174: What if the Player is Black?

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
What if the Player is Black?

Have you ever felt game worlds might be just a little ... whitewashed? Brenda Brathwaite asks the question that all game developers should be asking themselves.

Read Full Article
 

corporate_gamer

New member
Apr 17, 2008
514
0
0
wasn't the main character of gta: san andreas spending most his time trying to get away from the ghetto and live the good life? And didnt he actively complain about all the violent shenigans he got into throughout the story? And wasn't the Grove street familys anti-drugs? Having said that, the rest of them were the worst of the black sterotypes and i can't think of any other black characters that were remotely positive.
 

aegis7

New member
Jun 20, 2007
55
0
0
I found this article to be a very articulate and understandable discussion of race and minority status. Kudos, you are probably a very good role model for your children.
 

Dom Camus

New member
Sep 8, 2006
195
0
0
And all the other underrepresented ethnicities and social groups too, please!

Messing around with the character creator in Soul Calibur IV for the first time, I created a very cool fighter. Drag the physique down to minimum, remove the hooker kit in favour of real clothes and steal the fighting style from one of the boys - the results aren't bad at all. Add a stylish hat and play with the clothing colours a bit. Add a pair of round spectacles and you start to get a real sense of character. Then mess with the face and voice...

...which is where the problems start. I have a choice of eight faces for the warrior I've just made. The young lady can look like any of seven pretty, slim, young white girls. Or I can go for the other option: a slightly ugly looking white girl (still with perfect skin and symmetric features - she's just sporting a mild scowl).

So I picked one who actually looked old enough that her parents wouldn't have to give her a lift to the battle. Then tried messing with the colour slider. Sure enough, anything darker than a gentle suntan looked really quite weird.

So here's the thing: Black characters aren't just for black players. And particularly now so many character faces are scanned in, there's really no excuse for developers not to add a bit of diversity.
 

beddo

New member
Dec 12, 2007
1,545
0
0
What if the player is male?

These stereotypes apply to most people. Video games tend to be very sexist towards men, almost misandrist in some respects.

Men in games are often depicted as violent, mindless criminal, oppressive thugs. It seems to be acceptable to have men as targets in games but not women.
 

rossatdi

New member
Aug 27, 2008
2,493
0
0
Unreal 2. Protagonist is black. Never is an issue, he's just another badass space marine. Why can't that be the way forward?
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
First of all, why turn from black to African-American... That generalization made the point too remote for me for half of the text... let me explain :

If a character is from the French West Indies, can you call him African-American ?
I don't think so... why so afraid of saying black, when it's a general observation ?
I know it's different shades of brown (especially when races are mixed), but still...

Now I'm white, I have heard black people from former colonies argue about who has the most white blood in their veins (PROTIP : there are several "hierarchical" types of mixing, and they are considered sometimes with great pride). I like stereotypes as I make fun of them... I understand the concern, but I'd just like to point out that confusing blacks and African-American is as awkward to me as having blacks act as powerhouse sidekicks.

Anyway... GTA San Andreas features a black character who can dress his hair how he wants if my memory's good, well ok he heats fried chikinz to regain health and says nigga, fool and ***** all the time, and mine looks like Mr.T, but let's overlook that...
It goes even further when playing both Saints Row, right ? Well, ok your boss in the first one is a kinda clone of Samuel "MOTHERFUCKING" L. Jackson, but still as well...
At least he's bald (Renwick too in The Club, and he's a cop, but since The Club characters have no personality, I'll overlook it).

How about Coltrane from Getting Up ? He's apparently a mulatto, and not really dressed like a black panther/gansta stereotype.

Now I guess black characters in video games are such stereotypes partly because a lot of "ghetto" buy these games, video games wallow in subcultures and are tainted by them... So that they make surefire sales to their "target demographic".
Def Jam, 50 Cent and "Gangsta games" all appeal to the wifebeater-baggies-and-bandana-clad "nizzles" with speakers blaring obnouxious, loud, lewd, prosaic hip-hop.
I'm sure Soulja Boi is very proud of dressing up his character as himself in Def Jam Icon or in Vendetta, and he wouldn't like to dress like a "normal character", maybe like Samuel L. Jackson at best...

About Soulcalibur 4 and Japanese games in general, they portray themselves as white-skinned, not "yellowish", with caucasian features (wide eyes, angular noses) and as such black characters are even scarcer, as far as I can tell... I suppose it's because white characters are more "physically neutral" or something, or maybe the fact that the main demographic for a long time were rich white people, I have no idea... Also maybe because lots of Asians dream of having said caucasian features...

IRONY : the only place where the white man still reigns supreme is in the virtual worlds of video games. Let all the white-trash losers still dream they rule over something... On second thoughts, let God sort them out...

rosstadi> Apparently because Americanspeople (I guess ?) see everything as a political and ethnical issue, and everything must be community approved (that's why there are sitcoms for blacks, latinos, whites, etc)...
I'm being very harsh here, but to me it has no matter at all if my in-game nemesis is Jewish, Black, Aryan or Mexican, he's my enemy, I defeat him, and I don't care either about who I play, as long as the story's good, it shouldn't matter, unless you want to turn games into cultural manifestos for tolerance and understanding which will ruin any fun (I doubt Assassin's Creed's pre-intro disclaimer helped anything except make me feel like they were afraid of getting massively sued for libel or whatever)...
Seems like taboos and revendications prevail whatsoever...
 

gains

New member
Jan 8, 2008
98
0
0
I was thinking of the "Cole Train" too while reading the article, but the advertisement with Marcus on it reminded me that everyone in that game is a brutal jackass. Cole's most distinctive feature, apart from his skin tone and accent, is that he was a professional athlete, while everyone else must have started on their steroid injections in boot camp. So the black character is the sportsman. Is that a compliment or an stereotyped insult?

