Waifu Wednesday: Samus Aran (Metroid)

Waifu Wednesday

Video games are full of badass women these days, but they all had to start somewhere. While there were other female playable characters in video games before her, none of these early heroines have had the impact and legacy of the intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus Aran. Her skill, strength, and tenacity set her apart in a time period when most women were relegated to damsel-in-distress status.

For this week’s Waifu Wednesday, we look at the OG action woman of video games, Metroid’s Samus Aran. The best bounty hunter in the galaxy and the person you call when you absolutely need the job done right. Honestly, I am surprised we’ve been doing this feature for this long and not featured her yet.

Who is Samus Aran?

Samus Aran in Metroid Dread

Way back in 1986, players were introduced to Metroid and the bounty hunter, Samus Aran. In that game, an isolated, lonely figure explored a planet, fought space pirates – the coolest kind of pirate – and gained new and exciting powers to help them stop the evil Mother Brain. The game introduced several innovations, but perhaps the most interesting came in the form of its ending.

See, Metroid was the first game to have multiple endings based on how quickly you were able to complete the game. Defeat Mother Brain fast enough and Samus would appear on the screen without their iconic armour, revealing for the first time that they were, in fact, a woman. What a twist, right?

Why we love her

Zero Suit Samus Aran

This reveal might seem tame by today’s standards, but at the time it was revolutionary. No game before had featured a female protagonist in such a way and depicted her being just as cool and powerful as any man in the universe. In fact, the opening of the game clearly states that Samus Aran is chosen for this mission because she is the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, so there is no mistaking her action chops.

There is something wonderful about how the reveal of Samus’ gender comes about in the game. It is almost an afterthought, something that clearly doesn’t matter to the overall story or gameplay, which is precisely the case. The message becomes less “Even a woman can save the galaxy” and more “Of course a woman can save the galaxy” and I really enjoyed that when I first picked up the series as a kid. Even picking up the series later now that I’ve finally been able to pick up and play Metroid Dread, Samus remains one of the coolest, most well designed, and unapologetically badass women in gaming history and I adore her for it.

Why you’ll love her

Samus Aran

In my ongoing quest to celebrate women who are both hot and who scare me, it seemed silly not to include Samus Aran in here. She is iconic both in and out of her supersuit, with her Zero Suit version making appearances both in her own games and in the Super Smash Bros series. Though she is silent for the vast majority of her titles, this only adds to the isolation and despair that fills the atmosphere in most Metroid games.

Whether you’re a new convert to the church of buff women or you’ve been preaching that gospel for years like me, it is hard to argue with the appeal of Samus Aran. Nintendo’s official stats for her, from the Super Metroid Player’s Guide back in 1994, lists her at standing a full 6’3” tall and weighing 198 lbs outside of her Power Suit, making her physically intimidating even without her weaponry. And any woman who can go toe-to-toe with the Mother Brain or EMMIs and walk away is the kind of woman I definitely want to get to know. (And not piss off – Ed.)

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