Chris: I’m not surprised about our top two characters. These are the two predominant female icons in gaming, especially because they’ve both been around for going on 30 years. What did surprise me, however, was the support that other characters got in the top 8.
After Alex Roivas, the next eight characters all had at least four votes from our 11-person panel, and a ton of points to go with it. Commander Shepard isn’t all that shocking, but seeing characters such as Midna or Lucina finish so strongly? Didn’t see that coming. I like it, though.
On a personal level, I’m a little bitter that Alicia from Valkyria Chronicles finished juuuuuust out of the top 25, but it’s hard for me to complain when I’m the only person who voted for her. Then again, I’m the only person on the entire panel who’s played that game, so….get on that, panel.
There really isn’t anyone in the top 25 that I look at and go “GET THAT OUT OF HERE NO WAY.” I think both Feys should be a little lower, but I’m happy they at least finished outside the top 10. Our panel happens to have a lot of folks who loved Phoenix Wright, and that’s fine, but neither Maya nor Mia is one of the 10 best female characters ever made.
Joseph: I feel as though this list is less diverse that our Top 25 Males. Perhaps it’s because there is a smaller pool from which to choose, but I there are few outliers with which I am not directly familiar. I think that speaks more toward game developers’ choices for the genders of strong characters more than players’ demand, or maybe it just means once they find a good woman, they try to stick with her.
Each one of these women (or girls) brings the exact same depth and character development we see from their male counterparts, which is a big leap from where we were 20 years ago. The media, while not all authoritative, does a lot to help create or destroy stereotypes, and I think video games are making a move toward tearing down gender barriers. The question of whether or not we need such barriers is one for another time, but the femme fatales on this list illustrate how we don’t need weak women to make strong heroes. Women are more than capable of grabbing the reins themselves and saving the world.
Michaela: I found I was familiar with more of the characters on the female list vs. the male list, and that made it a lot easier to judge whether or not the final rankings were reasonable. With that said, I’m pleased with the results of the female list despite Midna not being number one. That’s slightly saddening, but in retrospect Samus deserves props as the number one best female character. No objections here!
Cary: Just like with the list of male characters, it’s awesome to see such variety in the female list. You’ve got your bounty hunters, magical helpers, gun-toting badasses, and quick-witted companions. What’s really interesting is that a number of younger folks, and even younger there with Clementine, made the top 25. (Whereas most of the men in the top 25 were adults, or close to it.) A number of recent games have tapped into this notion of having children or teenagers as main characters — it’s intriguing when you consider that most people who play video games these days are adults. And that fact that many of these players are making connections with younger female characters…well, maybe that’s a little creepy on the surface…but once you get past that facade, perhaps there’s some there to be said about the power of female characters in video games. Mario, Link, even Lee Everett wouldn’t be much beyond sets of impersonal data if it weren’t for their female counterparts.
Christine: Like the male list, I’m pretty satisfied with the female characters who made the cut. There were a few characters who made it, like Chell, GLaDOS, and Elizabeth Comstock, whose games I want to experience to be able to appreciate them fully. I’m still trying to finish the first Portal and I hope to move onto Portal 2 next, but I at least have an idea why Chell and GLaDOS are great characters. It does look like I’ll have a much memorable experience with those two in Portal 2 based on others’ comments about them on the list. What I love about these lists is how it revs up my excitement to play or finish certain games. Reading the experiences of everyone who has played and beaten most of the games on this list where the female characters appear in, assures me I’ll be in for a really good time when you have amazing characters to make your gaming experience worthwhile.