Jeremy enjoys gaming when not working as a manager at the same college he graduated from.
Girls in Gaming
As gaming technology evolves, characters become more detailed, both visually and in terms of personality. Unlike real life, games can sculpt their characters to look however they wish, leading to many beautiful designs we can't help but admire—which women are most stunning? These are 50 remarkably attractive gals throughout game history!
Chell is the silent protagonist of the adventure-puzzle Portal series. Since it's played in first-person, we rarely glimpse our heroine, but her rare appearances reveal a slim physique, and she's remarkably calm while dealing with the malicious machine GlaDOS.
49. Princess Peach
Series: Super Mario Bros.
Once called Princess Toadstool, Peach is the benevolent ruler of Mushroom Kingdom. She's run the gamut from damsel in distress to protagonist, and is remarkably forgiving, willing to play golf and go-kart in her downtime with foes like Bowser. She's also not completely psycho like Luigi's partner Daisy.
48. Emily Kaldwin
Emily serves a supporting in her franchise's first game, but is playable in the second, showcasing some remarkable growth as she leads her country. Picking between Emily and her father Corvo isn't just a matter of preference, as each wields different magical powers, leading to separate playstyles.
47. Jaina Proudmoore
Series: World of Warcraft
Considered the most powerful human sorceress in her realm, Jaina has a long and complex history, making her not just a pretty face for the series, but a well-developed and relatable character. She once advocated for peace between the Alliance and Horde, but certain traumas made her reconsider her pacifistic views. Willing to fight for her kingdom, Jaina strives for peace, but will pick up arms if necessary.
Series: Detroit: Become Human
One of three android protagonists, Kara's choices are largely up to players. However, despite being partially-machine, she's a caring figure willing to stand against her creators when they threaten others, proving her humanity as she struggles to help an abuse victim find refuge.
Half-vampire dhampirs like Rayne gain many vampire strengths while mitigating their weaknesses, so it's no surprise she excels in combat. Snarky, intelligent, and capable, Rayne's a fun protagonist who proves women can find strong role models in gaming.
Series: Devil May Cry
First debuting in DMC 3, Lady (real name Mary) manages to keep up with the half-demon Sparta twins, proving her combat skills. She's a firearms expert, unleashing devastating rocket attacks in the rare instances she's playable. While slower than other warriors, her ranged prowess lets her fight safely from afar.
Series: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
You can technically choose to play as a guy in Odyssey, but most players opt for Kassandra thanks to her diversity and superior voice-acting. Kassandra's decisions rely on players, but she's brave, competent, and willing to kill foes who stand in her way.
42. Morrigan Aensland
Morrigan's as well known for her appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom series as her original series. Despite being a succubus, Morrigan isn't evil, serving in more an anti-hero role, able to fly, teleport, and drain energy from those who cross her.
Series: Kingdom Hearts
One of three protagonists in Birth by Sleep, Aqua is far more active than most girls in the series (looking at you, Kairi). She's also the first of her game's trio to attain Keyblade mastery. While not as fast as Ventus or strong as Terra, Aqua has the best magic abilities and forms a close bond with King Mickey.
Series: Fate/stay night
Saber is actually a gender-swapped version of King Arthur, who (in the Fate universe) hid her sex due to fear of discrimination. Despite coming from a visual novel, Saber proves her strength many times throughout the series, helping her masters conquer other mage/hero pairs to win a wish from the mystical Holy Grail.
39. Kurisu Makise
Series: Stein's Gate
Encountered in "fantasy science" visual novel Stein's Gate, Kurisu (often nicknamed Christina) may fit the role of a tsundere—irritable and kind in equal doses—but she's generally polite to those respectful of her. Even with protagonist Okabe, she's more teasing than mean, leading to some intense chemistry (both emotional and scientific) as the two bond over their time-traveling inventions.
38. Naomi Hunter
Series: Metal Gear Solid
A brilliant scientist, Naomi plays a large role in both MGS 1 and 4. She's complex and scheming, rarely revealing her true intentions until a situation's finale, but even with her flaws, she ultimately proves dedicated to pursuing her unique brand of justice. Naomi's knowledge of the genetic virus FOXDIE makes her particularly useful at designing (and preventing) global pandemics.
