January 11, 2023

Celebrating Women's History Month Through Our Favorite Characters

Celebrating Women's History Month Through Our Favorite Characters

With Horizon Forbidden West’s recent release and the start of March, Women’s History month, the Smerf team wanted to take some time to recognize their favorite female characters in all of video games. We asked members of the team for their input and these are the character’s they chose:

(img: Activision-Blizzard / Overwatch)

Mercy (Overwatch)

Greg — Software Engineer

I’m choosing Mercy because I love her design and the way she plays her crucial role on the team. Her simple but iconic winged-angel look is incredible from her wings to the halo on her head and it fits perfectly with her unique way of staying alive while healing her teammates. It’s super satisfying to fly around a chaotic fight in Overwatch, weaving in and out of combat, topping up my teammates’ health bars. And all of her voice callouts are positive and encouraging, which is a nice change of pace from more typical, aggressive voice lines of other characters. “Heroes never die!”

(img: NetherRealms / Mortal Kombat 11)

Jacqui Briggs (Mortal Kombat)

Ben — CTO / Co-founder
Jacqui is awesome. She’s one of the few major characters that don’t have any magical powers, but instead she’s got skills as an expert boxer and special operative. As CTO of Smerf as well as a developer, her assortment of technological weapons really speaks to me. Her gauntlets shoot plasma, shotgun shells, machine gun bullets, and rockets. She uses plasma shields, electrical attacks, and several types of grenades. She’s fast and able to pouce and mix up her opponents with ease. That mix of speed, punching, and tech weaponry makes her really fun to play. So because of all that she’s not just one of my favorite characters in Mortal Kombat but one of my favorite characters of all time.
(img: 343 Industries)

Cortana (Halo)

Jenny — Product Designer
Can we all take a moment to appreciate how impactful Cortana is in the Halo Series? Yeah, Master Chief is a badass but Cortana’s specific abilities and intelligence always got him out of the toughest situations. (Forget about the plot of Halo 5.) She can open locked doors, disable defense systems, and even operate massive spaceships. Without her, the game would feel just a bit more lifeless and empty. How cool is it that Microsoft even named Window’s AI system after her?
(img: Nintendo / Metroid Other M)

Samus Aran (Metroid)

Tommy — Community Director
Samus is an absolute badass. Not a whole lot is known about her as a character beyond the fact she was adopted and trained by the mysterious Chozo after space pirates destroyed her home, but that’s not why I chose her. She instead represents one of the most iconic moments in video game history when it was revealed to intrepid players that completed the first Metroid on NES in less than 5 hours that the badass alien-slayer in the suit of armor was not a man, but a woman. Nintendo could have left the identity of the character within the armor ambiguous, but made the conscious choice not to, and the series is all the better for it. Metroid and Samus are awesome, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her when Metroid Prime 4 finally releases.
(img: Valve / Half Life 2)

Alyx Vance (Half Life)

Zack — CEO / Co-Founder
“Doctor Freeman, I presume?”. With these words, one of the most important and iconic characters of the Half-Life series entered center stage for the first time.
I remember this moment vividly — I played through Half-Life 1 several times in anticipation of Half-Life 2. In Half Life 1 you are a badass with a massive arsenal of weapons, yet Half-Life 2 unexpectedly begins with Gordon being chased helplessly through an unknown city.
Right when you are trapped and about to accept the cruel taste of defeat–Alyx Vance bursts in to save your life. She effortlessly eliminates all the enemies that you were cowering from moments ago. Then, in her signature wit, she casually introduces herself to you. This would be just the beginning of a long escapade of Alyx being the true driving force behind Gordon’s “success” — always propelling him safely to his objective to save humanity.
After my first many playthroughs of the first two games and my recent playthroughs of the latest installment of Half-Life Alyx, I’m convinced that Alyx was truly the protagonist of the half-life series all along. Even the mysterious G-Man, the “interdimensional bureaucrat” himself, may have only used Gordon as a pawn to support the only one strong enough to save humanity: Alyx.
(img: Guerilla Games / Horizon Forbidden West)

Aloy (Horizon Forbidden West)

Sean — Product Manager
Feared as a curse on her tribe, Aloy was an outcast with a chip on her shoulder since birth, and due to this and her training from childhood into adulthood she’s a free-spirited badass through and through. It’s a nice bit of storytelling to be able to play Aloy as a child before playing her as an adult. So who else could save not just her tribe and all the men in it, but also the Sun King and the rest of the world but Aloy? She takes down massive robot dinosaurs, violent cultists bent on the destruction of the world, and more–all before her morning coffee. Also, her outfits are fire!

Of course, these are just a few of many more characters that didn’t make this list, but that doesn’t mean they are any less amazing. Let us know about your favorite female video game characters in the comments.

Until next time!