Top 10 Pixelated Princesses
Hear ye! Hear ye!
Now presenting the Lord of Wood, otherwise known as Sir Eric Vole.
Greetings Kingdom of One More-eth Castle. Please sit quietly and partake of this list I am about to present to thee. It is a glorious list of regal qualities of the fairer sex, and if you do not enjoy it I shall remove your head with my guillotine.
Alright, I think that’s enough of that. There is no way I’ll be able to keep it up for the rest of the list. Nevertheless, I’m here to tell you that today we are going to count down the top 10 pixelated princesses in video games. These are the characters that are often kidnapped by dark forces and act as a reward for our protagonist, but sometimes they break the shackles of the damsel in distress trope. Today we’re looking at the most iconic princesses in gaming, but also the ones not afraid to get their hands dirty. Also major brownie points to whomever knows what game the featured image is from.
Rules of Thine Lyste
- One princess per franchise.
- Princessed are ordered based on how iconic they are, and how much they take charge.
- Mistakes may be made, if thou see a mistake do not by a douchebag, but please point it out.
- I haven’t played every single video game ever made, so your favorite might not be on this list. (Like the princess from the original Wild Arms)
- Constructive criticism is always appreciated.
- Some princesses are not pixelated, I just enjoy alliteration.
10.) Princess Za – Bonk’s Adventure
We’re starting off this list with an obscure character, but one who deserves the number 10 spot nonetheless. Bonk’s Adventure is a game originally released for the TurboGrafx-16. Bonk the mascot of the console. In this game you play as a young caveman with a large head named Bonk. Bonk needs to rescue his love interest, Princess Za, from the evil King Drool. It’s been a while since I played this game, so the reasoning King Drool kidnaps Princess Za and brainwashes many of the lands inhabitants is a bit vague, but I’m just going to guess he wants to take over the world… OF COURSE! Nevertheless, it’s your job as Bonk to stop him.
Princess Za is unique from every other princess on this list because she is a lizard/dragon hybrid thing. Sure in the remake she’s changed into a pink-haired human princess, but that’s not important. In the original Bonk’s Adventure, Princess Za is a pink dinosaur. She is also the love interest of Bonk. Princess Za doesn’t do much in the game, but her appearance does support interspecies relationships. I’m guessing Birdo is the son/daughter of Princess Za and Bonk. A caveman and a pink dinosaur has to be one of the oddest romanitic relationships of any game… except maybe for the next entry.
9.) Princess What’s-Her-Name – Earthworm Jim
If you remember my list of the top retro rovers in video games then you know I love Shiny Entertainment and thus adore the Earthworm Jim series. In fact, before I decided on the alias Woodyman I was toying with Psy-Crow or Bob the Killer Goldfish. In this game you play as an earthworm named Jim. Jim was an ordinary earthworm until an indestructible high-tech super suit created by Professor Monkey-for-a-Head falls from the sky and happens to land on Jim transforming him into a hero. The suit was supposed to be stolen by the evil henchman Psy-crow and given to Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt (or Queen Slug-for-a-Butt in short). Who would use the suit to take over the galaxy (even though she’s way too big for it) and also destroy her pretty “twin” sister. Princess What’s-Her-Name.
First, I don’t know how Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is a twin to Princess What’s-Her-Name at all. I can see a vague similarity but one is hot, and the other is repulsive. Just like Princess Za above, Princess What’s-Her-Name doesn’t have a huge role in the story and gameplay of the Earthworm Jim series. She acts as a reward for the player, but with one huge twist. Be warned, there will be spoilers from this point forward. Early on in the first level you come across a giant cow. The only way to proceed is to launch the cow in the sky. You think that’s the end of it, but at the end of the game you defeat Queen Slug-For-A-Butt and rescue Princess What’s-Her-Name. You’d expect some sort of reward, but Princess What’s-Her-Name doesn’t accept Jim’s advances. Luckily, she is then crushed by the same cow you launched in level one. This is such an oh shit moment that I couldn’t exclude Princess What’s-Her-Name from this list.
