The 15 Greatest Women in Video Games

15.  King (Art of Fighting / The King of Fighters)

King-kofXIIIDespite her name sharing a noun with the title of the series, King is just one of many playable martial artists in SNK’s borderline ancient (as the video game timeline goes) series of fighting games. She’s a Muay Thai practitioner who also owns a bar, and who can school you in billiards as well as she can twist you up with one of the game’s many physics-defying flying kicks. Individual character stories are difficult to flesh out in a fighting game – i.e. a genre wherein a player takes a character (or in KoF‘s case, three) through a series of competitive duels and completes the game within an hour or so – but King is notable in that she was the only playable female character in the original Art of Fighting, and as this was a, shall we say, “different” time, her appearance was made to reflect that of a man so that the target market of the time (adolescent boys) wouldn’t be deterred from playing a game with a woman in it (King is even referred to as “he” in the game’s original marketing).

However, as women now make up the majority of the gaming demographic (and more importantly, the thinking people of all genders are happy to see women in equal/superior roles in games), the KoF series is now full of badass women, the majority of which are fully clothed (no disrespect to Mai Shiranui)and practice unique fighting styles from Wing Chun to telekinesis. King has appeared in every game in the series, and her story has been deepened to include a struggle with her own gender (which was there in the beginning, despite the misleading marketing), something not handled too often in video games. She doesn’t bother striking sexy poses. She’s not surprised and giggly when she wins. And she doesn’t give in to any of the bizarre fetishism connected with fighting games (i.e. skimpily dressed, disproportionate ladies who seem to only be included so that young boys can get off on beating them up and seeing how much of their butts are revealed when their clothing flaps).

King doesn’t hang around talking about it, though: throughout, she has been the captain of the KoF “Women’s Team” (kind of a misnomer considering the number of KoF teams that feature women) and countless players have watched her walk away victorious after stomping the perpetually evil tournament sponsors into the gravel.




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