Iconic Female Characters: Various


In honor of Women’s History Month, Byte is doing a month long Byteing Question about the most iconic female characters and why they matter. Every day two writers will look at two characters that are important to them in many different ways. Due to an unfortunate technical issue we are posting several posts from the last week. We will be getting back on track starting tomorrow.


by Jake Doolin

It may seem rather quick to be placing a game that only came out a month ago in a list of anything iconic, but Firewatch has earned that distinction. The game is full of brilliant choices from its design to the narrative (including the the ending, which we will talk about) that make it stand head and shoulders above anything released in the last few months. But if one were to boil down Firewatch’s success to one crucial point, it would be the relationship between the two main characters.

Firewatcher, Henry and Delilah manage to cram an almost lifetime of chemistry in the small bit of time we actually get to spend with them. They joke, hurt each others feelings and lift each other up all while truly seeming to enjoy the others company. And while the player plays as Henry for the entire game, it’s Delilah that makes this relationship work.

Following in the vein of characters that are integral to the plot but remain unseen by the player such as Atlas (Bioshock) or Dr. Janice Polito (System Shock), Delilah might just seem of minor importance. She exists on the other end of a walkie-talkie for the entirety of the game and at no point do we get even a glimpse of what she might look like. And while that might seem limiting to the character, it actually helps to make her even more human.

Her story is similar to that of Henry, she wants to escape her life and to seclude herself away from making any kind of lasting decisions. Unlike Henry though, she’s good at it. She’s been out in the woods for decades and it doesn’t seem to affect her in the way it does Henry. Yet, Delilah for all her humor and standoffishness is a bruised human whose life has all together been too much for her to handle. She doesn’t let people in; in fact she even tells Henry that she doesn’t speak to the other Firewatcher’s.

She has her own struggles going on, and she wants to deal with them on her own terms. Her and Henry’s relationship is built around that idea of improving oneself with encouragement from another person. That’s why the ending works so well to me. Where others anger over the lack of interaction between Henry and Delilah at the end, I find it make perfect sense for the character.

Henry didn’t define Delilah’s struggle, just like she didn’t define his. The fact that she leaves before he can arrive isn’t this grand kiss-off like people have painted it. It’s a women making her own decision, that affects her and living with it. The fact that Delilah is given that choice and does something that is challenging makes her a special female character. No matter how the game ends, Delilah doesn’t and she has to live with it.


by Kelsey Hayes 

If you know me at all, then you know that I have recently become a fan of the show Supernatural. I know what you’re thinking, “there aren’t any female characters on that show, it’s dominated by men.” While you may not be wrong on that, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some kick-butt women on that show, and Charlie Bradbury is definitely one of them.

Played by Felicia Day, Charlie Bradbury is your typical nerd hacker character, but what makes the character of Charlie so great is that she is gay, but it doesn’t affect her character at all. It’s just another aspect of her. She’s bubbly, she’s charismatic, and she has a Leia tattoo because she was “drunk, and it was comic con.”

She helps the Winchesters stop Dick Roman with her awesome hacking skills in season 7. She saves a fairy from an evil nerd at a LARPing event in season 8. She helps Dorothy save Oz. (It really seems like the writers of Supernatural are running out of ideas.) She even deciphers the book of the damned so that Sam and the gang could save Dean from the mark of Cain. She does all of this not because she is gay, not because she is female, but because she is awesome.

Charlie was an excellent strong female character on Supernatural, and it’s a shame that they had to kill her off. Sorry, spoilers. It’s a shame that she had to go. Her overall awesomeness added a great compliment to the man dominated show, and even added some comic relief from time to time. She wasn’t on the show that much, just a recurring character, but she added something that the show desperately needed. She didn’t let her gender, or her sexual orientation hold her back. In fact that’s what made her so great.

Miku by Liz Shepherd 

No matter who you are, nerd or not, I’m sure you’ve heard the name Hatsune Miku at least once. She’s performed on the David Letterman show. One of her songs has been remixed by Pharrell Williams. Miku was even the opening act for one of Lady Gaga’s world tours.

The virtual idol is taking the world by storm, with eight concerts lined up for a North American tour this year. Hatsune Miku is unique in that she can be whatever fans want her to be. That aspect alone is what drew me to her a couple years ago.

Miku is a very important figure to me in that she represents creativity, love, uniqueness, and much more. Fans around the world can make her sing anything, from covers of current songs to original content made by the fans themselves. Her wide range and pitch allows her to sing any tune with feeling, from a sad ballad about a lost love to an upbeat song about being the number one princess in the world.

I really love the unique factor behind the software program that is Hatsune Miku. There is no original series that Vocaloid is based off of, so fans have the opportunity to shape Miku’s personality. And it more or less has been formed into a sweet, upbeat girl who believes that music is the best way for people to express their emotions.

Another aspect that I like about Miku besides her uniqueness is her popularity. In the course of nine years, Hatsune Miku has grown from a computer software program to a hologram that people can go see in concert.

