The twist: Samus is a chick.
The year is 1987. Popping your copy of Metroid into your shiny and highly entertaining Nintendo Entertainment System, you’re immediately struck by the sheer awe-inspiring manliness of lead character Samus Aran. A bounty hunter with abs of steel and no doubt the most heterosexual damn beard in the galaxy under that helmet, Mr. Aran seeped kickass dudelyness from every stoic spare pore.
Killing Space Pirates by the hundred, exploring perilous planets, beating the intergalactic shit out of giant brains; here was a gaming hero we could finally look up to as a shining beacon of everything a man should be. Hang on, what’s this? We’ve just beaten the last boss and something appears to be happening to Samus’ suit.
That’s right. 20 hours of man crush-endorsed entertainment later, and we find out we’ve been worshipping at the altar of gaming’s first genuinely strong heroine. Now that was some progressive thinking on Nintendo’s part. Metroid’s director Yoshio Sakamoto and his team had created an icon comparable with the Alien series’ Ellen Ripley.
Sure, it might have been shocking like finding your old man rocking your mum’s most unflattering floral skirt. But 23 years and 12 (mostly amazing) titles later, we wouldn’t have our favourite bounty hunter do anything other than representing the virtual XX chromosome in the most ass-kicking fashion possible.