Video games have come a long way since the days of Leisure Suit Larry. In light of Women's History Month, it's important to recognize the strong female characters who pave the way towards a more inclusive gaming industry.
We can always revisit the popular choices - think Zelda, Samus, and Lara Croft - but why limit ourselves to the heavy-hitters? What about the newer or less-celebrated characters who can help us expand the scope of female representation?
Beyond the cocky, badass bombshell trope, women in gaming are brainy and brawny; they're young and old; they're women of color, LGBT, and working class women; they battle monsters and mental illness alike; and they face the headaches of everyday life while saving the world from evil.
Let's honor some alternative female icons who add more dimension to the portrayal of women in games.
Heroism isn't all about superhuman strength and magical powers.
The narrative-heavy Longest Journey series is all about using your wits and imagination to crack a criminal conspiracy that threatens the fate of two worlds. Praised for balancing fantastical stories with down-to-earth character development, the games get lots of love for the prophesied heroine, April Ryan.
That said, the latest protagonist in the series, Zoe Castillo, might deserve an even bigger slice of the pie.
The bioengineer, activist, and amateur spy shares many qualities with the beloved Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. With her intelligence and relatable personality, you'd do just as well to chat with Zoe over coffee as you would to have her unravel a mega-corporation's nefarious plot to enslave two world populations via their dreams.
All in a day's work, right?