She is a great representation of nerd culture in that anyone, not just nerds, can create songs using her software. If well-known pop stars in the United States are taking notice of Miku, and recognizing how unique she truly is, then that’s definitely something that can’t be ignored.

All in all, I believe that Hatsune Miku is a prime example of unique women in nerd culture. After all, I have tickets to see her live in concert for a reason. There’s such an indescribable connection fans have to Hatsune Miku, one that honestly cannot be understood unless you’re a die-hard fan who listens to her music constantly.

Hatsune Miku and the Vocaloid community in general is a safe haven where people can gather and tell one another, “Congrats. We did it. We did this.” Because it truly is us, the fans, who have made Miku the unique and popular Vocaloid that she is today.


by Kathleen Anne Eastham

When I was younger, I wanted to be a princess. Unlike other wannabe princesses, I despised the idea of being a damsel in distress that had to be rescued. When I watched Star Wars: A New Hope for the very first time, I fell in love with the character that is Princess Leia Organa. With tight little buns in my hair for months, I saw her as a role model for not only little girls, but for everyone.

Leia was a princess, like her title says, but she was not your average damsel in distress. She has saved her group on numerous occasions. In fact, when Luke and Han met her for the very first time, they assumed they would be the ones rescuing her, but with her quick thinking, she saved the guys from the hands of the Empire.

Leia refused to ever give up what she had worked so very hard to achieve. Within A New Hope alone, Leia told Darth Vader flat out that she was not going to give up the Rebel’s plans and watched her planet explode shortly after. Princess Leia had watched everything she had ever loved be destroyed within the first hour of the very first movie. In The Empire Strikes Back, she still fought on while fearing for her two closest friends’ lives on a minute basis.

She gained a love interest and a brother through Han and Luke (much to the annoyance of the fans). In Return of the Jedi, Leia proved that she still can handle herself by strangling Jabba the Hut with the chains that he had placed on her, literally. Carrie Fisher, who plays Leia, has stated several times that that was her proudest moment in the series. Of course, the outfit she was wearing while being Jabba’s captive had turned into her most popular outfit.

Personally, it is an insult to turn such a fantastic character into a sex object. When I saw The Force Awakens for the very first time, I remember seeing Leia still being her awesome self and squealed with glee. Leia still proves that she is still fighting the good fight and will not give up no matter how bleak the situation seems. Now, I am almost 19 years old, the same age Carrie Fisher was when she was given the role of Princess Leia and I honestly hope I can rock the double buns as much as she can.


by Bri Marvell

Princess Zelda is a royal hero of wisdom and princess of Hyrule. Better, she is a psychic Goddess reincarnate with a few interesting alter egos. What is cool about Zelda is that she is not just one repeating character, but different generations and characters in the same family line. While there are many incarnations of Zelda a few seem to best define the core of Zelda’s character for me.

Many of the princesses are psychic and we first learn of Zelda’s gift in A Link to the Past, when our hero, Link, is invited to the castle via telepathic dream. Her psychic abilities are a theme among many of the Legend of Zelda games, including the follow up Ocarina of Time. Here Zelda provides us with a magic ocarina and telepathically teaches us about it after sharing her precognitive dream of Hyrule’s future.

Ocarina of Time explores her psychic gifts but also presents a super rad alter ego, Sheik. Sheik identifies as one of the Sheikah people and teaches Link new songs. I really appreciated their addition to Zelda’s character when I was a child. I loved seeing a really intelligent and graceful princess is allowed to break out of that role and seem tough. Sheik is a great opportunity for Zelda to stand as independent and active in the story.

Sheik and Ocarina of Time Zelda inspired me as a child, but as the games progress Zelda develops a unique history and a stronger role in the series plot. We learn in Skyward Sword, the first story of the Hylian timeline, that the Zelda of Skyloft is the reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia and not actually a princess. Hylia sacrificed her divinity to become human to defeat the current threat to their world. Zelda is pulled to the surface world from the sky and follows her own destiny separately from Link’s. Again, Zelda is allowed to grow individually as a hero of the story and develop independently of Link and other character support. In this game Zelda has a very defined destiny and I felt I was a lot more involved with her character as we fulfilled our separate roles.

Through all of the Zelda incarnations we are presented with a character that really wants nothing more than to protect Hyrule. She does not just depend on Link as a hero but she rises to work through her own trials, growing as a hero and self-sacrificing to complete her quest. It all works well to create a neat female character that offers variety and a growing history.


by Jake Doolin

The three Greenbrair women that stand in the forefront of Gone Home could each stand as models of important female characters. One could look at Janice Greenbrair, whose journey though an emotional affair and attempts to save her marriage are handled with a respectful tact that isn’t usually granted to older female characters in gaming. Or you could view the story of younger sister Sam who discovers more about herself and her sexuality as the important milestone in GSRM storytelling that it was.

And yet while I find the stories of Janice and Sam to be wonderfully heartbreaking in their own right, the one I’ve always been the most personally connected to is Kaitlyn. Her story is one that I think many of us who have left home and returned to it later in life have experienced at some point.

