The Top 7… Tasteful game heroines

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.

7 – Jade | Beyond Good & Evil

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.


Top 7


  • ThundaGawd - January 17, 2011 6:50 a.m.

    Agree with the list, but shouldn't Sheva from RE5 be in the honorable mentions as well? (True, the superiorly awesome Jill Valentine is already mentioned, but Sheva knew how to get sh*t done nonetheless) also, Shannah and Rose from Legend of Dragoon should get mentions. Shannah is born as the "moon child" which makes her the key to resurrecting the god of destruction who would then cause the apocalypse. While as Rose is over 10,000 years old, having fought and survived the first war between humans and winglies, then being forced to kill thousands of innocent people in order to hunt down and kill the equally innocent "moon Child" every 400 or so years in order to prevent the apocalypse.
  • MyriamD - January 5, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    If they rebooted the article, I'd want shout outs to the recent Lucy and Rebecca from Assassin's Creed (always dressed modestly, always both compassionate and badass), and actually, you know what? The wholesome nature of games like Harvest Moon makes for a lot of pretty cool girls, too. The whole series should get a "good job" head pat.
  • PatHan-bHai - February 23, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    yep...there are no boobs in Harvest Moon
  • mistervirtue - December 24, 2010 6:19 a.m.

    Sheva from RE5 was totally tasteful ingame.
  • guiarherodrummer1998 - November 28, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    where's Echo Tesla from the newest Guitar Hero?
  • sdmitch16 - August 21, 2010 8:35 p.m.

    Funny they called Samus the most tasteful female in gaming. Another site said before Zero Suit appeared in games, it was just like playing as a guy and had no effect thoughts of women. Then with ZS she was just another vixen. She's esp. sexual in SSBB.
  • Cosmis - August 20, 2010 5:29 p.m.

    I don't think it's a coincidence that so many Valve heroines made this list.
  • mrmorozov987 - July 8, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    Elena and Chell, yes!
  • pandasrock - December 21, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    to be honest i prefer bill then louis then zoey then francis
  • guiarherodrummer1998 - December 16, 2009 2:17 a.m.

    Having a girl as a heroine in a game is a great idea! It attracts men because, well, its simple. Man sees woman and goes "Ooh!" It's basic domestic logic.
  • PinkHairSasuke - December 11, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    Once I clicked on this I was thinking to myself, "Samus better be on here." Then there she is as #1! I agree that she should be #1 on the list.
  • Spritle101 - November 23, 2009 4:03 a.m.

    I agree with Hamsfork at Kotaku; the first one of Faith looks like a Japanese man with a stuffed bra. The wider eyes & larger breasts make the character look significantly more feminine. (I'm a girl, & if I say she looks like a dude, I mean it).
  • MyGameName - November 22, 2009 6:35 a.m.

    Of course, the manual of Metroid refered to Samus as "he".
  • soren7550 - November 21, 2009 2:43 a.m.

    Where the hell is Joanna Dark? She's so much better than everyone else on this list!
  • bugmenot - November 15, 2009 11:30 p.m.

    this list needs more april ryan.
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - November 14, 2009 9:54 a.m.

    I miss the NOLF games =(
  • usmovers_02 - November 13, 2009 9:17 p.m.

    What about Liara T'soni? She is SO the sexiest alien in Mass Effect and she doesn't even try. All she does is act intelligently and do what she can to do some good in the world. No slutty aliens here.
  • GameManiac - November 13, 2009 3:10 a.m.

    I KNEW it! I knew that Samus was going to be #1 the INSTANT I clicked to see this article! And was there REALL any doubt?
  • galogen - November 12, 2009 8:36 a.m.

    Who is the woman on picture on the right of Lara? I didn't see that game before.
  • pikachu2000 - November 11, 2009 11:44 p.m.

    You know what they all say: Sex Sells. Video games are an escape from reality and having a girl with curves, a chubby appearence, and scars will most defintly not fit the company's bottom line. There is a reason why we don't see too many "real normal" girls in games: They are very boring compare to the sexy ladies dominating the gaming world.

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