The presence of women in video games often designed with high sexappeal to entice male gamers. These female characters are designed by men formen. There were few notable female video game characters that emerged in thelate 1990s to early 2000s that carry over to present day. The most recognizedfemale video game character to come out of this era was Lara Croft from theTomb Raider series beginning in 1996. From the introduction the character 22years ago, the Tomb Raider had 12 games that had their success tied to LaraCroft and her assets. Nintendo introducing Super Mario 64 in 1996 also added toa damsel in distress stereotype of female characters like Princess Peach. Oftenseen as the objective and nothing more, hardly ever seeing any form ofcharacter development other than falling in love with the video gameprotagonist for rescuing her. Interestingly enough, Halo: Combat Evolvedreleasing in 2001 introduced a female character with a vital role to our mainSpartan John 117, or better known as Master Chief. Cortana is an ArtificialIntelligence onboard a ship when given to our protagonist for protection. Overthe course of 5 games, Master Chief and Cortana fight enemies all whiledeveloping an interesting romantic relationship. This role of a female character can also be compared to that of a tool and character foil. Cortana isonly contacted when our protagonist needs help with his missions and developingher character allowed personality developments to unfold for players to feelmore connected with Master Chief.
A closer look at a popular platform game from this era was Sony’s Crash Bandicoot franchise.
In 1998’s Crash Bandicoot Warped, brought the introduction to being able to play as Crash’s sister, Coco, in a total of 6 levels out of 25 that includes a boss fight playing as Coco. In these levels she is not given the full opportunity to walk, spin, jump and complete levels as Crash’s character can. Her character’s game mechanic was limited to levels that had her riding a tiger, Jet-ski or airplane and simply navigating through the level with a vehicle to possibly make her character more interesting to male gamers.
Flash forward to the 2017 Crash remastered collection, players can now play as Coco in Crash Bandicoot warped and play every level Crash can with the same skill set, but the levels designated for Coco cannot be played with Crash. Coco was not designed with sex appeal in mind, rather just Crash’s younger unskilled sister. The simple and wholesome reason for this change was simply to acknowledge Crash’s female fans that now have the chance to play as their beloved hero’s sister.