Author Topic: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists

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Aeolus

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2011, 08:29:37 AM »
Finally, the thread appears.

That said, first off, Samus? Really? You gave her an honorable mention? For what? Her tragic backstory? Her decision to not shoot the Hatchling? Her relationship with Adam (and his "Perfect Military Mind")? Her turning into Masta' Chef by the end of Trilogy? Or anything involving her involvement in MOM? Samus would not approve *Thumbs Down*.

Second, there are plenty of other awful female videogame characters out there but you just had to take the low hanging fruit (in this case a Peach), didn't you. While you did address the fact that she doesn't get much screen time beyond Bowser's (or the villain of the game's) clutches, and that really nobody in the Marioverse gets any development whatsoever, she's still miles ahead of Daisy. Plus Peach can still hold her own in Smash Bros. whereas Daisy's but a pallet swap.

Third, Shepard? Really? The problem with nominating a choose your own gender character is that, while they aren't treated any differently either way, they're also bound to having to look at things in almost a purely gender neutral way as well (the exception to the lack of gender bias usually lies with which ass they'll tap). And usually when someone tries to inflict a gender neutral character with an engendered perspective, it's always male (I've yet to see a case otherwise).

Fourth, Alys. I don't mind PS1's Alis that much given how much perspective is given to her character in later games. But with PS4's Alys my beef lies in her in the fact that she's an Obi Wan and exists more as the source of Chaz's direction and mentorship than anything else. Granted she's done fairly well as an Obi Wan but she's still an Obi Wan and thus identical to every other Obi Wan out there. But then again, there are issues I have with her (for instance her being an Eight Stroke Warrior which the game never even enlightens you as to what the fuck an Eight Stroke Warrior actually is).

Fifth, what about the female villains? While a lot of them tend to be outright awful (as they tend to do little more than "Lord-(insert random male villain's name here)-Sama!!!") there's bound to be a few good ones.
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CDFN

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2011, 10:08:34 AM »
The hall of shame could've been endless, they would need a much bigger list to be able to include all the crap that's out there.
The honorable mentions list has a few issues though, Samus instead of Alyx and Lara Croft (or Elena from Uncharted for that matter) just doesn't make any sense. I just don't see how you could justify that choice.
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Ashton

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2011, 10:30:05 AM »
By in large, that list was top notch, and touched on one of the biggest concerns of RPG narrative: realistic, 3-dimensional characters. Yeah, Lighting not being there feels like an elephant in the room, but asside from that, I'd give a pass to every one they put up there.
I think it's hilarious you'd talk about realistic characters then suggest a FFXIII character, of all characters, to be on the list. None of the characters in that game are remotely deep or realistic.

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2011, 10:32:01 AM »
II think the majority of the list for good characters was well done. 2 th would have liked to have seen would have been:

Faith from Mirror's Edge. She's so friggin awesome.

The lead character from Septerra Core. I forget her name. Badass lady with a gun who acts as the party's lead. You honestly don't see that too often.

The one thing I don't understand is why Shepheard was included on this list. In every piece of advertising and art that I've ever seen released by EA/Bioware, shepheard is male. In fact, this may have been the first time I've even seen a screen cap of femshep at all. I really feel as if the male shepheard is always treated is the "true" version, which is why I think she should have been left off the list. There are plenty of better choices out there than the mass affect optional custom shepheard.

That said though, she is friggin awesome.

The majority of my criticisims, however, are with the hall of fail. Princess Peach? Really? She's had her own game where she's gone off and been the hero on the DS, and was a pretty good playable character in the US Mario 2. As for her earlier versions, is it really that hard to imagine some spoiled royalty being helplessly kidnapped? I don't know. I get it, but I just feel this slot could have been better suited to another character.

Yuzo from SmT Devil Survivor? I may be alone in this, but not only do I find her character, personality, and actions to be totally believeable, I know people like her! Yeah they annoy the hell out of me, but they exist. I really don't find her to be that unreasonablle considering she lived in a normal world up to the point where some of the craziest crap ever happened and now she's summoning demons out of her DS and using them to fight GIANT ARCH DEMONS. Again, I get it, she's not well written and her character never really grows, but from what I've played, it's the same for the rest of the cast in that game. I don't think she is undeserving of a thumbs down, but there's so much worse out there that I thought deserved this spot more than she did.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 10:50:13 AM by MindCandy »
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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2011, 10:35:55 AM »
Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan

What's your point? Every character in a story can be broken down into certain archetypes, it's how stories are structured and there's not a lot of variation when you get down to it. The important part was players connected with Alys and cared about her when she eventually died.


