What strong female characters in video games have taught me about life
PEDSTRIAN.TV has teamed up with PlayStation to celebrate the release of the latest version of Horizon Forbidden West.
Growing up, video games were definitely a “boy thing”. Playtimes were spent hearing about the latest characters, plot twists, and the game that lets you blow a zombie’s head off in the most gruesome way.
In the 2000s, there simply wasn’t the gender representation in video games that there is today. So I stuck with a (small) handful of strong female characters who weren’t damsels in distress or sexualized to the nth degree.
Even in 2019, games that center composed women only 5% of the market. A stat made even more shocking when you realize that half of the gamers in Australia are women. This is funny.
Fortunately, a change is (slowly) coming. Characters like the strong aloy in Playstation Horizon series – including the next Forbidden Horizon West set to release February 18 – show that equality is on the way.
Aloy is a young huntress from the Nora tribe and the genetic clone of the 21st century roboticist and engineer, dr. Elizabeth Sobeck. Aloy and the AI system she was created in were implemented by Dr. Sobeck after a pest destroys life on earth. Aloy’s goal? To prevent a rogue AI from reactivating the plague and ending life (what little remains) once again.
In the last Forbidden Horizon West Payment, aloy leads a journeyman quest across the Forbidden West to find the source of the plague. Along the way, she encounters unfamiliar terrain ravaged by both storms and machines, as well as conflicts with raiders who use AI machines for warfare.
TLDR: Aloy is a badass. To celebrate Aloy’s latest story in the Horizon series, here are the strong female characters that preceded the Huntress and what they taught me about life.
Filbert of Grandpre: Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
First released in 2007, Assassin’s Creed didn’t have a female lead until 2012. But Filbert of Grandpre is now considered a shining example of racial and gender representation in video games. Set in 18th century New Orleans, Aveline’s goals are to defend abused slaves and fight for their freedom as well as eliminate her mortal enemies.
Born to a wealthy French merchant and an African slave, Aveline notices the contrast of her heritage within society and, at just 12 years old, promises to fight against injustice.
A positive ideology that every teenage girl should remember.
Alice Liddell: Alice Madness Returns
A horror hack and slash action-adventure video game, Alice Madness Returns is a reimagining of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland. It follows the story of Alice Liddell, a young girl victim of trauma following a family drama. After being released from the psychiatric clinic, Alice lives in an orphanage but to heal her trauma, Alice must fall into Wonderland where all is not what it seems.
In this game, our beloved Alice is deal with debilitating trauma while battling monsters and enemies. Proving that even when you’re dealing with mental health issues and trauma, you can still be strong and powerful.
Buffy Summers: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds
Alright, this one can be a little cliche but I told you we didn’t have many options in the 2000s. Based on the hit franchise, buffy the vampire slayerthis video game is set in the fifth season of the show.
As our favorite protagonist from the 90s, in this game, buffy summers faces an army of monsters to protect the world from permanent darkness. Along with vampires, zombies and demons, Buffy and her friends fight for good. In addition to being a feminist icon, Buffy in Chaos bleeds shows that friendship and good deeds will always prevail.
Though there is clearly a long way to go when it comes to gender diversity in video games, characters like this paved the way for a world where Aloy can defend the world against the plagues. And it’s the main character that breaks the energy of the patriarchy, tbh.
Horizon Forbidden West, released on February 18, 2022, is a PlayStation exclusive, available on PlayStation 5 and 4.
Game rating: M Science fiction and violence themes.