Earlier this month, Elizabeth brought a few fantastic mobile game heroines front and centre, and I'm so excited to see more of them in recent titles and the promise of titles to come.
If a game is good, personally I'm not too fussed on who the leading figure is. Man, woman, frog hybrid, racoon, dog, alien, whatever, I'm down for it. However, growing up there was always one protagonist that I admired more than any other – Lara Croft.
I'm sure a lot of people admired her and why wouldn't they? She's rich, intelligent, witty, and had the pointiest boobs known to man back in the day.
For me it was more than that though. In-between the layers of my childhood where women were mostly rescued by the handsome prince, Lara Croft showed that being strong and capable wasn't only admirable, it was desirable. Same as Bayonetta, Anya Stroud, Samus, Jill Valentine, and so on.
Ignoring the questionable morals and decisions of Disney films growing up, for me the video game scene wasn't too much better. Zelda needed saving, Peach forgot to lock the castle doors again, a lot of female characters were side-kicks in skimpy outfits or big-breasted eye-candy, and some just served as motivation from the protagonist not to give up in his quest.
And, yes, I know Chun Li, Ryu, and a bunch of kick-ass heroines from fighter games could snap someone's neck between their thighs, but (sadly) I didn't get to play those sorts of games growing up.
Seeing women take the lead in a game, mobile or otherwise, gives me something to instantly relate to. It doesn't have to be action-packed like Dandara or fantastically daft like Once Upon a Tower. Even games like Florence, which has a much subtler message, make my heart happy because I'm invested in the character.
Reigns: Her Majesty is one my favourite mobile games because it doesn't just rehash the original and plop on a blonde wig, it tackles issues specifically related to each queen because of her gender – like the pressures of providing an heir, dealing with lovers, and being labelled a witch.
Similarly, there's something so peacefully gentle about Monument Valley 2's Ro. She spends a good amount of time silently guiding her daughter through each puzzle, leading her off on her own journey and it's very enchanting to be a part of.
It's about seeing a character for more than just someone to ogle at. Times have changed from the 80s/90s and today more women are playing games and getting involved in the gaming industry.
To be honest, I think what I love most about a female protagonist is power. It's the power to go on your own quest, to take hold of your own destiny and change it if you want to, and to be the hero of your own story. It sounds a bit twee, but it's true.