Who would you say are the Big Eight Women of Gaming at the moment?

Oct 26, 2017
2,883
#1
So like the initial Smash Bros. roster greeted players with eight characters who, at the time (and mostly still are---sorry Fox!) were Nintendo's biggest deals. That got me thinking, let's say someone was tasked with gathering together the eight most iconic female videogame characters at the moment---not taking in account suitability for a fighting game or anything like that---who would those eight exactly be? The only rule is they have to be an actual videogame character (no Ariana Grande jokes), and have to be from a series still alive in some form. So, Alis from the OG Phantasy Star would be disqualified as would Joana Dark since they're effectively dead.

Also my choices are probably gonna be a bit US-centric as I'm sure in Japan there's some girls from mobile games winning the popularity rewards.


1. Chun-Li

Gaming's "grandma" at this point (not canonically yet as far as I know), Chun-Li is on par with Ryu almost in terms of crossover appearances and is usually one of the first women people think of when it comes to video-games, especially among casual fans and those not immersed in the culture. I mean, Nicki Minaj just wrote a song about her---loosely---so, yeah, she's still in the pop-culture head canon. She's pretty much the most obvious inclusion and deserves it.

But this got me thinking---how come Chun-Li doesn't have her own Ken yet?

2. Lara Croft

Once hailed as one of gaming's first "sex symbols" (and all that entails), Lara Croft has honestly been through a pretty rough time over the years. She's almost unrecognizable from her initial appearance, and probably for the best, and while the name "Lara Croft" has tons of brand recognition it doesn't seem the actual games are all that celebrated. Personally I haven't played a Tomb Raider since the original, but it seems a new one comes out every other year now and they've all blended together for me---I need to give one a shot one day, maybe I'll enjoy them? But I think on legacy alone she still carries enough clout to deserve a spot, and I was pretty shocked they didn't get her for PSABR.

Maybe her original PS outings will get the Crash/Spyro treatment next?

3. Princess Peach

Nintendo has slowly started to build up a decent amount of female representation over the years, but when it comes to Nintendo's Leading Lady---well, it's STILL Princess Peach. Luckily they've begun to experiment with her a bit more as of late, mixing up the kidnapping formula in Odyssey and giving her a key playable appearance in 3D World, so she's slowly beginning to come into her own as a character and not an artifact of the 80s. I think it's safe to say she can safely be considered a positive icon somewhat by now and people who enjoy her shouldn't feel shamed or anything like that, and she's probably the most iconic female gaming character there is among, like, everyone.

Plus princesses seem to be back in vogue nowadays. Maybe instead of working on a Mario Bros. movie with Illumination, Nintendo should just team up with Disney and make a Princess Peach movie. Guarantee that'd sell more seats.

4. Bayonetta

Though the character is fairly new to the scene, she has a powerful pedigree due to being the culmination of character action games upon release---and perhaps yet to be beaten till DMCV? Pretty much breaking all the rules of what to expect from a female protagonist, and in a way that has confused me as to whether I should see her as a positive character or be a bit put-off by it. Also it's still bizarre that she made it into the actual Smash Bros. series, and part of me actually wondered if she'd be dropped had Smash not gone the "EVERYONE IS HERE ROUTE". Unlike the previous characters, someone on the street would probably give you an awkward stare if you asked them about Bayonetta---she's definitely more insulated in gaming culture, and the reasons are obvious---but she's definitely an icon.

Hot take: Bayonetta 3 takes a huge risk by aging Bayonetta up into a 60-year old (but still athletic) woman, playing with her sexuality in the same way without hiding the realism of aging. That's where I'd take the character.

5. Tracer

The "Pikachu" of this list---a relative newcomer (though from a company that is super well-known compared to the at-the-time minor studio Game Freak) who has quickly gained shocking popularity to the point she's popping up in major motion picture in Ready Player One. In fact, I'm pretty sure she's like one of the few post-2000 properties to be featured. She's the face of Overwatch at this point which still seems to be going strong, and I would not be surprised if they capitalize on that and one day we get an action game starring Tracer as the main protagonist. I don't play Overwatch at all, but I can see the appeal of her character.

Also---Pokemon x Overwatch Crossover. It'd be corny as hell but, yeah, I could see it.

6. Ellie

The Last of Us' deuteragonist and the heart of the narrative, she basically created a new archetype in gaming. The tag-along kid as seen recently in God of War, well, Ellie as far as I know is what popularized that. Yeah, there were similar characters in games before but they tended to be disliked obstacles to the actual game as opposed to a central mechanic. Ellie was an escort character you cared about, and now she's headlining the sequel which is probably going to win a ton of rewards. I've never got around to playing The Last of Us so her popularity is based on the reactions of others I've witnessed who have played the game. She's also a tad bit of a different flavor from the other characters here who are all (well, modern Lara to a lesser extent) characters who could only exist in games, while Ellie is an attempt to create a realistic person who could exist in real life. Personally I still prefer the former, but I see the appeal of realistic characters you can connect to.

I really should play The Last of Us just to say I did.

7. Lightning

So...Lightning's popularity is completely manufactured in my eyes. Now, every main character of course tends to be made to be appealing and sell games, but there's almost a corporate cynicism to Lightning that's hard to see through. Though apparently her creator really does, in fact, love her to bizarre levels, "the Lighting of [X Franchise]" has become a common meme to describe a forced popularity character, such as Lucario. But, being iconic doesn't mean you're necessarily a positive example, and for better or worse Lightning is kind of the Taylor Swift of gaming. But I still think even though her series has finished up at the moment, she'll be back soon enough. There's likely kids now who played her game as their first Final Fantasy with an open-mind and see her like older gamers see Cloud. So, I think she deserves a spot, but towards the end definitely.