Also, I don't think Dom "acts" Hispanic or Kim "acts" Asian. Why do we now have Tai Kaliso, the zen-and-the-art-of-shooting-up-sh*t samurai? The new writers are taking a big step backwards with that one.

EDIT I don't mean to bag on the game itself. I'm still going to get it because it's the best co-op I can get online with my brothers. I just think the "story" and characterizations are weak at best.


Plus, two women: Dom's imperiled "Locust ate my baby!" wife and Anya, the waifly comm tech. That's all. I suppose in the grim future they must be busy squirting out kids so there's fresh meat for the Locust's grinder.
 

PedroSteckecilo

Mexican Fugitive
Feb 7, 2008
6,283
0
0
I do agree, we mostly just need "better" depictions of black characters in games. Hell, we need a black lead character for once that isn't a nasty stereotype like CJ from GTA:SA.

A good way to put it is where is our black Solid Snake?

There are plenty of interesting white characters out there, hell, there are plenty of good asian characters out there. There have even been 2 decent hispanic characters protrayed recently (Dom and the guy from Just Cause).

I suppose the best Black character would be that guy from Mercenaries, and I don't even remember his name.
 

Goronmon

New member
Aug 31, 2006
11
0
0
Article said:
I paused to wonder, "Where are all the great and powerful black wizards?"
Garth in Fable 2 is a great and powerful black "wizard". Though, I think he does have corn rows, so he isn't perfect.
 

TheBlackKnight

ESEY on the Kross
Nov 3, 2008
170
0
0
Alyx and Eli Vance (her dad) from HL2 are good characters, though I cannot tell if they are "good black characters". At least Alyx was voiced by a black Woman. Dunno about Eli.
 

Hirvox

New member
Feb 4, 2008
27
0
0
The Half-Life series has Eli Vance, an accomplished scientist and his daughter, Alyx Vance. Alyx is also one of the few well-rounded female characters out there. Granted, they aren't main characters, but generally the player is glad to have them around. Usually, it's Alyx that's doing the rescuing, not the player.
 

mikekearn

Erudite Loquaciousness
Aug 27, 2008
70
0
0
I think Fallout 3 has a good exception to this. In the main town of Megaton, the sheriff is Lucas Simms, a do-gooder black man. Though since he always wears that cowboy hat, I don't know what his hair is. There is also Walter, a much older guy with white hair, but in a regular style, nothing weird. He keeps the whole town's water supply running.

Almost as an opposition to that, is the bar owner Moriarty who is an Irish white guy and total arrogant jerk. The other bar in town is run by brothers, both white, one of whom is a drug addict!

Having not played the entire game yet, I can't say much to what else lies in the main quest, but that first town and the encounters therein really stuck in my mind.

Oh, and there is also a woman who runs the general store, and has a big quest line trying to make a guide to help everyone - she's not a trumped up tart for eye candy.
 

arrr_matey

New member
Oct 26, 2006
68
0
0
Someone ought to make a game based on Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea books, where all of the main characters, including the wizards, are not white. It was pretty terrible that when the Sci-Fi channel made a mini-series about Earthsea they changed all the characters to being white. Awful.

I'm going to point the finger at the moneymen for the lack of diverse characters in gaming. I don't think they're racist or anything, but their thinking is "Will this game reach a big enough audience if the main character is black?" Ultimately, producers and financiers are very conservative-thinking. They don't want to rock the boat, so they go with what is safe... white characters. They don't think enough white people would play a game starring a black man, just how they didn't think enough white people would watch an Earthsea mini-series starring a cast of non-whites.

I think they underestimate people, though. Make a good game and no one is going to care about the race of the main character.
 

Hirvox

New member
Feb 4, 2008
27
0
0
arrr_matey said:
Someone ought to make a game based on Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea books, where all of the main characters, including the wizards, are not white. It was pretty terrible that when the Sci-Fi channel made a mini-series about Earthsea they changed all the characters to being white. Awful.
The Studio Ghibli remake had the same flaw.

arrr_matey said:
I think they underestimate people, though. Make a good game and no one is going to care about the race of the main character.
Indeed. One of the distinguishing features of a good character is that he/she/it is not one-dimensional. TV and movies partially got over their "token black" syndrome. Hopefully games will be next.
 

NolaSoundman

New member
Nov 4, 2008
7
0
0
A very good and well thought out article. While reading it, I too had to think hard about positive black characters I've seen in the last 20 years of gaming. The list is embarrassingly short. But yes, Eli and Alyx Vance are excellent examples (even though they're NPC's). But think about it, some of our favorite games and series have had all white casts: Resident Evil, Call Of Duty, Medal Of Honor (how about a WWII game about the Tuskegee Airmen or the 92nd Infantry in Italy?), Metal Gear Solid (Drebin does NOT count), Castlevania (that one may spark some argument, but come on, how many characters have they introduced in this series?).... The list is longer than you might think. Definitely needs more discussion...great article!
 

Vortigar

New member
Nov 8, 2007
716
0
0
Many of the games mentioned are also Japanese by the way and thus rely heavily on stereotypes, they do this with all characters.

I've had this discussion on the VFDC boards as well because of Vanessa (check the changes between her VF4 and VF5 incarnation, she goes from black chick with muscles to tanned girl who exercises regularly with boob job). It really is a sad reality of this industry.

You've got me thinking of others who haven't been mentioned yet:

Vanessa Lewis, Virtua Fighter,
Now if only they hadn't copied Storm and given her white hair... But yeah, she fights because she wants to destroy the evil organisation that organises the tournaments and to protect Sarah Bryant for some reason. She's one of the few of the entire VF cast who isn't in it for either evil (kill other characters) or completely self-centered reasons (money, fame, excitement, self-worth, quest for enlightment), practically the closest thing to a hero in there together with Jacky and perhaps Kage. She suffers from amnesia and her origins are unknown, she was picked up and trained by a brazilian mercenary, which casts severe doubts on her actual ethnicity. Her original VF4 incarnation is unmistakable though.

Seth - King of Fighters
Zero - King of Fighters
Boxer dude - King of Fighters, his name escapes me, total typecast
Dudley - Street fighter 3, english gentleman boxer type, "let's fight like gentlemen" but he's also black
Potemkin - Guilty Gear
Venom - Guilty Gear undecided, probably hispanic, either way he's an openly gay assassin with semi-dark skin, which is a bit of a deviation from the norm
Birdie - SFAlpha/Zero (ahem)

The capoeira club:
Lisa Mariposa - Dead or Alive
Eddie Gordo, Christie Monteiro - Tekken
Elena - Street Fighter 3

Seems I can only come up with fighting games...
 

NolaSoundman

New member
Nov 4, 2008
7
0
0
Eli was voiced by Robert Guillaume, most famous for his portrayal of Benson DuBois in the TV show "Benson". So yes, Eli was voiced by a black man...
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
Vortigar said:
Vanessa Lewis, Virtua Fighter,
Now if only they hadn't copied Storm and given her white hair... But yeah, she fights because she wants to destroy the evil organisation that organises the tournaments and to protect Sarah Bryant for some reason. She's one of the few of the entire VF cast who isn't in it for either evil (kill other characters) or completely self-centered reasons (money, fame, excitement, self-worth, quest for enlightment), practically the closest thing to a hero in there together with Jacky and perhaps Kage. She suffers from amnesia and her origins are unknown, she was picked up and trained by a brazilian mercenary, which casts severe doubts on her actual ethnicity. Her original VF4 incarnation is unmistakable though.

Seth - King of Fighters
Zero - King of Fighters
Boxer dude - King of Fighters, his name escapes me, total typecast
Dudley - Street fighter 3, english gentleman boxer type, "let's fight like gentlemen" but he's also black
Potemkin - Guilty Gear
Venom - Guilty Gear undecided, probably hispanic, either way he's an openly gay assassin with semi-dark skin, which is a bit of a deviation from the norm
Birdie - SFAlpha/Zero (ahem)

The capoeira club:
Lisa Mariposa - Dead or Alive
Eddie Gordo, Christie Monteiro - Tekken
Elena - Street Fighter 3

Seems I can only come up with fighting games...
Vanessa, like Christie, always made me think of a girl with mixed ancestry more than a "pure" black girl.
I thought Mariposa was Mexican, and as such, not black (hispanics, even when mixed with amerindian ancestry are closely related to whites (arabs too) in terms of ethnic ancestry).

Birdie was already obnoxious in the original SF, but I think he was whiter.

Potemkin is more "tanned", in "cooked by toiling under the sun" than really ethnic, isn't he ?

Heady D (your boxer dude) and Lucky Glauber (basketball player) from KoF are slightly stereotyped too.

Original Zero is tan, not black, he is clearly a heavily tanned caucasian.

Elena is Kenyan, and what I like is thatshe is a "giraffe-woman" (that's how it's called in French). Not that it's exactly beautiful to me, but it's less common in terms of stereotypes, and makes for a rather uncommon depiction of blacks in games (she's a Kenyan princess, that makes for another narrow view of things, but it passes well methinks).

You forgot Sean from SFIII, who's clearly black, while Brazilian as well.

Urien is not black, he is a dark-skinned caucasian (maybe of mixed arabian blood ? Kabyles in Algeria have natural blue eyes and natural blond hair).
 

MorkFromOrk

New member
Sep 9, 2007
86
0
0
You know we still have tokenism in TV commercials and shows. Hard to believe in this day and age but it's true. Aside from Black representation in video games what about a decent Asian lead or how about a Latin American lead woman who is fully clothed. I wonder how popular Prince of Persia would be if people knew that Persia is now Iran.
 

handshakes

New member
Sep 18, 2008
1
0
0
I don't quite understand why some people think that the Cole Train from Gears is somehow racist and wrong. I can't think of a black videogame character that is more accepted and loved by the gaming community at large than Cole, how can that be a bad thing? By the by, "most black characters tend to be prone to violence and opposed to any course of action that requires patience or critical thinking skills"? Name me one character in Gears of War who isn't quick to violence.

Fable 2 has a black will user, hmm... So far so good. Oh wait, nope, he has cornrows. Damn, automatic disqualification.

Also, I don't recall the Italian uproar over The Darkness which forced you to play as a lumbering, ex-mafia hitman and complete dolt who relates more than one life experience to pasta and meatballs.

The point is that if you are looking for something to offend you, you will probably be able to find it. Developers should just make cool characters, and whether or not they are black, white or asian should be incidental.
 

atr_23

New member
Nov 4, 2008
2
0
0
At least in western europe, i think the flaw affects all media... it is a pity that even in wide spread WoW you can only play über-tanned white heroines and heroes... maybe we have to wait for a stabilization in africa etc. to get games where we feel underrepresented...
 

jemborg

New member
Oct 10, 2008
118
0
0
What? Try, Michael LeRoi, a former English literature student made into the Shadow Man. 1999!! See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Man_(video_game)
It has a sequel too. Based on the comics. This game has Caribbean connections also- so you kid just might find his dad look-alike here.

