Play Prime World
Play Prime World

Women and the games industry haven?t always seen eye to eye; to say the least. We?re not going to get into that here ? that?s a whole different can of worms, and one I don?t particularly feel like opening today. Suffice it to say, the days when gaming was exclusively a boys club are far behind us: women play games just as much as men, if not more. Unfortunately, where game development is concerned, they?re still woefully underrepresented.

It shows. Developers have taken great strides towards better-written, more believable women, but the industry?s got a long ways to go before things can truly be considered equal. That there are so many developers out there who apparently haven?t yet gotten the memo doesn?t help matters, either. Today, I?ve compiled a little wall of shame, commemorating some of the most poorly written, stereotypical, and downright irritating female characters the hobby has ever seen. Feel free to suggest a few of your own, if there?s one you don?t see on here.

Samus Aran(Metroid: Other M):

For all intents and purposes, I?d say Samus Aran in her original incarnation was a very well-written female character. Sure, the pixelated bikini scene (did we really used to find that sort of thing sexy) was a bit unnecessary, but at the same time; the core that defined her character couldn?t be ignored: she was a badass mercenary who killed eldritch abominations as part of her daily routine. That she happened to be a woman was incidental.

Then Metroid: Other M came along. Over the course of one game (hell, over the course of five sodding minutes), our terrifyingly competent badass space mercenary is relegated to the role of weak, submissive, crying, childish doormat who can?t actually accomplish anything unless a big strong man; gives her permission.

Maybe they wanted to demonstrate that even the most powerful of us can still be vulnerable, that even the best of us can still doubt themselves. Unfortunately, they did it in the clumsiest, most ham-handed way possible. Nintendo didn?t just lower the bar here ? they dropped it off a cliff, disintegrated it with a hydrogen bomb; then used the Death Star to blow up the planet.

Sadly, this bastardization of one of Nintendo?s most iconic characters is just the tip of the iceberg. Things are going to get far, far worse: brace yourselves.


I?m probably going to get some flak for this one. After all, ICO was a downright legendary game, and progenitor to one of the defining titles of the Playstation 2. Almost everything about the game was stunning; from the set design, to the music, to the gameplay itself. So?.why has Yorda made the list?

To answer that question, I want to ask you folks something: can you remember anything that was distinct about her as a character? Physical appearance doesn?t count ? I?m talking history. I?m talking personality. I?m talking attitude. What did she actually do? What did she actually accomplish?;

Aside from the fact that she was a princess, and you apparently had to save her, there was virtually nothing about her that distinguished her from a common tree stump.

Princess Peach(Mario) :

Uh?yeah. In case you haven?t guessed yet, Nintendo seems to have a bit of a problem when it comes to writing female characters. I might get some flak for including Peach on this list, but at the end of the day, I don?t really give a damn what any of you think: Princess Peach is not a well-written female character. She?s absurdly and stereotypically ?girly,? in addition to being a perpetual damsel in distress, and the degree of cluelessness she displays on a regular basis makes me wonder if she?s permanently baked out of her mind.

To make matters worse, the one game where Nintendo had the opportunity to actually fan out and make her more than a walking stereotype (Super Princess Peach), they had her fight using her emotions. Yeah, that?s right ? while Mario and Luigi get to go on roaring, mushroom-fueled rampages, Peach just gets angry and destroys things by throwing tantrums.

Oerba Dia Vanille(Final Fantasy XIII):

Absurdly revealing, fan-servicey outfit? Check. ?Kawaii? attitude? Check. Despite being half a century old, Vanille very obviously fits the ?insane underaged girl? archetype that Square Enix developed an unhealthy obsession with after Final Fantasy VII. There?s very little else to say here ? I?m sure I?ll get some flak for including her on this list, particularly at such a high level, but to be honest, she represents a trope in JRPGs I?d rather see dead in favor of better-developed characters.