Legit shocked she never showed up in Kingdom Hearts.

8. Shantae

The first seven were easy enough to settle on...but #8? I didn't want to crowd it up with Nintendo characters like Samus and Zelda who definitely could have earned a spot, but there's not a lot of big female characters coming out right now and that's because the most popular games are driven by CaC-characters. Like, there's no heroine of Fortnite.

So, I looked towards the Indie scene. And, well, it's gotta be Shantae, right? I mean, she debuted back on the Game Boy Color but still retains a large amount of popularity despite a sparse amount of games released then, and she's even featured in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Now, only as a Spirit, but considering only the insanely popular Shovel Night (who seriously needs to STOP appearing in every game as it's becoming dumb now) has anything above a Trophy/Spirit among indie characters, that's a big deal. Maybe Sakurai will surprise us an promote her to playable as DLC, you never know.

Now she's not an "Indie" character technically I guess but I consider her as one since she's from a smaller company, and now she's crowdfunded.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,971
#10
Bayonetta and Shantae over Samus? Nah, OP.

These are two very niche characters like Samus, but with way less sales and historic relevance. It makes no sense to have them in a list like that. Shantae would be running for top 50 at best. lol

I would say:
Lara Croft, Ellie, Samus, Tracer, Jill Valentine, Terra, Chun-li, Peach.
 
Apr 17, 2018
316
#17
i don't follow tomb raider much but far as i can tell it's moved past the point where it relies largely on tits to sell? that's the impression i've gotten from seeing the new ones at e3 anyway

shantae, though, is that combined with super... not bad, just aggressively forgettable and mediocre gameplay? in the 3/4 that i've played anyway. i think people try to prop it up to a level of "iconicity" that it really, really isn't (and shouldn't be)
if you're using seniority as an argument then, uh, reimu or marisa lol
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,498
Finland
#24
Even tho Sylvanas sucks ass she does have quite the fan following and has been one of the few big faces of Warcraft franchise for a while now. Would put her above Shantae or Bayonetta.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,418
#29
Shantae does not belong there.

I don’t think Lara Croft is relevant anymore. Most of the discussion surrounding her nowadays is about how her games bomb or how poorly the developers write here. There’s not really much positive word surrounding her.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,778
France
#30
I came in here ready to yell RIEKO KODAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But your list is actually really good OP. I'd add Samus to it though.
And I legit love Lightning. I don't give a shit about how people perceive the XIII trilogy, I had a great time with it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,971
#32
i don't follow tomb raider much but far as i can tell it's moved past the point where it relies largely on tits to sell? that's the impression i've gotten from seeing the new ones at e3 anyway

shantae, though, is that combined with super... not bad, just aggressively forgettable and mediocre gameplay? in the 3/4 that i've played anyway. i think people try to prop it up to a level of "iconicity" that it really, really isn't (and shouldn't be)
if you're using seniority as an argument then, uh, reimu or marisa lol
Agree about the Shantae thing. I never saw a character's relevance being as overrated because of a design as Shantae is.

And yeah, Reimu would be the leading "indie" one. lol

Where is Saber(Artoria) from Fate/Stay Night?
She's actually legit one of the biggest gaming icons in the world. Somewhat bizarre, but having Saber in a top 8 would be fair.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,830
#33
Any list that doesn’t include Samus is automatically invalid.
This, plus i say Ellie and Shantae, SPECIALLY Shantae are huge stretchs. Hell, even Lightning and Bayonetta are kinda "well they're big, but icons?" picks.
 
Dec 25, 2017
535
Lagos , Nigeria
#36
Came i expecting 8 devs was already ready to say the one of the Female lead devs in Insomniac games must be there(cant remember her name).

Shantae should not be there. i would add Tris(witcher) before her
Jill valentine is a better
Alloy
you Also forgot Zelda
Kat
2B
Kitara(please correct me from MK)
why the heck is lightening there
 

>__

Member
Oct 28, 2018
414
#37
Bayonetta and Shantae are too small to be called big.

Could be easily replaced with Samus, Zelda, Aloy, Cortana, Jill or Claire.
 

SG-17

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,154
#44
Bayonetta and 2B are masturbatory fantasies, best to not include them. Frankly I find it hard to consider any Japanese character except Samus and Peach.


Samus
Peach
Aloy
Kassandra
Sadie Adler
Chloe Frazer
Ellie
Morrigan (Dragon Age)
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,624
#45
Alis Landale from Phantasy Star deserves a permanent place on the list. She's not completely dead to the market as the game was just remastered.

 
Oct 25, 2017
5,850
#50
But this got me thinking---how come Chun-Li doesn't have her own Ken yet?
Depends. How do you mean exactly?

Any list that doesn’t include Samus is automatically invalid.
Agreed.

I wanted to keep Nintendo down to one so I picked Peach over Zelda or Samus, for diversity sakes.
That was a poor decision.

Bayonetta and 2B are masturbatory fantasies, best to not include them. Frankly I find it hard to consider any Japanese character except Samus and Peach.


Samus
Peach
Aloy
Kassandra
Sadie Adler
Chloe Frazer
Ellie
Morrigan (Dragon Age)
Samus and Peach, but no Chun-Li? Ok.......

And as for the list...nevermind.