CULTURE

12 Powerful Female Video Game Characters

In honor of International Women's Day, here are some of our favorite digitally-constructed women

Ivy from Soul Caliber

In honor of International Women's Day, let's take a look back at some of our favorite fictional females over the years.

While female representation is still severely lacking in video games, there remain a handful of iconic ladies that we all know and love and who have broken barriers over the years. Here are 12 of gaming's greatest female characters.

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CULTURE

Ranking the Strongest Video Game Ninja Girls to Step On Me

Which kunoichi could step on you the hardest?

Bandai Namco

Female ninjas occupy a strange space in the realm of video games.

While their male ninja counterparts, like Strider Hiryu, dress like actual ninjas in full body garb that maybe, at most, reveals their beefy triceps, female ninjas dress in hyper-colorful, skin-bearing attire that seems to scream, "I'm here to step on you, you degenerate gamer." As if "degenerate" and "gamer" weren't interchangeable.

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Bios

Angelina Jolie

All you need to know.

Full Name: Angelina Jolie Voight

Date of Birth: June 4, 1975

Born: Los Angeles, CA

Occupation: Actress, filmmaker, humanitarian

Status: Separated from Brad Pitt (married 2014)

Children: 6

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She lights up the screen with her unearthly beauty and tremendous talent. She's a mother of six, an activist, and a legend in her own time. From her wild child days of the past to her modern maturity, Angelina Jolie is always in the spotlight and our interest in her doesn't seem to fade. Recently separated from Brad Pitt, Jolie is on her own, but her strength and success will never leave her side. Here's a bit about the long-time actress, hands-on humanitarian, and supermom.

Her Films

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Ever since she was a child, Jolie has had a flair for the dramatic, starring in dozens of films throughout the course of her career. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Girl, Interrupted, Gia, Maleficent, and more make up her roster of blockbusters, each one proving that Jolie never fails to give it her all. Her powerful performances have given Jolie her well-deserved A-list status, sky-high salary, and awards for her work. When Jolie is starring, fans flock to theaters to see the actress excel in what she does so effortlessly.


Three Time's Not a Charm

Jolie has been married three times. She wed Jonny Lee Miller in 1996, Billy Bob Thornton in 2000, and Pitt in 2014. Perhaps she'll look for love again, but maybe marriage isn't meant for a fourth go-round. With the tabloid frenzy surrounding her relationship with Pitt which was rumored to start while he was still married to Jennifer Aniston, it's a shock Jolie and Pitt lasted as long as they did. That said, there are surely plenty of men around the world more than willing to be groom #4.

A-List Activism

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Jolie knows she's fortunate and does so much more than bask in the Hollywood life. She's a humanitarian who cares for others all across the globe. More than simply writing a check, Jolie visits remote regions of the world and shines a light on causes that are near and dear to her heart. She works with the United Nations, visits war zones, and cares about conservation. Far from a spoiled star, Jolie gets in the trenches and does the dirty work.


Beyond Beautiful

Jolie is considered a great beauty. Her fine features are timeless and as she ages, she only gets better. Here are some pics of the star throughout her years in the public eye.

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Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.


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Gaming

PlayStation to Release Mini Version of Original Model

This tiny console will only be $100 and come with 20 games

Once again, nostalgia wins out — this time with the PlayStation Classic.

This new bite-sized console is only half as big as the original PlayStation and comes with the standard gray color scheme and classic PlayStation logo. The console — which is only $100 — will come with 20 classic games that'll be released on December 3. Early Christmas gift, anyone?

Sony announced that the first five games will come preloaded on the device and will include titles such as "Final Fantasy VII," "Wild Arms," "Tekken 3," "Ridge Racer Type 4," and "Jumping Flash." However, these are only teasers as they're keeping the other 15 secret — but allow us to speculate and predict which other games will be released with the Classic.

"Spyro the Dragon"

Sony

Spyro was released on Sep. 10, 1998 for the original PlayStation console — the user played as a small purple dragon that went around the world to free his friends from crystal prisons. Spyro would be transported to these worlds via portals in hopes of finally defeating the final boss, Gnasty Gnorc.

"Tony Hawk's Pro Skater"

Activision

There's got to be at least one game from the famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk — the first Pro Skater was released on Aug. 31, 1999 and instantly became a favorite. The player performs different skate tricks in the game, often obtaining more points for more complex tricks. Characters included Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist, and Kareem Campbell among others.

"Resident Evil"

Capcom

The first "Resident Evil" game came out in 1996 and was Capcom's best-selling debut game. The user either chose to play as Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine as they scoured Racoon City in hopes of finding their disappeared S.T.A.R.S. team members — instead, they come across the undead!

