Metroid: How Did NES Gamers React to Learning Samus Aran is a Woman?

Still, the debate over Samus’ design has only gotten more heated in the years since her reveal. See, there are some who feel that Nintendo has tried to make Samus more “feminine” over the years in terms of her physical attributes. While there’s a much more complicated discussion to be had regarding that topic, a quick look at this drawing of Samus that was first published in a Super Metroid guide and this render of “Zero Suit” Samus as she appears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does suggest that Samus’ design has at least been altered over the years:

Super Metroid Samus Zero Suit Samus

The real reason I bring this up, though, is to highlight how important it is to remember that Metroid‘s ending wasn’t the end of the conversation about the reveal that Samus Aran is a woman.

The Legacy of Metroid’s Ending Has Been Slowly Written by Various Fans Over Many Years

I can’t say what your individual reaction was to learning Samus was a woman or even when you learned about it. If you take nothing else away from this article, let it be that people actually learned that information at different times and had vastly different reactions to it.

There’s one group I haven’t talked about a lot yet, though, and that’s the group who saw that Samus was a woman and felt either a sense of pride or simply enjoyed that there was a different kind of Nintendo character/video game action star out there. 

Well, while I honestly couldn’t find a lot of incredibly enthusiastic reactions to this reveal that were published at the time (though I’d love it if anyone who may have access to those reactions could share them with me), that doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. Not only are there many gamers who will tell you they had that exact reaction, but the fact that the Metroid ending has become this culturally significant part of gaming history over the years is due in no small part to the idea that most people eventually embraced it as such.

Maybe the initial reaction to learning Samus is a woman was more complicated than it’s sometimes believed to be, but initial reactions are just that: reactions. They’re quickly rendered responses that we often talk about because we want to relive the joy, terror, and shock we felt at those moments long after our own reactions have passed. In this case, though, fans initially expressed reactions of confusion, surprise, anger, joy, indifference, and more. It’s easy to retroactively apply a narrative regarding how such pop culture moments were perceived, but as is usually the case, the truth isn’t quite so simple.

Leave a Comment