37. Mad Moxxi
Flirtatious Mad Moxxi is a bartender, lover, and occasional freedom fighter all in one. Her sharp wit drips with sexual innuendo, and she has a long list of former flames, having married or dated practically half the cast of the games she's in.
Most players who journeyed through Sinnoh crushed on the kind and fashionable Dawn, who you either play as or meet as Professor Rowan's assistant. She also adventured with Ash in the anime, where she became a fierce Pokémon Coordinator (even defeating prior traveling companion May).
Similar to Misty in the original Kanto games, Nessa is Galar's second gym leader and specializes in Water-types. But she doesn't just battle, she's also a renowned model, known for her dual personality, often putting on a calm face that conceals her burning passion.
34. Mitsuru Kirijo
Team leader and potential romance in Persona 3, Mitsuru is a calm, intelligent, and wealthy persona user. Until Fuuka arrives, she serves as the team's scanner, offering advice on enemy weak points, but she eventually enters combat herself, utilizing ice-based moves. Forming a social link with Mitsuru requires a maxed-out intelligence stat, showing she values brains over charm.
33. Rachel Amber
Series: Life Is Strange
Seen in prequel game Before The Storm, Rachel is a popular and artistic student who understands protagonist Chloe's qualms with society. The two quickly bond, showing that despite her status, Rachel is far from snobby, and she can be anything from love interest to best friend depending on player choices. Her tragic fate only makes her time with Chloe all the more meaningful and sets the stage for the main game.
32. Bastila Shan
Series: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Long before Rey emerged in the sequel trilogy, Bastila proved women were more than competent as Jedi. Bastila's unique double-bladed yellow saber makes her a fearsome warrior able to challenge the galaxy's strongest Sith. She's also invaluable in war efforts thanks to her battle meditation Force power, letting her telepathically coordinate allied tactics.
Series: Bioshock: Infinite
Isolated for most of her life, Elizabeth shows a childlike wonder when exploring Columbia. But she's also intelligent, resourceful, and determined, and her unique ability to manipulate "Tears" (gaps in time) makes her an invaluable ally, a far cry from helpless tag-alongs (like Ashley in Resident Evil 4) who are more a pain than an asset.
Series: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
While Geralt of Rivia may have more history with the sorceress Trish, it's Yennefer who stole our hearts in Wild Hunt. Practical and skilled, Yennefer's magic lets her teleport, summon the dead, and more. While devoted to the common good, she's more pragmatic than many of Geralt's allies, understanding that the most effective tactics often fall in a morally-gray area.
29. Mia Fey
Series: Ace Attorney
Phoenix Wright's defense attorney mentor is known for her faith in her clients, accepting even the most challenging cases when she believes in one's innocence. Mia is skilled at bluffing, using steel confidence to garner additional information needed to concoct a plausible defense, and her younger sister Maya goes on to become one of Phoenix's most trusted allies.
28. Samantha "Sam" Giddings
Series: Until Dawn
One of several protagonists in a unique choice-based horror game, Sam is athletic, witty, and kind, easily one of the game's most likable characters. Like everyone else, her actions and fate depend on player input. Sam is both voiced by and modeled after actress Hayden Panettiere, another point in her favor.
27. Alicia Claus
Series: Bullet Witch
Though her game received mixed reviews, Alicia is no doubt a force to be reckoned with, utilizing magic and several firearms to rapidly assault foes. Her health and magic automatically regenerate, and her strongest spells summon natural disasters like tornados and thunder storms.
Master Chief's faithful AI was created from the cloned brain of Dr. Catherine Halsey, Witty and intelligent, Cortana's data skills prove invaluable to her team, and despite supposedly being a program, she frequently displays signs of emotion that form a compelling argument of life.
25. Jesse Faden
Using telekinetic powers and gunplay, Jesse searches for her information on her missing brother. Voiced by and modeled after actress Courtney Hope, Jesse is as competent as they come, offering a pretty yet not overly-sexualized female protagonist.