And I always assumed "eight stroke warrior" meant she could fell any enemy in eight strokes or less.


The majority of my criticisims, however, are with the hall of fail. Princess Peach? Really? She's had her own game where she's gone off and been the hero on the DS,

From what I remember her fighting ability revolved around her crying and having hissy fits. It wasn't really a point in the games favour that Peach is basically just an over-emotional woman who has SEVERE mood swings.


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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2011, 10:43:26 AM »
I kinda shrugged with the Shepard mention as well.  She could have easily been male, and the decisions you make as the character could also paint the way for her to be a hero (true enough) or an asshole...or whatever in-between.  The game was essentially designed, as Aeolus said, to be neutral to the sex of the main character, and kinda makes this an awkward "hero/ine" choice.

Samus was an odd choice as well.  We don't really get much from her except for the teen tantrums she had.  I don't know... I kinda liked the mystery behind her before Metroid Other M.  They added an emotional side to her that, I personally, thought she could overcome on her own.  It added humanity, but in exchange for a, what I thought, was a stronger character, something I felt we had all the years prior with her.
Same kinda goes with Aya Brea.  Whatever cred she had got lost within the mish-mash of 3rd Birthday.

I like Kaine there... mostly because of the chit-chat she could stir.  She essentially acted like a man, certainly told people to "piss off" (to put in cleanly) like one.  For some reason, I loved her outfit; it was sexy, but she was never seen as a "sex object" who played on it.  Hell, she doesn't even mention her attire.

Shirley Fennes needs to be where she is, no argument there.  I'd actually throw Mint up there amongst the worst for boring me half to death.  I'd throw an honourable mention to Tear Grants; she didn't get kidnapped, she stayed tough and fought through some family issues...literally (mind you, anyone notice how eager she was to kill her brother at the start of the game?  And how much more emotional she got about it later on? Wish-washy woman!!)

I admire how Celes took the reins over Terra.  I personally loved FF6 for it's... I'd definitely say, *dual* female lead.

Asking Princess Peach to change by this point would just be awkward though.  The concept of Mario is hard to take seriously when it looks like a giant acid trip by any other standard.  I think she's one of the cases of "she is what she is", you can't really say Mario is much more interesting, hell, he's just as bad a stereotype and a peculiar looking hero by any other trope for it.

What's your point? Every character in a story can be broken down into certain archetypes, it's how stories are structured and there's not a lot of variation when you get down to it.

I think this has been a long neglected point about game characters (or any character).  I think it helps make reading and understanding these characters less of a headache, we need some archetypes to get some ground about creating a person. 
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PotRoast

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2011, 11:15:38 AM »

The majority of my criticisims, however, are with the hall of fail. Princess Peach? Really? She's had her own game where she's gone off and been the hero on the DS,

From what I remember her fighting ability revolved around her crying and having hissy fits. It wasn't really a point in the games favour that Peach is basically just an over-emotional woman who has SEVERE mood swings.

Can you recall her characterization in Super Mario RPG? It's been so long I can't recall. All I remember is she would smack the stuffing out of enemies with a huge frying pan/golf club/etc.

hell_snake

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2011, 11:16:20 AM »
Jade from BG&E is the best female lead in any videogame, bar none.

2nd best is Heather from Silent Hill 3.



Very realistic design and personality. A lead character doesn't have to be cool or kick-ass to be good. Like April Ryan for example. Not something you can easily find in a JRPG.

btw, you guys doing a male lead feature after this one?
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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2011, 11:41:52 AM »
Heh, for all the criticisms for Peach being on the list I honestly have to say I really don't mind her being there. Although I would've chosen Ashley from RE4 personally instead of Peach. Peach was constructed from Day 1 to be a DID cardboard cut out. Ashley somehow outstrips her by miles, despite having a basic human personality, by managing to get kidnapped several times, walking right into bear traps large enough to hold an elephant (in broad daylight), calling out for Leon in one game more than Peach has for Mario in probably his entire career in the game industry, ect., ect., ect.

The fact that Peach made the list makes me think someone hasn't played RE4 or is try very, very hard to repress those memories. XD

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2011, 12:25:34 PM »
The lead character from Septerra Core. I forget her name. Badass lady with a gun who acts as the party's lead. You honestly don't see that too often.


Her name is Maya, and she is one of my personal favorites.  When we were discussing choices, she was in my personal top 10 list.  I lobbied for her.  

