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Video Gaming’s Most Influential Female Characters



Today marks International Women’s Day, where we all take a moment to appreciate the influence and contributions of women across the globe. As part of those celebrations, OnlySP is examining some of video gaming’s famous female characters and making note of how they have changed the industry.

Though female characters are still under-represented in gaming, the industry has still been some stand-out characters who have had a real impact on the audience and gaming as a whole.

Chun-Li, Street Fighter

Chun-Li made history when she appeared in Street Fighter II, generally acknowledged as the first female playable character in a fighting game. Fast and agile, with a move-set just as varied and devastating as her male counterparts, Chun-Li proved to a ‘90s audience that women in video games could be just as capable as the men.

In addition, Chun-Li proved to have an interesting backstory, working for Interpol to take down the criminal M. Bison, something which had a personal motive for her, as Bison was responsible for the death of her family.

Chun-Li’s appearance on the Street Fighter II roster set the stage for other fighting games to follow suit, resulting in the creation of other characters like Sonya Blade and Kitana in Mortal Kombat, Ivy in Soul Calibur, and many others.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider

The early years of the PlayStation era had a regrettable dearth of notable female characters. As a result, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider was like a breath of fresh air. The story goes that the gender of the main character was changed relatively late in the development process, resulting in a powerful and capable character.

Modern interpretations of Lara have sometimes had missteps and missed what made the character so interesting to players. She’s a smart, capable, well-educated woman who gets her kicks venturing into ancient ruins looking for interesting artefacts.

By selling as well as it did, Tomb Raider was one of the first to prove that a female-led game could be a massive hit.

GLadOS, Portal

The player character of Portal does not really have that much to say, which leaves all the talking to be done by the malevolent AI. Her distinctive, sing-song voice and her superb dialogue, which veers wildly between hilarious and profoundly disturbing had an immediate impact on everyone who played.

Endless jokes about the cake being a lie aside, the quality of the writing for GLadOS and the depths of her personality combined with her cheerful application of deadly measures make her one of the most memorable video game villains ever created.

GLadOS became so iconic that a number of other video games featured her in cameos, such as Lego Dimensions, and the optional GLadOS announcer in DotA 2. In addition, the hit Hollywood film Pacific Rim uses GLadOS voice actor Ellen McLain for the voice of the on-board computers in the film.

Princess Zelda, The Legend of Zelda

Though her early depictions presented her as your standard ‘Damsel in Distress’, Zelda’s later appearances had her taking a considerably more active role. From Ocarina of Time onwards, Zelda would prove to have a taste for disguises, such as the ninja-like Sheik, or the mischievous pirate Tetra in The Wind Waker.

Besides assisting hero Link with a bow or sword, Zelda also displays psychic powers such as telepathy and precognition, and is often portrayed as a wise and capable ruler.

The Legend of Zelda timeline is convoluted, but few can deny that much of it turns on the choices and actions of Princess Zelda. In addition, the entire series is named after her, so one cannot deny how much of an impact she has had.

Samus Aran, Metroid

When Metroid was first released on the NES, most players were not even aware that Samus was female. After some time and some sequels, this became general knowledge, but by then the badass space bounty hunter in yellow power armour was firmly embedded in the cultural consciousness of gamers everywhere.

Samus has acquired a significant fanbase who write fan fiction about her adventures, play as her in Super Smash Bros., or even spend hours carefully crafting that iconic power armour from foam or fibreglass. This speaks to the popularity of the character but also to the connection that many fans feel with Samus Aran.

If you have any thoughts on other female videogame characters that have had a big impact, on your personally or on video gaming as a whole, be sure to leave a comment. Keep checking back with OnlySP on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for more game news and opinions.

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Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in May 2019




May offers no respite from the big, bold games that have released so far in 2019, bringing with it a host of games almost certain to appeal to gamers of every stripe.

Close to the Sun

Release Date: May 2, 2019
Platforms: PC, consoles later in the year

May’s first major release may also be its most intriguing. Close to the Sun has regularly attracted comparisons to BioShock for its art style and premise, though the relationship between the two titles is, at best, spiritual.

Players take the role of journalist Rose Archer as she steps aboard Nikola Tesla’s ship, the Helios in 1897. Like Andrew Ryan before him (or after him, depending on perspective), Tesla has created a microcosm in which scientific freedom is unrestricted, with disastrous outcomes. Rose’s first impression is of a quarantine sign at the entrance to a still, dead ship, but she presses on regardless in search of her lost sister.

With Close to the Sun, developer Storm in a Teacup aims to provide an intense horror experience. The Helios holds none of BioShock’s shotguns or Plasmids. Instead, players have no means to defend themselves, with gameplay focusing on hiding from and escaping the threats on board.

Check out OnlySP’s final review of the game here.


Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

For anyone to whom the slow, meditative approach does not appeal, Bethesda is busting out the big guns with the long-awaited, little-expected sequel, RAGE 2.

This time around, id Software has tapped Just Cause and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios for assistance in developing an open-world game. The result, if the trailers are any indication, is a breakneck, neon-fuelled experience that focuses on insanity and ramps up all the unique aspects of the earlier game.

One focal point of development has been ensuring the interconnectedness of the game’s structure, and the teams have promised a greater focus on narrative this time around. Perhaps in keeping with that, RAGE 2 is being distanced from its predecessor, taking place 30 years later with a new protagonist and a whole new story, though some callbacks will be present.

Although id’s legendary first-person gunplay is a driving force throughout the game, it will be supplemented by some light RPG elements, robust vehicular combat, and post launch challenges and support (though the developers deny that RAGE 2 is designed with a games-as-a-service model in mind).

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Release Date: May 14, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Out on the same day as RAGE 2 is the vastly different A Plague Tale: Innocence. A historical adventure, the game challenges players with overcoming obstacles with brains rather than brawn.

Players become Amicia, an orphan girl struggling to survive in a plague-infested medieval France while also keeping her younger brother safe. With the landscape rife with rats and members of The Inquisition, one of the core tenets of gameplay is reportedly the need to use these threats against each other. As such, though Amicia has a sling to use, the gameplay is designed more as survival puzzles than combat ones.

Developer Asobo Studio is not a household name, though it has a lengthy history of adaptations and support on major titles, including Quantum Break and The Crew 2. Furthermore, even though A Plague Tale is yet to release, publisher Focus Home Interactive has displayed remarkable confidence in the project by extending its partnership with Asobo.

Honourable Mentions

Although RAGE 2 is the incontestable action-blockbuster of the month, gamers in search of another kind of frenetic may want to wait until May 21, when Curve Digital drops American Fugitive, which has a more than passing resemblance to the earliest Grand Theft Auto games. Alternatively, PlayStation VR owners may want to look into Blood and Truth come May 28.

Sega also shines this month, dropping Team Sonic Racing on May 21 and Total War: Three Kingdoms two days later.

Anyone looking for an RPG has indie’s answer to The Outer Worlds, Within the Cosmos, to look out for on May 30, while those looking for slower stories get the latest episode of Life is Strange 2 on May 9, Observation on May 21, and the fjord-noir Draugen at a yet unspecified date.

Have we forgotten anything that you’re excited for? Let us know down below or on our Discord server.

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