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5 Nasty Women Video Game Characters

/ Jan 24th, 2017 No Comments

Nasty Women

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Donald Trump called his opponent a “nasty woman.” That phrase became a rallying cry for women during the campaign, and it has continued after the inauguration of President Trump, leading to a huge women’s rights march across the country.

What “nasty women” represents is empowerment, equality, and simply being honest to yourself. With that in mind, we decided to take a look at some female video game characters who have challenged stereotypes and broken boundaries. Here are five video game characters who may be considered “nasty women.”

5. Samus Aran

Spoiler alert: That badass in the red power armor is a woman.

Players may have been shocked at the secret end of the original Metroid to see Samus remove her power armor to reveal a blonde-haired heroine.

Samus Aran

Still kicking ass after all these years.

Samus is inspiring to many women simply because of who she is and how she handled a traditionally male role. There was no need for a long-winded explanation describing her powers. For her, the actions she took were just another day on the job.

4. Kazooie

Kazooie is the real star of the Banjo-Kazooie series. She steals the show through wit and a touch of nastiness while Banjo spends the majority of the series blindly accepting whatever innocuous task comes to pass. Kazooie is the driving force because she questions the world around her and demands details.


The kazoo is a better instrument than the banjo.

The character also had a strong sense of humor, something that was rarely expected from a woman until comics such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Amy Schumer became marquee names. Kazooie is blunt, cheeky and unabashed in every sense. Off-the-cuff remarks and clever asides made her endlessly endearing.

3. Fiona

Telltale has offered a wide cast of well-written and engaging characters, many of which players have shaped in their own image through personal choices. One of the most complex and engaging characters in a Telltale game has been Fiona, who starred alongside Rhys in Tales from the Borderlands.


Left: Sly, clever, resourceful. Right: I guess kind of charming, in a silly sort of way.

Fiona is a wily con artist looking to break free from a life of small jobs. Depending upon player choices, she can be incredibly self-serving or altruistic. She is driven by a desire to make life better for herself and her sister. Throughout her journey with Rhys, she is believable and stays true to herself and her convictions.

2. Ellie

Naughty Dog’s heartbreaking zombie game features a lot of powerful female characters — three major characters are female. But the one who stands out the most is Ellie.

Despite being younger than Joel, Ellie comes into her own quickly.


I hope you can forgive me for lying.

Ellie not only overcomes the harsh situation she is thrust in, but thrives. At the beginning of the game, like Joel, we write her off as another thing needing protection, but we’re ultimately shown she is so much more than that in nearly every sense.


It’s often said that the greatest villains are the heroes of their own stories, and GLaDOS exemplifies this in Portal and Portal 2. In her eyes, she is killing those ruining the quest for science: humans. Science, as GLaDOS sees it, is only hindered by human morality and her sole purpose is the pursuit of knowledge.


And she’s got a superb singing voice, too! Thanks Ellen McLain!

Portal 2 provides players with a clear picture of a woman named Caroline who served as the basis for GLaDOS. As males around her dig their own graves (both literally and figuratively), Caroline continues to strive for knowledge and self-assertion.

GLaDOS is not a monster, nor is she a victim. She is a pursuer of knowledge and lover of science. Sure, a few people got gassed with a deadly neuro-toxin, but nobody ever got anything done by being meek.

Featured image used with permission of the photographer Beth Bauler.


Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson

Associate Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Greg is a Nintendo fanboy who would cry if they ever went third party. He writes news, previews and reviews at Gaming Illustrated.
Greg Johnson

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