Mesh- we did say in the Star Ocean writeup that the guys in that game and Mimana were lousy too, but that was another rant for another time.  Honestly, it was a battle between SO4 and Mimana Iyar Chronicle for worst cast.  Personally, I thought Mimana's was far worse but who gives a shit about a shitty obscure game?  

As for Chun-Li, in the first SF game, she wore brown tights.  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Super_Chun-Li.jpg Yeah, she's been more sexified over time but she's not overt like, say, R.Mika.  

I've seen some solid female protagonists in indie RPGs lately.  I love Marine in Aldorlea's Millennium series.  I'm playing this game called Vagrant Hearts by Warfare; the main characters are two sisters who are both strong in their own ways.  

...and Shion still sucks.  Someone mentioned Rinoa.  I hate Rinoa, but to me Shion is Rinoa's fail on steroids.  I can at least forgive Rinoa for being a spoilt and very sheltered teenage girl who knows nothing about how the real world works.  Ship her off to college where status means nothing and everyone takes out the garbage, and she'll grow up.  Shion's supposed to be an intelligent professional grown woman and she's a childish doofus.  Yeah, the circumstances surrounding her life are tragic, but no more so than many of our ancestors who escaped their razed hometowns in war-torn countries, saw loved ones die before their eyes, and were forced to be refugees in places they'd never even heard of and survive on their wits alone.  And you didn't hear them acting like childish, petulant, privileged spoilt brats... like their descendents (us.)  Auntie from old country is tough as nails.  Shion is a simpering weenie chick.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 12:36:21 PM by Dincrest »
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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #40 on: April 30, 2011, 12:33:29 PM »
I could actually add Estelle from LoHTiTS to the best list. She's a genki girl done right, honestly.

I agree completely, though the game just came out here so she was probably at a disadvantage (not sure everyone has even played it).  Plus there are still two more games to go so we still have to wait and see how her character develops (or play it in Japanese...).

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #41 on: April 30, 2011, 01:14:14 PM »
Really disappointed that Estelle from Trails in the Sky wasn't on the best list, but I assume that's because the game just came out. No mention of Chie from Persona IV was also disappointing.

And Aya Brea? Seriously? She was a pretty generic Resident Evil style heroine in the first two games and it just got so much worse in The Third Birthday.

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #42 on: April 30, 2011, 01:23:28 PM »
So we're just fighting over what should be on the list (I didn't read it after hearing about all the spoilers)? Why don't we discuss how to actually write good female protagonists? Or is that against the thread? Oh well, I'm doing it.

What I've found to be best when making a "strong" female protagonist is to just ignore her gender. She has a character, the character doesn't have a gender. When we think of great female protagonists, do we think of ones who break gender barriers by being strong like men, or do we think of ones with good personality? Personally, I prefer the latter, as both a writer and player.

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Aeolus

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #43 on: April 30, 2011, 01:52:42 PM »
^To a certain extent I kinda disagree. The thing I would like to see most in a female character is the fact that she isn't just your average game protagonist with tits but possesses at least some traits of femininity to their character, something that a male character just can't replicate. At the same time however, I would also like to see these traits portrayed in neither a negative or misogynistic light. More specifically to be able to contribute to the immediate conflict without being the actual catalysis of said conflict.


Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan

What's your point? Every character in a story can be broken down into certain archetypes, it's how stories are structured and there's not a lot of variation when you get down to it. The important part was players connected with Alys and cared about her when she eventually died.


And I always assumed "eight stroke warrior" meant she could fell any enemy in eight strokes or less.

My point was that I didn't care about her because her stat gains sucked and that she was eventually wasting space in my party. It was the exact same case with PS2's Nei except that at least Alys started out decently (although Nei at least had that gaining levels out the ass over everyone else thing that Alys didn't). Plus I didn't really need to have to wait for a quarter of the game to be over for her particular archetype to reach its conclusion.
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Starmongoose

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Re: The Best (and Worst) Female Protagonists
« Reply #44 on: April 30, 2011, 02:04:01 PM »
Post away Jubby, I just made the thread to discuss the topic in general.


I do kinda of disagree, just a little bit though. I don't think we should pretend there isn't a difference between men and women. Perhaps not on their on, but certainly in the way a society may treat them. If you are writing a female character who is filling a traditionally male role, the experiences she would have along the way (facing hardships or perhaps forming strong bonds with other females in her role) should shape who she is fundamentally as a person.

The same goes for writing men who go against their own gender role, unfortunately it doesn't happen much in games outside of Persona games because the gamer market still caters primerally to the straight male - who are (mostly) still afraid of anything less than a macho man.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 02:15:24 PM by Starmongoose »


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