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WARNING: The content of this page may not be suitable for younger viewers. if it were a movie, it would be "PG".

In the April 1999 issue of Nintendo Power, Claire Fenwick wrote a letter saying, "...it's frustrating when the story (and heroine's wardrobe) is aimed at male gamers." Gender equality, or the lack of it, in gaming has always been annoying to me, so I've decided to take a stand.

Frankly, I think anyone who doesn't see that women are exploited in videogames has been hit over the head with the dumb-stick a few too many times. But that's not a very nice way to argue my point of view. So, I've decided to try something more creative. I'm going to let the females of gaming speak for themselves...click on a name to see a humorous yet thought-provoking (well, mostly humorous) idea of what that character thinks of the place she's been given in the game world.

Incidentally, I'm responsible for most of the pictures you see on this page...Raven and Tina come from the game promotion material, but the others were drawn by me.

Read Mewd's e-mail about GOOD FEMALE CHARACTERS IN GAMES, it's a nice counter-point to my arguments, and Mewd brings up some good female characters from recent games.

If you've got something to say, e-mail me.

My girlfriend and I were playing Capcom Vs. SNK 2 and she said, "I'll play as this teenage girl" and clicked on Mai. In fact, Mai Shiranui is the mother of all "bouncy" fighting wom en, designed by SNK for the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters games. She's supposed to be either 21 or 29, depending on how you count, but quite a bit of the art designed for her makes her look very young. Between her gigantic breasts and "barely legal" appearance, Mai is surely one of the queens of sexist "babe" heroines in videogames.

Samus gets my gold star of approval! Unfortunately...I'm too lazy to make a star graphic to put here! I've defended my decision to put Samus down here as an exploited character long enough. In light of recent Metroid games where Nintendo didn't hide Samus' gender like it was something to be ashamed of, yet also avoided having her bounce around in a bikini, I have to say, Samus is a great female game character. I still find it a little bit silly that many of the Metroid games reward you with a medium-clothed picture of Samus if you finish in a short time, but she's still possibly the best female game character around.

Candy Kong represents the worst of both worlds when it comes to videogame women: She has both the ridiculously unrealistic figure of the "babe" type heroine, and the pink clothes (even a bow in her hair!) of the "cute, helpless" heroine. Did I mention that she just stands around and waits for the other characters to show up?
Dixie is pretty good by comparison; she actually got to be the star of one of the DKC games. Still, with that ultra-pink outfit, and long blonde ponytail, she's a lot more cutesy than necessary.

As I've already mentioned, street fighting games tend to be one of the worst genres for exploiting women. Witness Tina, from Dead or Alive. Her breasts are as big as her head (which is also true for most of the other women in the Dead or Alive games) and her fighting costume is nothing but un-fastened leather underwear and a tiny vest. Finally, Tina earns a special place of disrespect in my heart, for winning the cheesy "best videogame babe of all time" poll run by IGN.

Lara Croft is arguably the most exploited woman in videogames. Eidos and it's employees try very hard to claim that she's a "positive role-model" for girls, but that's hard to believe when they've released official Playboy-style measurements (Bust, waist, hips) for her, and even a couple of semi-nude pictures that only hid the "naughty" bits.

When I say "damsel in distress", who do you think of? Princess Peach Toadstool has been kidnapped in nearly 10 of the popular Super Mario games, and a Peach-clone called Princess Daisy was kidnapped in Super Mario Land. Now I have to admit that Nintendo has started giving her more chances to participate, especially in "spin-offs" like Mario Party which is great. Yet she still has to do everything in a pink ballgown and high heels.

Fighting games were among the first titles to start making big-breasted, scantily clad heroines, and Cammy is one of the most risque, with a one-piece so small she moons the players every time she turns her back to the screen.

Alex Jaffe contributed this character. He says:
I was just looking at the Gender Equality section and i think Captain Syrup would fit in there like a glove. When Nintendo finally gives a female a villain role, (an anti-damsel-in-distress role if there ever was one) and she was a brilliant villain who in my opinion could top Bowser any day, they ditch her after two games! And who do they put in her place? A demented spirit clown! it makes me sick. Many sites are calling her the most neglected Mario character since Luigi got his own game.

When Microsoft unveiled the X-Box, they decided that they had to have a "babe" to promote it. Raven is that babe. One of the most annoying things about Raven is that a lot of guys actually claim that she's ugly. Well, she is a bit muscular, to be fair, but what do you expect? A supermodel marine? Not likely! And the fact of the matter is, she still has a beyond perfect figure shown off with tight, skimpy clothes, both of which were being used shamelessly to sell the Xbox. Thankfully, Raven was relegated to the land of tech demos: it doesn't look like she'll get her own game.