Here's a question: WHAT IF THE PLAYER IS NOT AMERICAN?

I doubt this idea ever occurs to people of the USA as as they seem phobic or completely incapable of imagining a world with any other kind of protagonists in it. Movies, hah! How many movies are made in my country or next store in NZ that HAVE to have fake American accents in it so Americans won't freak out watching them or even go?

Americans obsess over "race" like no other country I know of- one doco I watched postulated it was because of the conflict between the new constitution and the reality of continued slavery. How about the human race? The refugees in my neighbourhood from war-torn African nations are far darker in skin tone (and satin-like) than any African-Americans I've seen. And they will pick differences between someone from Nigeria and Burundi. I have never had any grief from these people btw. You might get over the the notion that the human race is classified into only Caucasian, Asian or Negro (and American). Created by separation and a need to balance vitamin D production against sunburn, there are far more types in the world and we all came from the same place.
 

Robyrt

New member
Aug 1, 2008
422
0
0
While the article raises a valid point, it misses the larger message: that video games aggressively employ stereotypes instead of creating real characters, no matter where they come from. I don't think every game needs a black character. (Or a white character, for that matter.)

Looking at the proportional representation is only good for a quick surface check. Cole from Gears of War is a good example: he's one-dimensional, but compared to his white comrades, he's Denzel Washington, so it's hard to come down for Epic on this. By contrast, Fahrenheit has an intricate story involving a bunch of normal white people and basketball-loving Superfly Johnson... 'nuff said.

I would also like to note that Rock Band's character creator allows for convincing black people as well as stereotypes.
 
Feb 13, 2008
15,001
0
0
MorkFromOrk said:
You know we still have tokenism in TV commercials and shows. Hard to believe in this day and age but it's true. Aside from Black representation in video games what about a decent Asian lead or how about a Latin American lead woman who is fully clothed. I wonder how popular Prince of Persia would be if people knew that Persia is now Iran.
An English man who didn't speak Cockney would be quite pleasant as well, innit.

BTW, is that Commander Link Hog-throb?
 

PedroSteckecilo

Mexican Fugitive
Feb 7, 2008
6,283
0
0
I don't think "created" characters count, because they are just that, created by the player. As well custom made characters rarely come across as "characters" and clearly resemble avatars instead.
 

Eilanis

New member
Mar 14, 2008
16
0
0
Someone already mentioned it, but Eli Vance and his daughter are good examples of black protagonists. Eli Vance, for example, is one of my favorite characters from a game. There have been few games in which I found myself shouting at a game for killing a beloved character, Eli being one of them (sorry to spoil Ep2, but it has been out long enough).

Staff Sergeant Griggs from Call of Duty 4 can be stereotyped with the bad-ass, violent, hip-hop driven African American, but he's more than that. He's patriotic, he works well with others, he wants to make sure that his country and the world is safe from a lunatic, and ultimately gives his life to serve that cause.

How about Prophet from Crysis? A strong leader that favors stealth and subtlety over direct assault unlike the aptly-named Psycho. A leader who struggles between discretion and honestly with Raptor Team. Sure, he goes a bit off the rocker towards the end, but that has more to do with what happened to him, not who he was.

Three recent games with strong black males as characters, one with a portrayal of an intelligent, strong-willed black female to boot. The article brings up a good point, but many of the games that the author mentions are poor examples.
 

GloatingSwine

New member
Nov 10, 2007
3,939
0
0
Cyclomega said:
I thought Mariposa was Mexican, and as such, not black (hispanics, even when mixed with amerindian ancestry are closely related to whites (arabs too) in terms of ethnic ancestry).
It's really hard to determine, given that no-one in Dead or Alive is anywhere near phenotypically normal, but she looks more black/white mixed race than mexican. The only mexican connection is that she's a Luchadora.

Cole from Gears of War is a good example:
Cole is Terry Tate, Office Linebacker with a gun. Literally.
 

NewClassic_v1legacy

Bringer of Words
Jul 30, 2008
2,295
0
0
I agree with a lot of what the article is saying here, but there's something to consider here that hasn't really been stated.

Go to your local mall, and walk into your local Foot Locker, or sports-shoe store. Count the people who come in, make mental notes of the ratios of the races of the people that walk in. If it's anything like it is here, these stores are way more Black to in ratio.

Now consider communities, like the people you see in BET music videos and the democraphics who buy and empathize with games like True Crime: New York and 50 Cent: Bullet Proof. Even in San Andreas, there are large groups that can empathize with Grove Street.

People who aspire to be like Julius in Saints Row, whose repertoire for plurals is pretty limited to "playas," "homeys," and "gangstas." Even in my experience in the 'black-hating south,' there are many, many people in that demographic that also play games.

Just look at shows like The Boondocks, which constantly satirize the culture, but it is celebrated and loved, universally, and without hatred for the heavy and blatant satire of their culture and hobbies. Insults that would earn me two black eyes for attempting the same statements.

Although, I'd also like to point out that if you look hard enough for wrong, you'll find it, no matter where you're looking. To provide another example, once again using Saints Row, the most violent, sociopathic killer in the series is a white guy named Johnny.

I agree for the most part, but don't be afraid to call forth some praise to the people that did it "right." Games like The Sims, KoToR, and Saints Row.

Also, consider people who like things like that, and how games like Def Jam, Fiddy Cent's Bul'tproof, and San Andreas, and how they feel at home and completely empathetic with those characters. To suggest people like that don't count is just as racist as suggesting people like yourself don't exist.

Decent read, but a little too biased for me to go on without saying something.
 

PieMaker

New member
Oct 7, 2008
75
0
0
The_root_of_all_evil said:
Guild Wars : Nightfall. It's even set in a fantasy Africa.
I was just about to say that.

On a general note, Guild Wars also has a wide range of character customization. It does not stereotype character by the color of the skin (even though the fro is available to use on your character).
 

Aeranlaes

New member
Jul 27, 2008
17
0
0
Neat article, although I prefer 'black' to what I see as the anally-pc 'African American.' I realize it's more sensitive, but it's contrary to logic in some scenarios. Like if you met a black Briton; he wouldn't be American, would he?
 

VanishedOne

New member
Oct 9, 2007
6
0
0
No mention yet for Darci Stern (Urban Chaos)?

I read (somewhere; I'm working from memory) that one of the people who worked on the game thought it failed to sell well because of the premise: playing as a black, female, rookie cop, etc. Maybe the implication is that a white lead is a commercially 'safer' choice when you're trying to innovate in other respects.
 

Chaos Marine

New member
Feb 6, 2008
443
0
0
Wasn't one of those Vietnam shooters, I can't think of the name, one of the first games to sport a main character who was black and part of the story was centred around the fact that he was black during a time when racism was far more widely accepted. I've never played the game so I don't really know how it is.
 

Littaly

New member
Jun 26, 2008
1,351
0
0
Isn't Barret more than a hotheaded muscular black guy? From what I recall he showed a lot of emotion and care for his family as well, even though he wasn't maybe the most politically correct character he was not the least either.
 

SerbianWolf

New member
Oct 26, 2008
4
0
0
Fable 2 has a very introspective african-american named Garth that is one example against the over-violent stereotype. He's neutral and thoughtful and a breath of fresh air in the game.
 

MrGFunk

New member
Oct 29, 2008
1,251
0
0
Personally, as long as the character in the game suits the game, I don't care what colour they are.
I mean if at the end of Half Life if there was a mirror and you found out Gordon Freeman was white would it have changed the game.

And I'm pretty sure TJ Combo pulled a gun and shot the loser because he's badass not because he's black.

I do think it's sad that her son couldn't make a character like his Dad. Ouch.
 

nullunit

New member
Sep 19, 2008
1
0
0
aBlackKnight said:
Alyx and Eli Vance (her dad) from HL2 are good characters, though I cannot tell if they are "good black characters". At least Alyx was voiced by a black Woman. Dunno about Eli.
Eli Vance is voiced by Robert Guillame, a black actor who has been around for years and years. Voice for the baboon shaman in Lion King and lead actor in the TV show Benson. He has fantastic range; a great actor.

I think Half Life 2 is one of the only times where I have seen black people portrayed not so much positively but normally. Something which is overlooked sometimes is that in games pretty much everyone is a stereotype. But becasue of the lack of opportunity available to people of color the list of archetypal or stereotypical roles are much more limited and often negative.

Just my point of view as a "black" gamer.
 

ReverseEngineered

Raving Lunatic
Apr 30, 2008
412
0
0
While I myself am the epitome of the typical American (white, male, middle-classed, mildly obese, and from Canada), I can certainly relate to the feeling of not being able to relate to characters. If a character is young, he is angsty and rebellious. If he's intelligent, he's socially-inept. It he's a she, she's wearing less clothing than a supermodel on the beach.

Myself? I'm a nerd. Well, in the sense that I have two university degrees and am currently employed as a programmer. I'm not socially-inept, nor do I have acne, wear glasses, and have a nasally voice. Can I relate to the nerd in any game, movie, or book? Generally not.

In contrast, I'm also fat, like over 50% of the American population. Even for stereotypes that are typically heavy, I've seen very few obese characters. Even worse than the token black man, there's the token fat man -- his entire purpose for being is to be laughed at for his obesity.

Of all the places I expected to be able to make a fat character, Rock Band really disappointed. I could adjust the slider between twig and bodybuilder, but nowhere in there was the big drummer. The only character harder to make than Tupac Shakur is Notorious B.I.G. And trying to recreate The Blues Brothers? Forget it.


The truth is that our media -- and video games in particular -- rely heavily on stereotypes for all of their characters. Maybe it's to make them familiar and recognizable, or maybe it's a lack of creativity. The excuse is often that it's supposed to be fantasy, but I fantasize about myself being a drummer, not something that looks like Steven Tyler.

In their defense, could you imagine making character customization that allowed for every type of facial structure, hair style, and accent in existance? It's not going to happen. The fact that we have black people and British accents is a already a large step towards customization -- integrating every nuance of facial structure, accent, and vocabulary would be a game in and of itself. If a game takes itself so seriously on character customization, how much time did they spend on the rest of it?
 

A Concerned Citizen

New member
Nov 4, 2008
1
0
0
The problem with thinking like this is that the same applies for every single minority, as she herself even mentions on the first page, offhandedly "what if the player is female". So every character in every game is a racial stereotype, who cares? I don't pick up an avatar game expecting to find a character looking like me, that's selfish. The sheer costs alone to trying to create a system that would all-encompass every person on earth would be somewhere near the budget of a motion picture no doubt. And when you start playing less popular games, developers have even less money to spend; being politically correct should be their last concern. Just make a good game so I get my money's worth, that's all I ask. Not "what if the player is a troglodite".