24. Akane Kurashiki
Series: Zero Escape
Featured in the original 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, Akane serves as her group's moral compass, keeping them on track despite the life-threatening escape situation they find themselves trapped in. Despite her bubbly interior, Akane proves to be arguably the team's smartest member, playing a huge role throughout the series.
23. Aoi Asahina
Dangonronpa is full of pretty gals to crush on, with Aoi leading the pack alongside detective Kyoko. Aoi is her nation's ultimate swimmer, a skilled athlete whose physical prowess aids her in the class trials. But despite her talents, she's a modest and fun-loving girl with a taste for sweet food, and her empathy makes her one of the most well-liked characters both in universe and out.
22. Faith Connors
Series: Mirror's Edge
Mirror's Edge deserves credit for venturing into territoties most games don't. Not only does it offer unique parkour-like gameplay, it provides a protagonist of Asian descent that bucks many overused trends. Her outfit is more practical than revealing, showcasing how women can be tough without sacrificing their feminine side.
Bayonetta revels in her sex appeal, which may sound like typical gaming over-sexualization, but her confidence and complex origins prove otherwise. Bayonetta knows who she is and what she's about, reminding us that sexualization can be empowering when done properly, and her mystical powers and marksmanship further support her abilities.
Series: Horizon Zero Dawn
In her open-world RPG, Aloy can tackle combat and diplomacy in numerous ways. She can fight both up close and afar, and utilize direct or tricky dialogue. But no matter your choices, Aloy is intelligent, kind, and progressive, dismantling outdated traditions to enact fair policies for all.
Series: Final Fantasy 10
Helping her series transition into the voice-acting capabilities of the PS2, Yuna combines the classic jobs of white mage and summoner, and her unique aeons make her the strongest unit in her party.
Yuna is as engaging in the story as in combat, accepting the hardened path of a summoner to save Spira while cultivating one of the series' strongest romances with protagonist Tidus.
18. Princess Zelda
Series: The Legend of Zelda
Ranging from damsel in distress to disguised ninja to empowered queen, Zelda's role and appearance change between entries, but her dedication and magical prowess remain constant. She also possesses 1/3 of the Triforce's power, bearing the Triforce of Wisdom.
Series: Fire Emblem
Fire Emblem's so full of good-looking people, it's like a bunch of models went to war together. But many fans have special attachment to Lyn, as she's the first protagonist American players were introduced to.
Kind yet more than willing to fight for her beliefs, Lyn has access to unique blades and can also wield bows when she promotes.
Series: Nier: Automata
A combat android, 2B is serious to a flaw, rarely displaying emotions and completing her missions with ruthless efficiency. But this only makes her occasional lapses all the more meaningful, and her tale is one of the darkest in today's list, exploring what it means to be alive and what rights that entails.
15. Miranda Lawson
Series: Mass Effect 2
Genetically engineered to be "perfect", Miranda's phenotype may be artificial, but her dedication is sincere. Confident and complex, Miranda isn't afraid to dirty her hands if it gets a job done. While her skimpy outfit has drawn criticism, some defend it as part of her story arc, exploring the psychological impacts perfect genes may trigger.
14. Kazumi Mishima
Jin Kazama's grandmother doesn't enter the story until Tekken 7, but she proves a worthy addition to its plot. Torn between love for her husband Heihachi and unease with the dark tendencies he begins displaying, Kazumi resolves to sacrifice her own happiness by taking down her fallen beloved for the good of the world.
13. Jacqui Brigg
Series: Mortal Kombat
Despite not appearing until MK 10, Jacqui wields Olympic-level boxing technique further honed by military training and advanced technology. Her gauntlets enhance her already-formidable strength and can fire plasma bursts. She's dating fellow combatant Takeda Takahashi, but their relationship doesn't interfere with their own story arcs.
An ideal support, Mercy specializes in healing and boosting her allies. Her damage is negligible and her mobility only decent, but she's amazing at "pocket support", boosting an ally's damage while recovering their health. More than that, Mercy's trademark Resurrect ability restores a defeated companion with full health—an invaluable comeback tool as long as Mercy's allies protect her long enough to use it.