When Kaityln first open’s the door to the new home her family has recently moved into I was instantly remained of my own experience coming back after a my first few months of being at Ball State. Things were out of place, my bedroom was in a different place and it just felt like I didn’t belong there.

That feeling of being a voyeur is one that I think a lot of players first felt when playing Gone Home and it’s the feeling that has stuck with me every time I go through it. In fact I’m always a little nervous when I start going through the home, not wanting to disturb anything. But as you go through and learn more about Kaitlyn’s family, you start to get a better understanding of her.

The deeper you dig the more you start to understand that her parents were more proud of her than her sister. Kaitlyn’s trophies are placed prominently in the home as well as the postcards she sent back to them. But that doesn’t seem to hamper the relationship with her sister, as Sam seems to have a great respect for Kaityln; beyond even the audiotapes she leaves for her one gets the sense that they meant a great deal to one another.

It makes sense then that when Kaitlyn leaves for her college abroad trip, everything seems to break down. The family drifts apart without her, without that stable person to hold things together they have nothing. And that’s what bugs me when people say that Kaitlyn doesn’t have a story in the game. It might not be explicit but her place in the Greenbrair family has a purpose to the greater narrative.

Gone Home is about a family self destructing without its center and Kaitlyn is tasked with coming back piecing together the past while possibly witnessing the future for her loved ones.


by Kelsey Hayes 

Believing in Agent Dana Scully isn’t all that hard, since she is probably one of the most kick-butt ladies from the 90’s, and more recently as well, since they brought the X-Files back for a limited run. If you don’t know who she is, let me give you a quick recap. Dana Scully is partnered with Agent Fox Mulder to work in a division of the FBI designated the X-files, in other words cases that are strange to most people. Her assignment was originally to spy on Mulder, but after a few episodes she has grown to like working with him, and there are some things that even she, a scientist, can’t explain.

While she is strictly skeptic of anything Mulder brings to her, she does help keep the crazy agent down on Earth, especially since he is constantly looking to the stars. She does a lot to help Mulder, even though they both know her real mission with the X-files.

What makes Scully so great is that she puts her heart into her work. It doesn’t really phase her that much about what her superiors want her to do. She puts all her soul into solving each case so that they can help people. She gave up being a doctor at a hospital to work at the FBI, so she wants to make sure each case is done right. Scully is loyal. Even though a lot of times her superiors want her to turn on Mulder and make him seem like a fool, she refuses to do so, especially if the evidence is there to support Mulder’s case. She gave up being a doctor to work at the FBI. She’s highly intelligent. I mean, these are only a few things that make Scully so awesome.

Perhaps the best thing about Scully is that she was a strong lead female character from a show in the 90’s. Back then, that wasn’t so commonplace, and to have a character on a show like Scully was forward thinking, especially from a science fiction show. So even if you don’t like the X-Files, you can still believe in Scully.


by Ian Pemberton

Bioshock is a series best described as a crazy party that happens late at night, and you have to sweep up the remains of the confetti and the weird red writing on the wall the day after as everyone tries to attack you with claws for hands and weird glowing eyes. So in other words, fun for the whole family.

While the direct sequel was mostly critically panned, head director Ken Levine had great plans for the series’ future. Consequently, it’s hard to talk about how phenomenal Bioshock Infinite is without spoiling the ending completely, so for all those who haven’t played the game, it shouldn’t be tainted. Please play the game if you can, it’s worth the time.

Elizabeth is a complex character with dreams and aspirations of her own who isn’t simply something to chase after for the plot. The game begins with a simple request from a mysterious source; “Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt.” Thus begins the mission for your character, Booker DeWitt, a notorious gambler and generally friendly-mercenary type fella. When you first encounter Elizabeth, she’s trapped by the racist religious leader Prophet Comstock inside of a giant prison, going through experimentation without being told.

You rescue her, and rather than simply being an escort mission through the game, she acts and reacts to what you do as you progress through the game. She takes care of herself in fights, meaning that she’s not a constant source of woe. When you encounter enemy soldiers and kill them with vicious fury, she doesn’t just throw a fit and move on; she entirely leaves you, running for her life against your murderous character that she knows nothing about.

She has a goal that’s entirely separate from your own in that she wants to see the world, starting with Paris. She dances around, singing songs and skipping from point to point. But there comes a moment in the story where she’s forced to make a choice or let an innocent life come to harm. After this, she cuts her hair to represent a drastic change in both maturity and outlook on life.

Later as her strange powers grow, she even helps you in combat, bringing health or ammo, turrets or cover from other dimensions. Many a time did she even save my life by throwing me a first-aid kit when my health was one hit from death, or throw me a coin at a vending machine allowing me to buy that one upgrade that I really, really want, which made me actually appreciate her and care for her more as a character. Once more, it’s nearly impossible to discuss all of her character developments without ruining the twist at the end of the game, but by the end of the game, it’s clear that she’s nowhere near the same person as the beginning of the game. She feels less like a program in the game, and more like a real, flushed-out person.


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