(Click here for the regular version)

These are some of our favorite female role models in gaming. That is, women we want to emulate–women we wouldn’t mind our teens (girls and boys) looking up to. Many of these games are rated T for Teen or M for Mature, so make sure to check out our library entries on them before deciding if the game is right for your teenager.

1862146-wallpaper_006_femshep3_1920x1200

Commander Jane Shepard (Mass Effect)

Shepard is a commander, member of the special forces, leader of her crew, and ultimately the savior of the galaxy. She is defined by the quality of her leadership and the choices she makes. She can lead through fear or through compassion, but either way, she serves as a guide and beacon of hope for her people.

Amaterasu

Amaterasu (Ookami)

Amaterasu, named for the Japanese sun goddess, is…well, she’s a wolf. But she’s also caring, opinionated, and willing to go out of her way to help those who need it, even at cost to herself. Amaterasu is intelligent, though she has a short attention span–she’ll fall asleep if something bores her.

tomb_raider_2013_wallpaper

Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Lara is one of the most prolific characters in gaming, and boy has she changed since her conception. The new Lara Croft is young, but she is resilient, stubborn, and tough beyond measure. She’ll stop at nothing to rescue her best friend. She’s also an archaeologist.

Tyrande-Whisperwind3

Queen Tyrande Whisperwind and the Night Elves (Warcraft)

Tyrande is the queen of the Night Elves, a race of people whose women are warriors and whose men are scholars who spend most of their time sleeping (it’s a religious thing).Tyrande is just and powerful, and protects her people against a myriad of threats without compromising her ethical core. The Night Elves are also staunch environmentalists.

Aveline-Vallen-dragon-age-origins-18456995-1024-576

Aveline (Dragon Age II)

Aveline is a former soldier who works her way up to the Captain of the Guard due to her compassion, morals, and skill with sword and shield. Losing her husband early on doesn’t compromise her ability to lead. Although Aveline is awkward in matters of the heart, her devotion to the guards and city in her care is evident.

Portal_2_chell_large.1298515317

Chell (Portal)

Chell is a test subject; a silent protagonist who is determined to escape the labyrinth of Aperature Science. She throws off insults and jabs to her character with ease. When she is met with flames instead of cake, she calmly proceeds to utilize her intelligence to escape the situation. Chell’s tenacity is second to none.

Alyx

Alyx Vance (Half Life 2)

Alyx is a talented hacker, programmer, and engineer. She has a great sense of humor, a friendly personality, and a calm exterior during tense situations. She also has skill in firearms. Alyx makes for an invaluable ally in a post-apocalyptic setting, and maybe more than that–she is a friend.

640px-139521353517146mirrors-edge-art

Faith (Mirror’s Edge)

Faith is a reformed thief and parkour expert (also known as free-running) working to undermine the totalitarian government that threatens her and her family. She begins investigating a murder in order to clear her sister’s name, proving her skill in detective work. Faith’s strength doesn’t lie in combat, but rather agility, stealth, speed, and intelligence.

1445692-liara_super

Liara T’Soni (Mass Effect)

Liara, a member of the long-lived Asari alien species, is sweet and motherly. She’s also a talented scientist and historian–one of the best in the galaxy, if not the best. Bonus: She’s pretty good with a handgun.

the-last-of-us_Ellie_BIO

Ellie (The Last of Us)

Ellie may be only 14, but her toughness, determination, and optimism in the face of every evil the world throws at her is unparalleled. She has a pretty awful potty mouth, but zombies (and being 14) could do that to a person.

I would like to note here that there are a lot of great female characters who aren’t on this list. We’d love to hear your feedback on who you think we missed!

Note: Top 10 male role models coming soon!

Here are the games we’ve reviewed in our library. The rest will be added shortly:

Mass Effect 

Warcraft 

The Last of Us 

Portal

Tomb Raider

Dragon Age 2

Keezy Young

Keezy Young

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.