8.) Devilot – Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness
Devilot aka Devilotte de DeathSatan IX is a relatively unknown princess on this list but she first made an appearance in Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness. Since then she has made an appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom Origins as an assist character, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as an unlockable card. Since then she has made appearances in other games, and I believe she is even in Project X Zone, but who is Devilot? Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness is a fighting game made by Capcom, but is often overlooked because it saw limited time in Japanese Arcades and the console ports never made it to the states. In that game you chose a pilot, then you selected a giant robot mech, and then it was time to fight. More of you will recognized Devilot from Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, but my first encounter with her was in Marvel vs. Capcom series as an assist character. When summoned Devilot appears with her lackeys Dave the scientist and Xavier the wizard, they try to launch an attack but it ends up backfiring and they explode damaging your opponent.
After seeing that, I really was curious about whom Devilot is, and I’m sure you are too. Devilot is the daughter of a pirate king and queen. Due to her lineage, Devilot is a spoiled brat who flies around in her octopus-like mech robbing other characters in the game. She has no place in the conflict of the game itself, but only wants to have some fun by robbing others. Devilot is a humorous character. Her bratty attitude, harebrained schemes, and devastating mistakes are memorable. There is a reason she and Jin are the only characters people know from the Cyberbots game. An obscure character, but her assist move in Marvel vs. Capcom is so hilarious it stayed in the minds of gamers for years.
7.) Morrigan – Darkstalkers
Here we have another character from a Capcom fighter, but one much more well-known. Darkstalkers is another Capcom fighting game and is one of their best. Darkstalkers is a 2D fighter similar to Capcom’s Street Fighter series but with one huge difference. Darkstalkers is set in a gothic horror world where all of the characters are inspired by horror monsters, or monster hunters. It is one of the greatest 2D fighters ever made and you should find an old copy or download it from XBLA or PSN.
Morrigan is the Ryu of the Darkstalkers series. By that I mean she is an all-around character who is very easy to pick up and play. She even has a similar move set to the Shoto characters of Street Fighter. Morrigan has a fireball-like projectile, and even an uppercut move. It is because of this, that Morrigan became the character of choice for many gamers familiar with the Street Fighter series, but it’s not the only reason she’s on this list. Morrigan is a succubus who is the most popular character from the Darkstalkers series. She is named after and inspired after The Morrigan from Celtic mythology. The Morrigan in Celtic mythology is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty. However, Morrigan in Darkstalkers is a sexy, green-haired, Succubus. She has large bat-like wings on her body that she can morph and use to attack or defend. She was one of the first characters created along with Felicia. Originally, Felicia was supposed to be the sexy one and Morrigan was supposed to be the cute one, but that was quickly reversed. What I love about Morrigan, besides her pixelated curves, is her backstory. She was born in Scotland in the mid-17th century and was adopted by Belial of the Aensland House, therefore Morrigan is known as Morrigan Aensland. When she was young, Belial thought she was too strong so he sealed away part of her power. One third of Morrigan’s power morphed into the succubus, and other Darkstalkers character known as Lilith. The other third went into Belial himself, which would return to Morrigan at his death. Belial intended to slowly give Morrigan back her power when he knew she could handle it, but died before given the chance. She didn’t want to live a boring life as heir of the Aensland name/throne so she shirked her responsibilities and set out into the world.
Also, she’s a hot succubus… so there’s that.
6.) Princess Sarah – Final Fantasy I
Princess Sarah isn’t a full flushed out character like some of the other princesses in the Final Fantasy universe (Dagger), but she deserves a place on this list for her role in the story of the original Final Fantasy game. Be warned, there are massive spoilers ahead.
The original Final Fantasy has one of the greatest stories of the 8-bit generation. Princess Sarah is the original princess in the game. Before the game even begins, Princess Sarah was kidnapped by the once good knight Garland. When the game begins, your party is sent on a quest by the King of Cornelia to defeat Garland and rescue the princess, which they do. This is where shit goes down. When Garland is defeated, your party is sent on a quest to destroy the four fiends of Chaos. When the fiends are destroyed it’s revealed they were sent from the past, but then it is also revealed that their master is in fact Garland who was sent to the past when at the brink of death. He became the ultimate evil known as Chaos and sent the fiends into the future to create an everlasting timeloop. I know it’s confusing, if you want some more information check out the GameTrailers Retrospective or the song by Duane and Brando. So this means that by rescuing Princess Sarah in the beginning, you ultimately begin the timeloop, causing untold amounts of death and hardship. Therefore, if Princess Sarah just stayed kidnapped, then Garland wouldn’t be Chaos and the world would be much better…
Is your mind blown?