"Tomb Raider"

Crystal Dynamics/Eidos

Released in 1996, the first "Tomb Raider" follows the adventures of Lara Croft, an English archaeologist with comical proportions. The player follows her as she picks apart the earth, uncovering secrets and discovering treasures — like the Scion in the Tomb of Qualopec.

"Crash Bandicoot"

Sony

First released in 1996, "Crash Bandicoot" is a fox-like character whose goal is to stop Doctor Neo Cortex and henchman Doctor Nitrus Brio from world domination. He also has a girlfriend — Tawna, a female bandicoot. The user can attack enemies from humps and spinning attacks and can also lose lives in the process.

These are only speculations of course, but who knows? Maybe PlayStation will put all of them in the console — old video games like Atari are making comebacks now with hipsters and nostalgic millennials so this is a pretty good business move.


Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and intern at the Stonewall National Monument.


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FILM & TV

Is Tomb Raider the Feminist Film You've Been Waiting For?

Feminist Success or Another Terrible Remake?

Longtime fans of Lara Croft turned out this past weekend to see the newly rebooted Tomb Raider franchise. If you are a big fan of the past adaptations, you might be in for a surprise. 2018's Tomb Raider isn't full of over-the-top explosive action, nor does it have the trademark tackiness of a video game film. Instead we are given an emotional origin story that has left some people feeling let down. As critics and audiences disagree about the quality of the film, one question is standing out from the rest; how feminist is this new Tomb Raider?

It's hard to take a fresh look at this film without referring back to the original Tomb Raider films, starring Angelina Jolie. It's only when you contrast these two very different interpretations that the reality of this modern Lara Croft takes effect. Alicia Vikander's Lara is not the busty seductress that Angelina Jolie embodied with an effortless sensuality.

The new Lara is missing her trademark braid, wears long pants, doesn't have a padded bra, and isn't constantly portrayed through a hyper-sexualized lens. This Lara isn't put on display to pump up your libido- in fact, the only lingering shots featured aren't of Vikander's chest, but her incredibly defined arm muscles. Appearance wise, this new Tomb Raider look is realistic, refreshing, and definitely feminist. That being said, appearance seems to be one of the few feminist aspects of this film that they got right.

Warner Bros/Paramount

If you take this film as a stand alone, it will leave a lot to be desired. It can seem disappointing to watch Lara Croft come into her own while being outwitted, beaten up, and struggling throughout the start of this film. I take that with a grain of salt, because unlike the video game character who has been kicking ass for a long time, origin story Croft is just getting her start. It can be refreshing to see a woman who hasn't been training as a soldier her whole life, learn to find her inner power throughout the film. It feels very human to see Lara's failures make her stronger and smarter.

Her journey is perfectly embodied during the sequence where she breaks free from a headlock. At the start Lara has to tap out, bite and scratch to escape. She fails numerous times before she finally frees herself. She is a relatable female badass, and that is the second (and last) feminist breakthrough of this film.

IMDB

The lack of representation in this film is, honestly, incredibly disappointing. One might argue, this whole movie is centered around a woman, so how could it lack representation? I would respond that, if women make up around 50% of the population, then why is Lara Croft the only woman in this film? Sure, there are a handful of badass fighting women who make an appearance at Lara's boxing gym, but that first scene makes up the majority of the female cast and lasts about 2 minutes. Ethnically, this could be almost be considered diverse cast…. of men. There are only a handful of women, and none of color. The majority of people won't see themselves represented in this film.

There is so much potential here, but it doesn't quite come to fruition. However, this is a win for women who want to see a realistic action hero that is so much more than tits and ass. It just isn't the best it could be, and that's a problem. It does enough to get by, but with so many films doing better, it feels like it's time for everyone to step up their game.

IMDB

As for whether or not the film is a good movie, I really enjoyed it. It had me on the edge of my seat at times and Alicia Vikander carries this role with strength, grace, and a tiny dash of humor. As it stands on it's own, this movie isn't a true feminist victory. But, if it's meant to entice audiences into a series, where Lara Croft has developed into her role, then there's plenty of promise for the future. Here's hoping.


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BOX OFFICE BREAKDOWN | What's coming to theaters this weekend?

MARCH 16TH-18TH | Romance and thrillers and more coming to a theatre near you

Unconventional love stories are making their way to the forefront of the movie scene this weekend.

In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about have your pants scared off? Maybe just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have it.

Take a peek at our top picks for this week...

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