Series: Dragon Age
Leliana's kindness contrasts with her espionage, making her an intriguing and worthy ally. Religious and pious, Leliana is a skilled bard, which in Dragon Age context, means she's an expert assassin/spy. Like many characters in the game, Leliana garnered recognition for being one of the first possible LGBT relationships in gaming, as both male and female Grey Wardens can romance her.
10. Mai Shiranui
Series: Fatal Fury
Known as the alluring ninja girl, Mai blends fire conjuring with martial arts in her Fatal Fury and King of Fighters appearances. Her good looks and combat prowess shaped the fighting game industry, with many citing her as part of Dead or Alive's inspiration, where Mai occasionally joins as a guest fighter. Speaking of which...
Series: Dead or Alive
Unlike many fighting games that do it on the sly, DoA makes no secret of its scantily-clad women. But behind the shameless marketing lies characters and mechanics with surprising depth; despite her quest for revenge on behalf of her broter, Kasumi is defined by her compassion, honor, and skill.
A longtime staple, Taki has ridiculously unreal proportions, but to be fair, she trains hard for her ninja-like abilities, being one of the fastest characters in the series. Taki is serious about fulfilling her missions yet occasionally demonstrates glimpses of warmth, and I hope to see her take on more story involvement in future entries.
Series: Street Fighter
Fan-favorite Chun-Li is recognized for being an early portrayal of a powerful Chinese woman in gaming, one whose large thighs have been debated for decades. Her sexualization is countered by her engaging story, fierce gameplay, and general likability—she and Ryu even gained Power Ranger forms in crossover game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars.
6. Jill Valentine
Series: Resident Evil
Series mainstay Jill plays a role in several RE games and films, with her later appearances based on Canadian model Julia Voth. Jill fosters a positive reception among fans for not being overly-sexualized, maintaining a plausible arc, and (alongside villainous Wesker) joining the cast of later Marvel vs. Capcom titles.
5. Joanna Dark
Series: Perfect Dark
Secret agent Joanna Dark is basically the James Bond of gaming, but better. Excelling at martial arts, marksmanship, and espionage, Joanna proves herself a top agent, living up to her name (based off the French version of Joan of Arc, "Jeanne d'Arc").
4. Chloe Frazer
Nathan Drake was initially paired with Elena, but many fans far prefer the sequel game's Chloe. Like Nate, Chloe has a renowned reputation in the criminal underworld, but maintains honor and loyalty despite her profession. Her Australian-Indian background lends a unique cultural outlook, and her sheer charm makes it hard not to smile while she's on-screen. Chloe eventually stars in her own game, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
3. Tifa Lockhart
Series: Final Fantasy 7
Between bartending, looking after orphans, and working for the anti-facist Avalanche group, Cloud's childhood friend has a lot on her plate, yet she balances it with grace and kindness. But when the time comes, she's a furious warrior, assaulting monsters with her mere fists while allies resort to blades and firearms.
2. Zero Suit Samus
One of gaming's first twists was the revelation that Samus is a woman, but we wouldn't have it any other way. While she seldom talks, Samus's actions speak volumes, frequently defending the galaxy form alien threats. The bounty hunter rarely discards her signature orange armor, but reveals herself to be in top shape when she does, joining the cast of Super Smash Brothers with an agile moveset.
1. Lara Croft
Series: Tomb Raider
In both her original ridiculously-endowed and modernized, more realistic rendition, Lara's a competent and beautiful adventurer, rivaling Nathan Drake as the Indiana Jones of gaming. She was even played on the big screen by Angelina Jolie (voted the world's most beautiful woman many years straight).
Laura's British accent, tragic origins, growth (her reboot shows her path from amateur to veteran), and yes good looks, make her one of gaming's most iconic characters.
Future of Women in Gaming
Studies prove that far more women are involved in video games than they're often given credit for, and I hope the hobby will continue to welcome them into its midst with engaging heroines. But for now, vote for your favorite icon and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill