CO/GAMER: Nintendo Celebrates Women's History Month 2015

By Jon Scarr

     March kicks off Women's History Month, and this years theme is Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives. Every year the National Women’s History Project selects a unifying theme to be shared with all who want to promote women’s history. Female characters and their roles in video games has been a hot topic for the past several years. Many have been inspired to fight for equal representation by Anita Sarkeesian who is famous for creating Feminist Frequency a video web-series that explores the representation of women in pop culture narrative. I must admit there is still quite a bit of work yet to do still in the industry, but I feel now that Anita Sarkessian has been a catalyst to the cause and brought these issues to the forefront and got a lot of people talking about the problem.

Anita Sarkeesian is a media critic and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video web-series that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives.

     Its nice to see that some companies like Nintendo are taking notice and actively trying to change the image of female characters in games. By celebrating female characters and bringing those characters to the forefront. In honour of Women's History Month Nintendo is recognizing female characters such as Samus Aran, Rosalina, Toadette, Bombette, Lucina, Bayonetta, and Tetra.

  • Samus Aran shocked the video game world at the end of the original Metroid game by revealing her gender and changing the way we think about video game characters in the process. Video game protagonists need not be male in order to be strong. Samus is a space bounty hunter in an armored suit, outfitted with a powerful blaster on the arm and extreme heat resistance

  •  Rosalina is an interstellar observer, protector of the Lumas and friend to Mario in Super Mario Galaxy. She is mother to the Lumas, who are little star-like creatures capable of becoming new galaxies!

  • Toadette is a recurring Toad character in the Mario series. These days, she’s a plucky treasure-hunter in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, who puts on a brave face to find rare goodies and save Captain Toad from the monstrous and greedy bird, Wingo.

  • Bombette is a Bob-omb who joins Mario on his quest in the original Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64. As a member of Mario’s diverse team of fighters, she has an explosive fighting style and isn't afraid to get physical with her body slam and powerful bomb attacks.

  • Lucina is an unwavering warrior with a strong sense of justice and commitment to her family. Her power, determination and wisdom gained from watching the destruction of her world are priceless strengths as one of Fire Emblem Awakening’s many playable female protagonists.

  • Bayonetta is a sassy and incredibly stylish witch with pistol-stilettos and a vendetta against the armies of angels and demons that hunt her. She’s a force to be reckoned with, an ally to her best friend and fellow witch Jeanne and doesn't take flak from anybody.
  •  In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Princess Zelda was actually a tough and spunky captain of a ragtag group of pirates. Tetra saves Link from Ganondorf’s clutches, and later helps Link defeat Ganondorf for good to save the world.

     There is still a long way to go to reach gender equality in all facets of life, especially the entertainment industry and video gaming in particular. Even with these female Nintendo characters that have been chosen to celebrate Women's History Month, there are still many things that can be brought to light about their roles. However in my opinion it shows that Nintendo is starting to try to help change the role of female characters in video games and if they can continue to build upon this it will go along way to help the cause and reach the ultimate goal of gender equailty.