Nintendo and Feminism: Unused Innovation

My favorite of Nintendo's takes on the classic women empowerment poster.

My favorite of Nintendo’s takes on the classic women empowerment poster.

Gaming is not often considered the most gender equal of pastimes.

While this is thankfully changing, we still have a ways to go before the stigma of inequality is broken to those watching the gaming industry. Thankfully, companies are taking the initiative by creating strong characters that are more than male, but no company is better poised to lead the way forward than the original innovator, Nintendo. Let’s take a look and see some of the untapped potential Nintendo  has, that they just might use with the birth of their new console.

1: Zelda/Sheik


                First on the list, we have none other than Princess Zelda, wielder of a piece of the Triforce… and a total badass ninja too. Yes, I refer to none other than her smoke bombing alter ego, Sheik, perhaps my favorite character of the entire Zelda franchise (not an easy achievement in my book, either). Between guiding you through a war torn, partially undead Hyrule in Ocarina of Time, to attaining her own separate character in Super Smash Bros, to making the lineup in the recent Hyrule Warriors, Sheik has firmly established that she is not to be taken lightly. Nintendo, however, seems hesitant to utilize her to her full potential. Sure she gets referenced in other Nintendo games, and her tribe, the Sheikah, were prominent in the Wii’s Skyward Sword, but it has been far too long since we’ve been graced with having a Triforce wielding princess-ninja as an ally in a Zelda game. Early reports of Breath of the Wild haven’t mentioned her, but who knows… maybe we will get lucky, the Sheikah tribe will surely make an appearance.

2: Princess Peach


                Next, we travel to the Mushroom Kingdom to boost a few femme fetales. Naturally, Princess Peach comes first in this lineup, as she not only leads the entirety of Mushroom Kingdom despite not even being Queen, but also manages to maintain an active sporting and racing life. What most people forget, however, is that she is capable of taking on the toughest baddies when she needs to, if Super Mario Bros. 2 and her own spinoff games have taught us anything. I could understand if Nintendo keeps her the damsel in distress, but I wouldn’t mind seeing her flex her muscles some.

3: Daisy?


Similarly, Daisy… you know what? Maybe we just leave Daisy be. Instead, lets focus on one of the newest, but one of the best additions to the Mushroom Kingdom ladies–Rosalina.

3: Rosalina


                Featured in Super Mario Galaxy, and sort of existing in Super Mario Galaxy 2, this caretaker of the stars not only shows great wisdom, but also grace and power as she cares for an entire community of Lumas, providing not only a home but a cosmic galaxy ship to explore the universe around them. She shows great potential to be in this next installment of the Mario series, given the entire premise is world-hopping. There is one person, though, that rises above all the others.

4: Samus Aran


               One girl takes second stage to no one, and will always stand as one of the toughest loners in the video game industry. This woman, is Samus Aran. Intergalactic bounty hunter. Destroyer of worlds. You would be hard pressed to find anyone with a higher pedigree of pure awesomeness than Samus, as she is strong, smart, resilient, and will always come out on top. What saddens me is seeing such a powerful character and female icon ignored, or worse, tamed. This was Metroid: Other M(istake)’s greatest downfall. Different gameplay, easier missions, these can be disappointing but forgivable. Causing Samus Aran to rely on a superior, to whine and complain, to be such a disconnect from her actual character, may be one of the worst storyline mistakes Nintendo has made. What Nintendo has before it now is the opportunity to learn from this mistake and create a Metroid experience that shows just how powerful a lady can be. We can only hope they realize the golden opportunity… orangeish golden anyway, that lies before them.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite character I didn’t cover? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

About Joseph Vuke

Learning, observing, and participating in the world around me. I believe in improvin' and groovin'
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2 Responses to Nintendo and Feminism: Unused Innovation

  1. It is truly a shame that Metroid, particularly Samus, is so poorly underutilized. I love how Nintendo has done some things to turn stereotypes on their heads. It’s always fun revealing that Samus is a woman to someone who does not know. The shock and partial shame that spreads on their face is always pleasant. Similarly, I enjoy how Zelda, since A Link to the Past even, is often remarkably capable and not at all a damsel in distress. Yeah, she may occasionally get imprisoned in a crystal, but why? Not because she’s helpless, but because someone wants the power SHE has. Bravo, good sir.


    • Joseph Vuke says:

      Absolutely. I enjoy watching Zelda play a more dynamic role than the captured objective, as nice as Skyward Swords story was, it annoyed me to see her relegated to that role.

      But SS gave us Ghirahim so I tend to avoid complaining about the game, even though there are better Zelda titles.


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