Women characters change the gaming world

By Josh Alfrey

With Women’s History Month coming to an end soon, it is about time we put a spotlight on women in video games and professional gaming.

In most games, female characters started off playing the damsel in distress role: Princess Peach in the Super Mario series and Princess Zelda in “The Legend of Zelda.” These female characters were constantly kidnapped by a big, bad man, and constantly needed to be rescued by a small, brave hero.

This stereotype did not take very long to change and the roles began to adapt and modernize for female characters. With the release of “Metroid,” Nintendo shocked gamers everywhere when Samus Aran took off her battle suit and helmet, revealing she was a woman. Samus became one of the first butt-kicking women in games, and she created the powerful and smart heroine archetype in gaming.

Women throughout games have struggled between the line of powerful and objectification. With titles in the Street Fighter and the Mortal Kombat series there were no shortages of female character who could hold their own against all evildoers–often at the cost of revealing and inappropriate clothing for fighting people.

Luckily, many developers were aware of this trend and they actively tried to combat it. Games like “League of Legends” have taken pride in releasing female characters in full battle armor. Those women are ready to fight with any male or female counterpart.

Even Nintendo has gone back to change the images of Peach and Zelda, their iconic damsels in distress. In “Super Smash Brothers: Melee” for the Nintendo Gamecube, both of the princesses were fighters, and players were given the chance to kick the butt of the characters’ former captors.

In the world of eSports, women have become significantly more involved throughout the years, both as competitors and behind the scenes.

Female gamers like World of Warcraft’s (WoW) Rumay “Hafu” Wang and her male Orz teammates–Glick and Rhaegyn–won multiple WoW arena tournaments at MLG Dallas and Orlando in 2008. This made her the first woman to win in a co-ed gaming tournament.

Other women, like Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico and Eefje “sjokz” Depoortere, have been breaking barriers in the eSports journalism world.

The gaming world has been drastically changing for women, as women have changed the world of gaming.