Like comic books and movies, videogames tend to present an exaggerated representation of men and women. Dudes are typically muscle-bound meatheads with powerful jaw lines and a thorough understanding of all forms of combat, while women generally have back-breaking chests and dress like strippers regardless of their profession.
Above: Strong women, not exactly tasteful
Lara Croft, for example, is a world-famous icon that carries an entire franchise. She’s smart, tough and more capable than the men she’s pitted against, yet still goes spelunking in skin-tight belly shirts and shorts too small for a fifth grader. Where are the female leads with a sliver of believability or appropriate clothes? Few and far between, it seems.
But that makes these seven standout portrayals all the more important.
Even though she has the superheroic trait of mastering multiple disciplines that each take a lifetime to perfect, Jade still comes across as a fairly normal person. True, she’s an expert martial artist, an adept photojournalist and rocks green lipstick, but when compared to most other game girls, she leans more towards competence than eye candy.
Above: Working to unravel an oppressive alien conspiracy
By the time you’ve finished the game, Jade’s snapped countless compromising photographs, beaten back an evil regime and saved an untold number of lives, all without taking off her shirt. Her only negative comes from the ending, in which Jade is revealed to be a shell containing ancient power, not necessarily a normal girl at all. Oh. OK.
Most heroic moment: The game begins with Jade meditating near an orphanage, which also happens to be her home. Within two minutes, all hell breaks loose and she leaps into action, protecting not just the orphanage, but also the children being abducted by the DomZ Armada. Jade’s brief resistance cements her as an action star, shows her deep compassion for her friends and family, then sets the stage for the whole epic adventure.