'Metroid' (1986-2010)

Sure, this is predictable. But what else can we do? She's got every trait of a true heroine, and she's one of the least sexualized female characters in games. She was paving the way for female protagonists when character sprites were still made of a few dozen pixels. And she bucked gender stereotypes—of course the space-faring bounty hunter is a guy!—long before Peach and Zelda ever shook off their damsel-in-distress personas. Samus was the original badass heroine of video games, and for that we salute her.