And how come nobody is mentioning Cole?!?!?! It's the Cole train, baby!
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
Great article. I heard Russel Peters, Canadian comedian, do a similar joke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sshAhLPuV_I this makes me laugh every time I see it, and its so true!!
 

Sparcrypt

New member
Oct 17, 2007
177
0
0
Just on the note of character creation.. it's nothing to do with being black, brown, whatever - it's more that these character creation utilities are useless.

I'm about 6 feet tall, white, short brown hair, brown eyes with fairly large shoulders and a solid build. Perfect! You might say, every hero in every game must look exactly like you!

I have never, *never*, been able to get an in game character to look like me. Oh sure, I can pick ones that have the same basic features... but they never look anything like me. The closest I ever got was in fight night round 3, as the boxers all seemed to share my build. But still.. noone was going to look at it and go "Oh hey thats Spar!"

Now.. a friend of mine. Smaller build, darker skin (he's not black/brown, I'm just very white) with otherwise similar features. He can get damn near any custom character to look like him easily. In fact, *I* can get them to look like him.

So yeah... nothing really to do with being black/white/brown/whatever. You're certainly not alone in being unable to bring yourself out in a character.

Now stereotypes... thats another issue I don't have the time to talk on so much, though in general they annoy me, particularly female characters who can't keep thier clothes on.
 

Sparcrypt

New member
Oct 17, 2007
177
0
0
ReverseEngineered said:
In contrast, I'm also fat, like over 50% of the American population. Even for stereotypes that are typically heavy, I've seen very few obese characters. Even worse than the token black man, there's the token fat man -- his entire purpose for being is to be laughed at for his obesity.
Another quick note - I the reason for this is pretty simple. In general, people want to make a character that looks like them.. but cooler. And lets face it: there are few people who want to be fat. Some people might be ok with it, not be that bothered, but if you had a chance to drop all excess weight tomorrow, no strings attached, would you do it?

I personally used to weigh in at 107kgs. In the last 18 months I've dropped down to about 80kgs, so I know what I'm talking about in this regard - even if you're OK with your weight, you still don't WANT it. I guess there are those out there who don't agree with me, but remember things like character customisation have to be aimed at the majority of the target audience.

That said, the option should be there, but I can see why it would be pushed to the back of the developers lists of things to do.
 

SenseOfTumour

New member
Jul 11, 2008
3,263
0
0
Srtangely enough, I'm a white overweight guy, and the one game that allowed me to look like me, and yet, somehow still kinda cool...was...

Def Jam - Fight for New York.

Weird how a game which is mainly black people, and hanging off of rap culture,if the one to make a fat white guy feel like a hero.

I find a lot of sports games allow you to go black and make it irrelevant however, also another vote for HL2 for having black characters who could have been white, its not part of the story, there's no need for them to do anything 'black', they just are.

Same goes for the Unreal games, white, black, asian, Skaarj, robot, doesn't matter, still gonna take a rocket to the head!

Also, no-one mentioned TF2!

How about this , a black Demoman, and the stereotype is that he's a scottish alcoholic!
 

skakashijutsu

New member
Feb 26, 2008
65
0
0
Brenda Brathwaite said:
What if the Player is Black?

Have you ever felt game worlds might be just a little ... whitewashed? Brenda Brathwaite asks the question that all game developers should be asking themselves.

Read Full Article
True dat, true dat. I always feel that the games are extrremely dumb, because I know that no black person on God's green earth would ever do the things the tinted main characters do. Nor do they ever sound like black guys.
 

Drift-Bus

New member
Sep 17, 2008
93
0
0
It was good excpet for the whole "black guy with white hair, blarblarblar white people are the leaders etc"

I've not seen one video game character properly represent me in a video game, and I'm as white as they come.

Stereotypes come about for a reason, so giving a black protaginist corn rows is because they are a part of black culture, and henceforth have become stereotypes.

But really, who cares? I don't mind when someone calls a hypothetical "she" instead of "he", I don't care if a main character is black or white (I don't feel left out if their black), so why should anyone.

By constantly pointing out the problems of being underrepesented in media and pop culture, your just perpetuating the problem. Move on, chill out and get over it. Same for women. Just relax, not every action is pro/anti feminist or minority, sometimes it's just a video game character.
 

Drift-Bus

New member
Sep 17, 2008
93
0
0
As opposed to every asain being a ninja ala Ninja Gaiden, every white guy being a super criminal ala GTA 3, Vice City, Saints Row, every white guy being super human ala Oblivion, or every bear being a antropmorphic adventurer with a samrt bird side kick ala Banjo Kazooie



Really, think about it...
 

Grubnar

New member
Aug 25, 2008
188
0
0
Director Nwabudike Morgan of Morgan Industries.

From the game Alpha Centauri by Firaxis Games. It is basicly Civilication in space.

http://www.firaxis.com/smac/morgan.cfm
 

Majere613

New member
Sep 17, 2008
21
0
0
I always thought that Barret in FFVII was trying to be Mr T, but there you go :)
It's a bit daft to criticise characters like Cole, TJ Combo or Eddie Gordo for being 'quick to use violence' considering the games they're in. All the fighters in a fighting game tend to, er, fight a lot, that's sort of the point.
Interesting that RE5 didn't come up here, plenty of black folk there even if most of them are killer zombies, but Shiva is a playable character. Yes, she's a badass black woman, but again that's sort of necessary if you don't fancy being Zombie Chow (hey, even cute little Rebecca went Rambo as soon as she got her own game).
As always, if you want to see prejudice, you'll find it. Avatar customisation is still coming on in leaps and bounds, and there's also face-capturing (eg Facebreaker) coming in which should help. Likewise, digital voice manipulation/generation should have an impact within the next few years.
 

