My Female Gaming Role Models: Samus Aran

Galactic Federations, Space Pirates, and Mother brains, Oh My!

If you haven’t played any of the Metroid Series, stop reading, fire up that emulator, and go!

Just kidding.

Seriously tho, you should.

I was actually introduced to the Metroid Series a few years ago by Ezrah (my fiance) with Metroid Prime for Gamecube. The mix of sci-fi with puzzles and a “fill in your map” (I absolutely love filling in maps… I could probably play an entire game just about filling maps).

Since I didn’t actually grow up with Samus Aran, I can’t tell you how she inspired me growing up. What I can tell you is how bad ass she is.

Let’s start with the very beginning. A very good place to start….

MetriodNintentoCase  The original box art for Metroid gave no indication as to the gender of the protagonist, or if it even had one. All the box art tells you is that you are purchasing a side scroller monster shooting game. The main character could be a robot. In fact, according to the manual….

MetroidManualpg7

Samus is introduced to us as a male cyborg space hunter. Progressing through the game, the player has absolutely no reason to believe otherwise. There are no specific gender markers that make you question Samus’ gender identity in anyway.

Once you get to the end however, you are given the big reveal…..

MetroidEnding

image cred: gameradar.com

Samus is a female! Above is one of three ending reveals depending on your progression of the game. Now, before we start thinking about the “sexiness” of the costumes, remember one thing: A character being seen as “sexy” does not, and should not, diminish his or her accomplishments. Having “multiple endings”, as multiple as you can get with a Nintendo game, is a business decision on re-playability. She was also the first of her time. Not only was her game the first of its kind, bringing two genres of  video games together in a unique way, she was the one of the first main female protagonist. What the developer’s did was marketing genius.

By showing off her abilities first, by the time you realize she is even female, you have already been through the whole Planet Zebes and saved it. There is no discrediting her capabilities or her motives by changing her gender. With a reveal at the end, you take away all stereotypes about females that could hinder one’s ability to relate to the character. Metroid probably would have not had the success it did, without this revolutionary idea. It may have been dismissed as another great Nintendo game if her gender was male, or may have been dismissed all together if her gender was revealed sooner throughout the plot.

Samus has a lot to be proud of. The Metroid series has sold 16.69 million copies over the years, and was blessed with the title of “the first playable human female character in a mainstream video game” by the Guinness World Records 2013: Gaming Edition.*  As a mascot of Nintendo, her games and her legacy will live on for years to come.

I fell in love with the Metroid series (trust me, there are some gaming series’ I don’t love.) Having played Castlevania, I had the same excitement of filling in the maps, and finding all the loot, while battling monsters and such. As a lot of other people, I loved morph ball. As the gender of a character isn’t really an issue for me, as far as being able to relate to them, Samus being a female was an added bonus, just as Lara Croft, being…well… Lara. As I’ve said before as well, Samus being considered a “sex symbol” (which was not there original intention) in no way takes away from her contributions as a space hunter. To say that sexualizing a female is a bad thing, is weird to me, as long as its not her primary function. (No, I haven’t had the pleasure of playing Lollipop Chainsaw…)

Did you play the original Nintendo Game? What was your reaction to the big gender reveal?

Have you recently been introduced to Samus? What do you think about her as a character, or the games?

Please make sure to check out other installments of My Female Gaming Role Models, and tell your friends!

/bow

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gingi Edmonds Freeman
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 15:01:29

    I have no played this game, but now I want to!!! Also, you should guest blog for me sometime!!!!

    Reply

    • WGMom
      Jan 25, 2014 @ 22:01:01

      You definitely should! Especially if you like anything Castlevania, or Zelda. ALSO I would love to Guest Blog for you! I’ll message you on Facebook and we can talk about it! ❤

      Reply

  2. Trackback: Week in Review: 1/25/14 | Stay-At-Home Gaming
  3. Mumpa
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 14:39:14

    Hey, awesome job on this post!
    I never played the original Nintendo game (and not for lack of trying, the game shops in my area are too main stream and just don’t have it and the local hock shops game sections are depressing to say the least…) but since hearing about it from a friend – who neglected to mention the reveal – I’ve been wanting to play it, and now I’m even more excited!
    Mumpa

    Reply

    • WGMom
      Aug 13, 2014 @ 16:16:19

      Thank you so much! I’ve been out of the blog-o-sphere for sometime (again, life) but am looking to get back into the groove! If you can’t get your hands on the original, almost any Metroid title is worth checking out! Although i haven’t played Other M and heard its kind of ‘meh’. The GBA and early Gamecube titles are worth checking out!^^

      Reply

  4. acepkmn
    Aug 14, 2014 @ 13:50:43

    Certainly an interesting read. You get +1 follower.

    Reply

    • WGMom
      Aug 14, 2014 @ 13:52:58

      Aww Thank you!^^ I’m slowly getting back into the swing of a regular schedule and have some pieces I’m working on! Let me know if you have any requests!

      Reply

      • acepkmn
        Aug 14, 2014 @ 14:31:38

        I’d love to hear what a woman thinks about how females are portrayed in video games. Anita Sarkeesian is a delusional writer and has written that women in games are nothing but objects, and strong lead female characters are products of sexism and aren’t real women. She’s gotten a following that’s just terrible.

        I’d like to read a level-headed woman’s opinion on this topic. ^ ^

      • WGMom
        Aug 14, 2014 @ 18:21:43

        Why thank you! I do think i’m itching to write about modern feminism and its attack on gaming.. But i will say briefly my biggest problem with the whole ordeal is this idea that ‘sexy’ and ‘strong’ can’t mix…

      • acepkmn
        Aug 14, 2014 @ 18:35:44

        Hideo Kojima touched on this during E3. Quiet is the female protagonis of the new Metal Gear Solid game, he wanted to make her sexy, not like a girl you see in porn, but sexy in every aspect. All the fanbase knows so far is that she is a mute sniper that has survived torture, this in itself makes her pretty strong.

        Sexy strong females can be done – if done right. There are alot of examples from different games of good looking strong female characters. I’ve been a gamer since the age of three so I know girl characters that have left an impression mainly because they were so cool and fierce.

        I’m looking forward to your writing on the topic, I will probably touch on it myself!

      • WGMom
        Aug 15, 2014 @ 10:40:04

        The whole controversy around Quiet makes me so mad! Hideo has a history of making very strong females. Sniper wolf, the Boss, hell even Meryl has her amazing strong point. My biggest problem with it is that they are doing the same thing they criticize others of doing, judging her by her looks.

      • acepkmn
        Aug 15, 2014 @ 21:14:42

        Exactly, she’s being judged on her looks! This is why I think our little discusssion will be an excellent topic to write about! 😀

  5. Jack Flacco
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 02:57:37

    Lara Croft is my absolute female video game character. Ages ago, I’d played Tomb Raider II. I can’t believe how many months it took me to complete it. I kept getting killed and had to start from the save point. It was crazy. Anyway, I love how she can leap, grasp, swing and toss everywhere. Lara’s incredible!

    Reply

    • WGMom
      Aug 15, 2014 @ 10:54:02

      I agree! Lara will always have a special place in my heart! She was actually the first character I featured in this series! Check out the post here, and let me know what you think!^^

      Reply

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