Ashley Graham(Resident Evil 4):

At the beginning of Dreamfall, Zoe is a shiftless, spoiled, lazy University drop-out. At the end of Dreamfall, Zoe is a?.shiftless, spoiled, lazy University dropout with a boyfriend. She?s the most clueless character I?ve ever seen, and her whole reason for existence seems to be her ex-boyfriend, who she sets off in search of after he goes missing. Of course, she never gets back together with him: she falls for some putz named Damien after knowing him for a total of a day.

Shion (Xenosaga):

Shion is, hands-down, the worst on the list, as she displays pretty much every negative quality that?s ever been associated with a poorly-written female character. There?s so much wrong with her as a character that I?m not even sure where to begin. Supposedly, she has a PHD, but her intelligence is very much an informed ability: there are several points at which she makes Princess Peach look like a member of MENSA. She?s structured as a capable leader, but most of the time, when she?s not acting like a petulant little brat, she?s spouting wangsty internal monologues that sound like they?d be more at home pasted to a thirteen year old?s locker.

Yeah, that sounds like exactly the sort of person I?d want responsible for my life.

That?s to say nothing of her terrible relationship with the men in her life which (surprise!) define her as a character more than anything else. She?s not just appalling and stereotypical; she?s offensive, as well, and manages to somehow avoid that lovely little thing called character growth over the course of three bloody games.

So, yeah: uncontested at number one, we?ve got Shion Uzuki.

Similar Posts
  • HyperX Cloud Pro Gaming Headset
    HyperX Cloud Pro Gaming Headset

    How does the new HyperX Cloud Pro Gaming Headset from Kingston stack up against the competition?

  • Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed
    Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed

    Dungeons are a staple of the MMO genre; large-scale challenges requiring co-operation and co-ordination between anywhere from five to a few hundred players to adequately complete. Of course, not all are created equal, and some stand head and shoulders above their peers. Today, I'd like to tip my hat to those few legends, those instances that'll stick with us for years to come as shining examples of how to do dungeons right.

  • Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard
    Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard

    In many ways, an MMO is only as good as its music. Many of the best and most memorable moments in an MMO invariably have a song associated with them; a piece of music which brings the memories flooding back the moment it reaches one's ears. Today, I'd like to pay homage to some of those songs - and some of those moments. Here, for your listening pleasure (and in no particular order, I assure you) is a list of some of the best songs ever heard in an MMO.

  • Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World
    Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World

    For those of you who've been living under a rock, Facebook recently purchased Oculus VR to the tune of $2 billion. Understandably, backers and developers alike were rather unimpressed, calling it a betrayal. As for me? I've never been more excited.

  • Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League
    Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League

    If you've played league, you've probably encountered at least one toxic player. If you haven't, there's a good chance that YOU are the toxic one. Don't believe me? Ask yourself if you've ever said any of the following...

  • Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II
    Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II

    I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II lately - and you should be too. Say what you will about the game's flaws, it's still arguably one of the best action RPGs released in the past several years. If you're up for a bit of a challenge, it's well worth the buy. Don't believe me? Let's talk, then.

  • Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome
    Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome

    As you're all no doubt aware, The Elder Scrolls Online - currently in open beta - will be launching in a few months or so. In light of both the new release date and all the hype surfacing around it, I've decided that, over the next two weeks, I'll be looking at all the reasons to look forward to it...and all the reasons we shouldn't.

  • League of Legends or DOTA 2?
    League of Legends or DOTA 2?

    The debate between Dota 2 and League of Legends has been raging almost since the two games were first released. But which game is REALLY the superior of the two?

  • Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs
    Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs

    Let's look at a few settings, worlds, and stories I'd love to see made into MMOs. I'm sure you'll agree, all the entries on this list have the potential to be downright awesome.

  • MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves
    MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves

    People are dicks - particularly on the Internet. While that shouldn't come as any great surprise, occasionally we come across someone whose level of sheer dickery reaches legendary proportions. As we move into 2014, let's take a look at a few such individuals from the previous year.

comments powered by Disqus