5.) Kitana – Mortal Kombat
Kitana is the shining example of Stockholm Syndrome also she might be the world’s greatest cougar but we will get to that later. Mortal Kombat is a series built around fighting to the death, and even though she doesn’t look like it, Kitana is one of the deadliest fighters in the game. The plot of the entire Mortal Kombat franchise can be summed up relatively quickly. The big baddie known as Shao Kahn wants to take over every realm. To do this, his warriors must defeat the best fighters from the realm he wants to take over in a tournament. One of the realms Shao Kahn took over was called Edenia. Edenia was a realm known for its strength and regality, but they still fell to Shao Kahn’s forces. When Kahn took over the realm he took the queen Sindel as his wife, and the princess Kitana as his adopted daughter.
For years after that Kitana served under Shao Kahn’s rule and was even one of his most trusted assassins. Now it’s said that it was not until later that Kitana learned of Shao Kahn’s true nature and that he killed he biological father. However, I’m a bit concerned about that. First off Kitana is old! She looks 20 but according to the games and the official Mortal Kombat Wiki she is over 10,000 years old (Also she has a romantic interest in Liu Kang, so love really knows no age… creepy). So how did she not remember her father’s death? You could say she was put under a mind-control spell but what broke her out of that spell? Also wouldn’t you suspect your “father” of being evil if he has glowing red eyes and wears a skull helmet all the time?
Well if we suspend our disbelief, after Kitana found out about Kahn she decided to overthrow him and take back Edenia from his rule. She worked alongside Kahn for years biding her time and secretly plotting her revenge when the warriors from Earthrealm showed up and started kicking ass. She quickly aligned herself with the good guys and began to fight against her “father”.
This sounds interesting, and she certainly is a three-dimensional character, so why isn’t she any higher on the list? She was brainwashed, tricked, under a spell at least 3 or 4 times… maybe even more. Take a hint and stop trusting people!
4.) Princess Daphne – Dragon’s Lair
I know how contradictory this choice is, especially after I went on that rant about damsels in distress but sometimes you need to make an exception. Princess Daphne is from the arcades in 1983. If you want to understand why I put her on my list you have to imagine you’re in 1983. The arcades are full of games with simple graphics. During this year the Star Wars Arcade Game, Mario Bros, and Spy Hunter have been released and those are considered to be fantastic, but then suddenly you see Dragon’s Lair. Dragon’s Lair was a bright and lively game. It looked more like a Disney Animated film rather than an arcade game. This is because Dragon’s Lair was the first laserdisc arcade game, and because all of the game was animated/drawn by Don Bluth (responsible for Secret of Nimh, Anastasia, and An American Tale).
So imagine you’re walking through the arcade when you suddenly see this blonde bombshell, inspired by the early Playboy centerfolds. It was a memorable moment in gaming and if you were there, you remember the first time you saw Princess Daphne. Sure she doesn’t have a big role other than being eye-candy, but back then that was all you needed.
3.) Princess Nadia aka Marle – Chrono Trigger
This is one of the greatest and most well rounded princesses in any game, but loses to the top two just because of how iconic they are.
So I recently beat Chrono Trigger, and I really wish I beat it before my very first list came out because I would have definitely put Magus’ Castle on my list of the Top 10 Castles. It’s a fantastic game full of memorable characters. One such memorable character is Princess Nadia also known as Marle. When you first begin the game you run into (literally) Marle at a festival. When you collide with her she loses her royal pendant, which you must return to her. Afterwards, Chrono and Marle walk around the festival with one another taking in the sights and attractions. This is where the game explores Marle as a character, as you talk to people and interact with objects Marle responds and you get to know her character. Eventually, Marle gets transported back in time due to a “malfunction” with another character’s (Lucca’s) invention. Then Chrono’s epic quest begins with a simple quest to get her back.
Later on you find out that Marle is actually Princess Nadia. She’s a tomboy who wants to break free from the life of regality. She wants to explore the world, get in trouble, and go on adventures. This is why she attends the festival in disguise and also why she sticks with Chrono throughout the game. This makes her an interesting character! She is brave and strong-willed, but not afraid to show some class or emotion. She isn’t a reward for Chrono, she is a real person. Not only this, but she is a valuable team member. Marle is put in the healer/assist role of Chrono Trigger. However, she learns Ice Magic early on and her assist spells, techs, and everything make her one of the most valuable characters in the game, especially when paired with Frog or Chrono for some brutal devastation and assists.
She’s a great addition to your team, but she’s a greater companion and character.
