If you take a look around the gaming world today, you will see a lot of representation for female protagonists in games. From Lilith in Borderlands to Kate in Gears of War 4 to Lara Croft in her entire Tomb Raider series, there are a lot of great women roles in games.
The first “true” female protagonist was Mrs. Pac-Man in 1982 only 2 years after Pac-man came out for arcade machines. However, the first story-based female protagonist was named Reika Kirishima and appeared in a game called Barduke in 1985. Have you ever heard of her? Probably not as she was featured in a game that only released in Japan. So with that, who is the first story-based female protagonist here in the west? None other than Samus Aran from Metroid in 1986.
Metroid is unique in the fact that Samus is wearing a special suit with a helmet throughout the entire game. For most people’s first playthroughs, no one knew Samus was a female. The only way to find out was to beat the game in under 5 hours. If a player did this then the end would have Samus face the TV screen and remove her helmet to reveal her face and hair. It was very surprising to many who played the game as numerous other story-based games featured male leads at the time and this badass character ended up being a woman all along.
Samus and the Metroid series has gone on to make 14 main and spinoff titles and has become one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises. Nintendo is currently working on the next major installment in the series: Metroid Prime 4 for the Switch. Samus has also been featured in several other games, but most notably in Super Smash Bros. If you haven’t heard of the Metroid series before the Smash games are where you may be familiar with Samus and her other self Zero Suit Samus. I look forward to the next game in the series as well as to play her character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate coming out in December. Samus is truly an awesome character and she paved the way for other strong female protagonists in video games.
The reason I brought up this series today is not only because it is a great series that has a new entry coming soon, not only because Samus Aran is in the upcoming Smash Bros. title, not only did the franchise have an amazing remake of Super Metroid on the 3DS recently, not only because she became an icon as a female gaming protagonist, but because of the columniation of all of these things. Samus is the inspiration for the name of Adam and I’s new puppy. Everyone, meet Samus. She is a 100% pure-bred American mutt with husky, lab, and possibly boxer in her blood. Adam came up with the name and it stuck instantly. She will be an amazing companion in this game called life!! And if the time ever came, I’m sure she would protect us from the Metroid!!
“Nothing is more badass than treating a woman with respect!!” Mr. Torgue, Borderlands 2, 2012