Level Up
Handshake magazine, handshakemag, post

Top Five Gender-Bending Game Characters

Written by

Comments: 2

Critics often call gaming a straight man’s world. But in a virtual realm when women can play male characters and men can play as females—when we simply have fun connecting through an identity not centered on sexual orientation—video game players may unintentionally create a genderless community.

1. Samus

samus, metroidIn its 1986 debut, Metroid stunned male players when they fought through every level in thick metal armor, only to find at the end of the game they were playing as a badass woman.

2. Portal

What test chamber is this?Players complete puzzles and challenges, guided by a computer artificial intelligence, without ever knowing what their character looks like. That is until they pass a mirror-like portal and see a woman staring back at them.

3. The Sims

Sims, Sims 3, gay wedding, lgbtIn a game where you can customize your characters to your liking—where same-sex characters hook up and even marry at your command—gender and sexuality is whatever you make of it.

4. Quina Quen

Quina Quen, Final Fantasy IXThis playable Final Fantasy IX character, referred to as “s/he” throughout the game, belongs to a genderless race with no obvious physical characteristics revealing sex or orientation.

5. Halo

Halo ForerunnerPlayers in the Halo series sport heavy armor, removing the need or desire for the male or female forms, as guys and gals play online together (often unknowingly) to save their world.

Honorable Mention:


People remember Birdo as the lovable mini-boss who spits eggs at the end of every Super Mario Bros. 2 stage. As it turns out, this character also confronted gender norms, wearing a red bow on his head with pride. The manual for Super Mario Bros. 2 (US) says our gender-bending friend “thinks he is a girl,” and would “rather be called Birdetta.”

Can you think of another? Comment and tell us!

Be Sociable, Share!
Be Sociable, Share!

2 Responses to “Top Five Gender-Bending Game Characters”

  1. avatar Nick Feely says:

    Quina may have been officially a “playable” character, but did anyone actually play with him/her? I think no.

  2. avatar Rhe says:

    When there is an option to play a female character, I always opt for her. I just hate how they are not designed like “real” women.