Stringytank

New member
Oct 8, 2008
131
0
0
Even though he has cornrows, I'd have to say Garth from Fable II somewhat breaks the stereotype. He is very calm, wise, and powerful yet responsible. Next to Theresa, I'd say he's the most intelligent and knowledgeable character in Fable II. Though Fable II can shove it on character creation, as you're forced to be white. It sorta makes sense I guess what with the whole Old-England thing going, but still.
 

G-X

New member
Nov 5, 2008
26
0
0
Brenda, why aren't there any black characters in games?
Um, Alyx Vance? The main character (not counting the silent protagonist) of Half-Life 2? Half-black, half-Asian? In a game where the bad guys are all white (or robots, or alien monsters) and the good guys are multi-ethnic? Game of the Year in 2004? No, you must have missed that one.
 

SirCannonFodder

New member
Nov 23, 2007
348
0
0
Want a game with strong black characters? Go with the Elder Scrolls series, particularly the spin-off TES Adventures: Redguard [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elder_Scrolls_Adventures:_Redguard] (which happens to feature a black arch-mage, to answer "where are the great and powerful black wizards?" question), whose protagonist, besides helping to force the continent-spanning empire into an armistice with his home nation, manages to trick a god [http://www.imperial-library.info/obscure_text/viveccyrus.shtml] that pretty much specialises in mind-screwingly complex lies and tricks. However, the only thing black about them is skin colour, since the culture is more like a mix of age-of-sail Spain, ancient Carthage, and some general Arabic influence. On the plus side, it's one of only two races (the other being the Dunmer/Dark Elves) that was actually able to join the Empire on their own terms, rather than surrendering/being conquered. Their predecessors, the Yokudans, also managed some impressive feats, such as discovering a sword move that can split the atom.
 

TsunamiWombat

New member
Sep 6, 2008
5,073
0
0
In the Halflife 2 Mod Insurgency, you can customize your marine to be white black tan or anything in between. Does that count?

Oh, and what about Thunder or Whisper from Fable 2?

It is true though, there's no black hero's. Always white or asian.

PS: OH! Alyx Vance. Everyones darling.
 

babyblues

New member
Apr 22, 2008
145
0
0
Err, what about Captain Anderson from Mass Effect? He's black and also a good, strong man who fights for what's right. Cornrow and afro-free, too. He's got a military-style buzzcut.

Or Jolee Bindo from KotOR. He's an irritable old man but also one of the wisest characters with lots of insight, and has a good heart. He does what he believes is right, without bias towards good or evil. He's never really portrayed in a negative light just because of his skin color and has a touching and well-fleshed out backstory. Also, no cornrows or afro. He's bald.

Perhaps that's just BioWare and their fantastic characters, but good black characters do exist. There just aren't that many.

Stringytank said:
Even though he has cornrows, I'd have to say Garth from Fable II somewhat breaks the stereotype. He is very calm, wise, and powerful yet responsible. Next to Theresa, I'd say he's the most intelligent and knowledgeable character in Fable II. Though Fable II can shove it on character creation, as you're forced to be white. It sorta makes sense I guess what with the whole Old-England thing going, but still.
I'd also like to second Garth. He's a cool character that isn't stereotypical at all. And, Stringytank, he's from Samarkand(or however you spell it) in the east. They're reclusive or something so it makes sense that there aren't many fantasy-blacks in Albion. Admittedly, though, it would be pretty cool if you got to pick where you're from.

I sympathize with black gamers somewhat. Being female, it's difficult to find a character that isn't terribly stereotypical: buxom babes wearing juuuuust enough to clothe a baseball. Despite that, it honestly doesn't bother me that much. I can still appreciate a game and its characters if they are interesting and entertaining. While it isn't a bad thing to hope that, some day, there will be more black characters like the examples I mentioned, don't let it stop you from enjoying games. Enjoy the characters for what they are, regardless of sex or race.
 

jemborg

New member
Oct 10, 2008
118
0
0
Is it possible at all ,going from the above comments, that black people in America have a more diverse "culture" than just aspiring to abject materialism?
 

Rankao

New member
Mar 10, 2008
361
0
0
Technically you need to ignore all of the games that are not of American/African origin because all developers have for reference of blacks is from stereotypes in movies
 

jemborg

New member
Oct 10, 2008
118
0
0
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my American cousins, on having voted in a "black" President for the first time.
 

Doug

New member
Apr 23, 2008
4,939
0
0
I have to admit to wondering about this whenever I get access to a character editor (Oblivion, Saints Row 1/2, Fallout 3). Although I'd like to point out in fairness I've never managed to recreate myself in my avatar.

However, I have felt 'the Guilt'. An irrational fear of creating a black/latino/etc avatar uncase it potrays me as racist for having said character (especially for Saint's Row given the possibly of 'You've got a ghetto character shooting stuff'). This, when I normally play single player only, and hence am never judged by it, heh.

I have noticed that the numbers of non-white characters has increased significantly in the last few years (for example, their are quite a few NPCs who are black, including the generics.

As said in the article, I suspect its mostly because most game developers are white and hence don't even think about skin tone and racial features.

EDIT: As for black/non-white character, Eli Vance and his daughter Alyx from Half Life 2 spring to mind for me. Smart guy, alittle world wery (he's an old man in HL2 in a post apocalypse-type world) and his daughter seems to be of mixed race.

