Aloy (A-loy) from Horizon Zero Dawn is a female character that lives in a post-apocalyptic universe. This game was released in February 28th to the general public. During the game, the gamer only plays Aloy. It is a role playing game (RPG) with action and adventure.
Aloy lives in a place called Mother’s Heart and she is an outcast within the Nora tribe. An outcast is a person without a mother. The Nora tribes lives within a matriarch society where women are leaders. As an outcast, she is treated poorly and people don’t want to associate with her. Rost takes her under his wing and trains her to hunt and fight.
To be accepted in society she was to win the Proving. The Proving is contest that if she wins, will help her gain knowledge about her mother and she will no longer be treated as an outcast. Unfortunately, events spiral out of control and Rost ends up sacrificing his life in order to protect Aloy. He asks her to keep living and never give up.
As events in the game unfold, Aloy goes on a long journey across Horizon. She learns about the metal creatures that inhabit Horizon and how they are connected to her origins. It is a self-discovery journey where she finds who her mother is and where she came from.
“Aloy is curious, determined and intent on uncovering the mysteries of her world” (horizonzerodawn.wiki.com/Aloy). She is not sexualized for the male gamer. She goes on a self-discovering journey by herself (some characters helped her but no major ones). Within the game, there is no emphasis on a romance. She goes on the journey for herself and no one is getting in her way.
I choose Aloy to talk about because the game recently came out. This a AAA gaming developer backed by Sony with a lead female character. Many games that have female characters are usually not the main character or the player choose to be female. Forcing the gamer to play as a woman is different than choosing to be a woman.
Since the release of Mass Effect Andromeda, I will talk about the Tali’Zorah nar Rayya in the Mass Effect trilogy. In Mass Effect, Tali can be recruited early in the game. Tali is a Quarian or an alien race in the series. She is a young girl on her pilgrimage when she meets Commander Shepard (the main character). Tali is a Quarian mechanic and specializes in tech abilities and support. Tali appears in all three games and can be a squad mate in them as well.
Tali can be romanced only if you are a male Commander Shepard from the second game on. Depending on the actions of Commander Shepard, Tali will easily talk to Shepard about her journey and her past. In the first game, Tali will talk about Quarians and gives more information about her species. Tali gives Shepard crucial information on the main mission and helps them find more information about the Geth and Reapers (the antagonist). In the second game, you can finally start romancing Tali and build a romantic relationship with her. The player gets to know her more if they complete her loyalty mission and side with Tali. By completing her loyalty mission in the end of the game she will survive the suicide mission that Shepard goes on. In the third game, there is a mission where you must choose between the Geth or Quarians. If you choose the Geth, Tali will commit suicide. The player must choose between one or the other race and only in a rare circumstance the player can choose one and still save the other. If Tali survives past this part of the game, she will become a full time squad mate for the rest of the game.
Women in video games sometimes have only one dimension and side to them. Throughout the trilogy, the gamer is shown different sides of Tali. She is an extremely smart mechanic and knows her way around a ship and engine. Shepard and other crew members are impressed with her knowledge about technology. When Commander Shepard asks for help the first time, Tali is not willing to help because she has a mission of her own. She puts her mission before Shepard’s because she knows that her mission is more important at the time. Later on, in Mass Effect 2, she joins Shepard after she completes her mission. In Mass Effect 3 (if she still alive) Tali is promoted to Admiral. She blames herself if she cannot complete her mission, which millions of lives are riding on. She is unsure of her position and confused about everything around her. Shepard could help her and reassure her that everything will turn out fine in the end and that they trust Tali.
Throughout the games, Tali grows from a little girl just going on her pilgrimage to becoming an Admiral on her ship. She goes through regret, loss, trust, and love through the trilogy. Tali might not be the most known character in Mass Effect, but she has been a major role in all three games. Without Tali, Commander Shepard would have never found out information about the Geth in the first game.