The 6 Best Video Game Princesses of All Time

There have been tales about daring heroes rescuing pretty princesses for as long as there have been stories to tell. And classic though the trope may be, we’ve moved away from the idea of princesses as helpless and agentless plot devices. Princesses are no longer just a way to highlight how strong the hero is or how dastardly the villain is.

Instead, the princess can now be the hero or even a powerful ally to fight by the hero’s side and defeat the big bad. This is especially true in video games, where the whole point of the adventure is to keep moving forward! Some of gaming’s biggest franchises have a princess at the ready to face the action and save the day. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Kairi – Kingdom Hearts

Granted, being a Princess of Heart doesn’t mean she’s the heir to any sort of throne. But Princess is right there in her title though, so Kairi gets in on a technicality. Her screen time in the Kingdom Hearts franchise has been low considering what an important role she plays in the series, and she spent most of it playing the damsel in distress.

However, Kingdom Hearts 3, its Re Mind DLC, and Melody of Memory all lay the groundwork for Kairi taking a more active role in the series moving forward though. With the announcement that Kingdom Hearts 4 is officially in development during the series’ 20th anniversary celebration in August, fans might not have to wait too much longer to see if Kairi’s finally going to get the chance to get in on the action alongside Riku and Sora.

Kitana – Mortal Kombat

One of the most popular and most recognizable characters in Mortal Kombat and maybe all of video gaming, Kitana has been kicking ass and taking names for almost 30 years. At one time a loyal assassin to Outworld dictator Shao Kahn, Kitana has since joined Raiden as a defender of Earthrealm and, for a time, united the peoples of Outworld as Kahn herself.

Time certainly hasn’t lessened her appeal. After three decades, she’s still guaranteed to be on any flavor of popular video game characters list and remains one of the most popular characters to cosplay. Considering the way MK11 ended, it will be interesting to see what NetherRealm Studios has in store for her as the series moves forward.

Cirilla – The Witcher

Ciri, like Kitana, spends more time wielding a blade than wearing a tiara, but she is still the princess of Cintra in The Witcher series. She has a rough life despite her royal beginnings: Her parents die by the time she’s 5, her kingdom falls, and she is forced to go on the run by the time she’s 10. That’s why she spends the remainder of her youth training for a life of hunting and slaying the most dangerous monsters in the world.

Luckily she has Geralt, her adoptive father and protagonist of the Witcher series, to guide and watch over her. Ciri also possesses powerful magic thanks to her bloodline. The sorceresses Triss and Yennefer teach her to control and understand this magic, so she’s certainly not a helpless damsel.

The Netflix Witcher show has made Ciri recognizable to a wider audience than ever before, and some fans of the games are keeping their fingers crossed that CD Projekt Red’s next Witcher game might make Ciri the series’ new protagonist.

Garnet – Final Fantasy IX

The ninth entry in the iconic Final Fantasy series abandons the relatively modern settings of the previous three titles to return to medieval times. So obviously, the story had to have a princess.

Garnet isn’t actually Queen Brahne’s daughter, thus she isn’t technically the heir to the throne of Alexandria. But Garnet takes protecting her kingdom and all its inhabitants seriously, and resolves to use her powers as a summoner to do just that. She uses the alias Dagger while she’s traveling the world with Zidane and the rest of the party as she learns how to be a more assertive and self-assured person. She still struggles after she becomes queen, at one point suffering from guilt so intense after the annihilation of her kingdom that it renders her mute, but she always pulls through in the end.

An animated adaptation of Final Fantasy IX was announced in 2021, but there’s been little word on the project since then. A fanmade FF9 Remake Project has been keeping fans’ interest piqued as well. Either project will definitely introduce Garnet to a whole new audience more than 20 years after her first appearance in the franchise.

Princess Peach – Super Mario Bros.

Whip out your parasols and grab a toadstool! Princess Peach is another of gaming’s most recognizable characters. Since 1985, Peach has ruled over the Mushroom Kingdom and depended on Mario to help her escape Bowser’s clutches. But she’s had her own adventures too and has even had her own go at being the savior, rescuing Mario, Luigi, and her loyal Toad from Bowser in Super Princess Peach.

Peach has also been a popular playable character everywhere from Mario Kart Racing to Super Smash Bros. and she will even be in the 2023 film adaptation played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Looks like her 37-year reign won’t be ending any time soon.

Princes Zelda – The Legend of Zelda

Only a year younger than Peach but just as popular (if not more so!), Princess Zelda is the namesake of one of the most iconic franchises in gaming history: The Legend of Zelda. Like Peach, she plays the damsel in distress in a number of titles, but she’s no stranger to doing some legwork on her own. Her pirate captain persona Tetra is an ally of Link’s in The Wind Waker, while her most well known alter ego Sheik aids him during the events of Ocarina of Time.

Zelda’s popularity over the years continues to grow, and fans have been waiting for the princess to serve as the protagonist in the series that bears her name. With Breath of the Wild’s sequel Tears of the Kingdom on the horizon, it’s hard not to hope that this time maybe Zelda will get to fight for Hyrule right alongside Link.

Which video game princess is your favorite? Tell us over in our Atomic Misfits Facebook Group, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!