2.) Princess Peach – Super Mario Bros.
Princess Peach is the quintessential damsel in distress, but one of the most iconic video game princesses of all time. Now that I said that, I’m sure you can tell who’s going to be in the number one spot, but keep reading.
If you somehow don’t know, Princess Peach aka Princess Toadstool is the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. In nearly every single Mario Bros game ever released, Princess Peach is kidnapped and it’s up to Mario to get her back. Because Mario is such an iconic character, and the Super Mario Bros games are so well known and beloved, Princess Peach is a gaming icon.
What about the character herself?
Princess Peach rules the Mushroom Kingdom, but she is still a princess. Is there a queen or a king? I can’t remember one. So why isn’t she Queen Peach? Secondly, she is the love interest of a plumber. I can buy a giant reptile with an army of turtles and evil mushrooms exist, but there is no way a princess would date a plumber without some serious daddy issues. Thirdly, she has been kidnapped so often that she plans for it, and expects it. So she’s a weak character who goes along with whatever is thrust upon her. Is Princess Peach really supposed to be an icon?
Then why is she on this list… and why in the number two spot? Well because she is an icon. Princess Peach is normally the damsel in distress, but that’s not her only personality trait. In Super Mario Bros 2 (I know it was a dream) she was one of the best characters to use because of her floating ability. Then she was made playable as an assist/healer character in Super Mario RPG… also she had a frying pan, but that’s not the point. Princess Peach isn’t just a damsel in distress, she’s THE damsel in distress for the most iconic video game character of all time. Without Peach, what would Mario be running and jumping for?
1.) Princess Zelda – The Legend of Zelda
Princess Zelda is a character very similar to Princess Peach, because of this it was tough to choose between the two.
Like Princess Peach, Princess Zelda is a damsel in distress. She is often kidnapped by the forces of evil, or at least her kingdom is taken over. She is a princess in a kingdom where the king/queen are rarely seen if they exist at all. She has to be constantly rescued by Link. Most importantly, Princess Zelda is a gaming icon. While it’s true Peach might be the bigger icon, I’m sure there are many gamers and even non-gamers who are familiar with Zelda. She is the titular character for the series afterall.
She is everything Peach is, so why is she in the number one spot? Well because she actually does something. If we’re only looking at retro games, Zelda isn’t playable but she still does more than Peach. In the original game, Zelda is your typical damsel in distress. However, before she is kidnapped she breaks the triforce into 8 pieces so that Ganon cannot retrieve it. In the sequel on the NES she is a damsel in distress but also in a coma. In A Link to the Past, Zelda is a damsel in distress but still does something by calling out to Link and Link’s Uncle telepathically for them to rescue her. Then we get to Ocarina of Time. This is the game the pushed Zelda into the number one spot. In earlier games it’s revealed that Zelda has magical abilities, but this is where it comes to fruition. Before Link’s arrival to Hyrule Castle, Zelda has a vision of him and also a vision of the evil king Ganondorf taking over the land. Therefore, when Link breaks into the castle she immediately sends him out collect the three spiritual stones. Then when Ganondorf attacks, Zelda makes her escape but also leaves the Ocarina of Time where Link can get it, and leaves a telepathic message with it that teaches Link the Song of Time. Then she returns seven years later disguised as a young boy named Sheik. This transformation is good, when the game first came out I had no idea Sheik was Zelda, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s unclear whether she actually transforms into a man, or is adapt at disguises. As Sheik, Zelda gives Link numerous clues as to the location of the temples and teaches him numerous songs on the ocarina. Then when Sheik’s true identity is reveal, she/he is captured but still helps out in the final boss battle by giving light arrows to Link and using light arrows to stop Ganon in his tracks which allows Link to deliver the final blow.
See! She actually does something and it’s useful plus she is a gaming icon. Therefore, Princess Zelda is the undisputed best pixelated princess in gaming.
I really want to apologize that this list is late. I got busy, but also had a bit of writer’s block. I just couldn’t find a way to defend by choices and the entire process seemed forced. Either way, I’m back and I hope you enjoyed this list.
What’s next? I honestly don’t know. I think I’ll leave it up to you. Comment below which 1 More Countdown should be next. Your choices are Top 10 SNES Final Boss Themes, Top 10 Best LJN Games, Top 10 Arcade-style Sports Games, or Top 10 Characters with Eating Disorders. Comment below!