want to see - her ridiculously long legs, revealing outfits, and large, uh, assets, could all be seen as playing into the male gaze. But no. Bayonetta knows she’s sexy, she flaunts it for absolutely nobody but herself, and doesn’t let it even remotely get in the way of her eviscerating her enemies, with no need for some male character to swoop in and save her (something she actively rejects). 

There’s far too much to say about Bayonetta to summarise in a simple listicle, dear reader, but rest assured that we adore her, and there frankly needs to be more characters like her out there to populate our screens with even more iconic women. Don’t f**k with a witch. CL

Featured Image Credit: Naughty Dog / Intelligent Systems / Arkane Studios / Square Enix / Grasshopper Manufacture

Topics: Deathloop, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy 7, The Last Of Us, List, Opinion

Georgina Young
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