Button Mash This: Women + Games

Ada Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer... no, really... well, kind of

In Toronto, The Hand Eye Society recently announced that they will be running a program called The Difference Engine Initiative. This is a free 6 week game-making workshop that is being offered exclusively to under-represented groups within the gaming community. The aim with this outreach is to broaden the types of games that are currently being created by providing new perspective from these groups to the development process. The first set of incubators will be focused on women. Thus, they have been named after Ada Lovelace, considered to be the world’s first computer programmer.

As a female adult who has played video games nearly her entire life, I’m pretty excited about this. The opportunity for any woman to participate in such a direct way will be rare but welcomed. I look forward to seeing the work that comes out of these sessions. Until then, let’s just take a look at some of my favourite ladies. Here are my Top Three Female Protagonists

JadeBeyond Good and Evil

The first time I played this game, I was immediately drawn to its heroine, Jade, the tomboy photojournalist trying to unmask a huge government conspiracy. Beyond Good and Evil was critically acclaimed when it first released back in late 2003. But despite its many praises, it remained relatively unknown amongst the gaming masses and fell victim to bargain bins. This hidden gem is now easily available on Xbox Live in HD no less and is well worth the 800 Microsoft points.

Chun LiStreet Fighter

Ryu for girls. I’ve realized that this is how I describe Chun Li to people who haven’t really played Street Fighter games. I don’t think I’m that far off the mark though. She does have her own variations of his fireball and hurricane kick moves. In addition to these, she also has her own signature move sometimes referred to as “lightning legs” where she basically kicks the crap out of her opponent so fast that her leg becomes one big blurry fury. Those gams are ridiculously badass.

Samus AranMetroid

Samus Aran has been fighting space pirates, metroids, and mother brain for a very long time. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Metroid series. Back in 1986, many gamers assumed that the bounty hunter was male because of the power suit armor and the power beam weapon. Over the course of the franchise, her true female appearance slowly revealed itself as a kind of reward to players for sticking with the journey.

Agree? Disagree? What are your top three?


  1. Three excellent picks! The friend over my shoulder insists that Shepard from Mass Effect is an essential one. I’d also like to vote for GlaDOS from Portal (creepiest lady-villain ever!), and Hilde from Soulcalibur (a rare case of a female fighter wearing real, effective armour).