The Decade of the Female Protagonist: 10 Video Game Heroines That Inspire Me and the Life Lessons They Taught

The 2010s bought my transition from childhood to adulthood. Turning 15 near the beginning of 2010 and now 24 in 2019, 15 feels like a lifetime ago and yet from then until now I’ve learnt and been taught so much. In this time period, I also solidified my love of narrative, storytelling and more specifically video games.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved video games. I have the fondest memories of playing Unreal Tournament with my brother in 2002 or hours of the Sims 2 in 2004 just to name a few, but I didn’t fully appreciate the power of character and storytelling until I got older and was introduced to the likes of Mass Effect.

So, as the 2010s comes to an end, I’m taking the moment to reflect on the last decade of video games. A topic that stood out to me the most was video game heroines and how lucky we are to have such brilliant and intelligent female protagonists in video games who are both realistic and vulnerable. As I started to gather this list, I couldn’t help but be baffled by not realizing how many lessons they taught me along the way and appreciate the time and effort that has gone into them via the team that created them.

I hope you find these characters and video games as inspiring as I do and maybe even try one of the games if you haven’t. Here’s to an even more epic decade for video game heroines coming up. Who knows where the journey will take us…

Aloy – Horizon Zero Dawn

–> Curiosity is important

Aloy taught me how important it is to be curious and have the confidence to search for the truth. A curious mind is a creative mind and the world always needs both fictional and non-fictional people to remind us of that.

horizon zero dawn aloy

Ellie – The Last of Us

–> Being open to others is hard

Ellie taught me that being open to others is hard and vulnerability is natural. We may not be living in an apocalypse, but our relationships and human connection with others will always remain the same.

the last of us ellie

Max – Life is Strange

–> We are not alone

Max taught me that we are not alone. In times of darkness we will all experience some form of loneliness and feeling as though the world is on our shoulders. We’re reminded that through these frustrations and hard times, people are there to support us and help us get through it.

max life is strange

Kara – Detroit Become Human

–> It’s okay to be different

Kara taught me that it’s okay to be different. We’re exposed to many people in life but more so online too. Very high expectations are made and it’s incredibly easy to make comparisons or feel as though what makes you different is negative or unwelcome.

kara detroit become human

Female Shepard – Mass Effect series

–> Always keep learning

Female Shepard taught me that there’s always room to grow and keep learning. Not only your skill-set but via people and human connection too. Age doesn’t have to limit you either or create weights that stop you from moving.  

female shepard femshep mass effect

Chloe – Uncharted series

–> Take risks

Chloe taught me that it’s okay to take risks and is, a lot of the time, a necessary leap we must take to become who we were meant to be. We all have the confidence to take these risks, sometimes it’s just hard to find that confidence and believability in oneself.

uncharted lost legacy chloe

Jodie – Beyond Two Souls

–> Don’t let others decide who you are

Jodie taught me not to let others decide who we are. Hundreds of voices are all around us and it’s very hard to shut them out and stand for what we believe in, especially if they come from the people we care about.

beyond two souls jodie

Clementine – Telltale’s the Walking Dead

–> We can and will survive

Clementine taught me that we can and will survive. Although at times we will reach a breaking point, we can come through the other end stronger than ever. Plus underestimating ourselves and our capabilities is a negative little bug we need to flick away and not let latch on because we’ve got this.

clementine the walking dead telltale

Elizabeth – Bioshock Infinite

–> Seeing the world is scary, but worth it

Elizabeth taught me that seeing the world is scary, but worth it. Change is terrifying and the idea of stepping away from something that we’ve known all our lives, or for a chunk of it, is something we can all admit terrifies us or we may avoid it altogether. 

bioshock infinite elizabeth

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider reboot

–> We can do anything we set our minds to

Lara taught me that we can do anything we set our minds to. The world’s our oyster as they say and someone like Lara let’s us know that with passion and determination we can achieve anything.

lara croft tomb raider reboot 2013