Neither have corn rows - Eli goes with a sensable short cut, Alyx with ...well, shortish hair. Neither are 'from da hood'
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
Funny, I never felt that guilt at all, it's fiction, so anything goes...

Plus Saints Row makes you "choose your own ethnicity" and lets you customise it up to the degree ot caricature (it's easy to make a black character who looks like a Stormfront caricature, I spent half an hour tinkering with the options before deciding for an 'average joe' latino character who'll probably get a faceswitch as soon as I'm rich enough).
 

Vortigar

New member
Nov 8, 2007
716
0
0
Cyclomega said:
You forgot Sean from SFIII, who's clearly black, while Brazilian as well.
Yeah, there's a lot of doubt about actual ethnicities of many characters, especially Urien, he's been under debate on this since forever.

Potemkin is from a fictional country in an unsepcified location, so all bets are off in his case.

How the hell could I forget Sean though?
Lucky was from before I started playing KoF. I played Fatal Fury for way too long.

aside:
I'm still waiting for a Dutch character... As in anywhere. We've been taking top honours in various martial arts the last couple of decades, but it's reflected absolutely nowhere.

The Dutch stages in the various KoF's and CvS are hilarious though. Kinderdijk!
Littaly said:
Isn't Barret more than a hotheaded muscular black guy? From what I recall he showed a lot of emotion and care for his family as well, even though he wasn't maybe the most politically correct character he was not the least either.
It's a bit iffy here. But the fact he has huge lips, is the burly character type and fights with a cannon for an arm is more telling than his family side, which even then is entrenched in the 'looking out for you and yours' motif that's also often associated with black characters.
 

Skenvoy

New member
Nov 5, 2008
1
0
0
Why do i feel like the oldest person on this forum but isnt the wizard from daiblo black.

The all powerful deamon crushing do-gooder wizard.

I mean sure all he says in the game is "your death will be avenge" to the dead villager when you get the butcher quest but even that dosent sound stereotypical.

Also thinking about blizzard isnt Duran?? in starcraft broodwars black to. And he seems pretty smart and manipulative.


Also fallout 3 rocks because of the awesome character custermisation (cough*spelling*cough) and totally equallity of cast members.
 

NecroManiac

New member
Nov 5, 2008
3
0
0
I'm quite astonished that no-one has yet mentioned Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, but then again it's a testament on how few actually played it.
 

SirSchmoopy

New member
Apr 15, 2008
797
0
0
The better question is why do people play Roleplaying games and try to ROLEPLAY AS THEMSELVES.

Maybe you don't want to be the black bimbo in Gauntlet Legends but man that character had the sweetest special attacks. People trying to Roleplay themselves do not understand RPG games to begin with. Come on, get some imagination. Sorry there isn't the proper color of your skin in every single video game when your skin tone comes in 64 different shades. Guess what? Neither is my hair color or style but I just grab some brown hair in Tiger Woods PGA Tour and I'm good then again, I don't design characters to look at myself, I make big fat characters in shorts that way I and giggle and laugh as the game tries to render the swings of my clubs.

The funny thing is this article has got it backwards to begin with. Black characters have afro and corn rows in games not because white developers think that's what black people look like but because that's what WHITE PEOPLE want to play when they play black characters. Why the hell would I be a Black Guy in a business suit with a nice modest hair cut when I can have a giant gold necklace and a an afro to swam dunk thoses baskets?

This article doesn't work for me due to the fact it depends on the game. Last time I checked, nobody has ever made a game called "AFRICA THE RPG", most RPG games play off on some mystery fantasy world with dragons and knights and white people. It's there fantasy game, if they don't want to put black people in it that's not racist, it's their game. How come there are no handicap people in games huh? Why can't the main hero in Typically RPG 4 be some guy with some crutches? Why can't I be blind and look at a black screen and play the game using just sound? You want games with 64 tones of black characters in them, make a game where it applies but don't cry about "Mystical Fantasy World" not having every shade of color so you can make a character look like YOURSELF.


The only reason white people can make game characters look like themselves is because if you make ONE white character and give him brow/black/blonde and red hair colors you capture the look of 99% of white people. It's nobodies fault that white people are easy to incorporate into games.
 

Pengy

New member
Mar 2, 2008
3
0
0
What about Raven from Tekken-series? He is an exception I think. A black ninja. Say what yuou will about Namco and Tekken-series, but they at least think out of the box in this perspective. Usually ninjas have been from Japan (which is completely logical, I won't argue) or some caucasian male who has been studying the arts (which I do not argue either). Not that I know anything about Raven, but he doesn't seem like a typical hip-hop guy. But yes, he does look like a blonde blade. Never mind that, he is not a stero typical kick boxer.

I don't see why blacks/african americans always have got to be portrayed as hiphoppers, alwyas getting to be the "witty, cool people" though. I think Ben Croshaw had a point when he talked about "Call of duty 4" and "Silent hill - Homecoming" when the black people were just as annoying as one would expect them, judging from his (Croshaw's) comments, that is.

Other than that, I can agree to the article and it was great.
 

ThePlasmatizer

New member
Sep 2, 2008
1,159
0
0
Garth is indeed a good example of a black wisened wizard. Ultimately though he's an exception to the rule that most black character's are portrayed as stereotypical thugs and/or unintelligent.
Also it's a bit ridiculous they always have a token black guy sidekick to give a game an illusion of diversity.

Developers might not consciously cater to a specific race, but subconsciously when the society they live in is predominately their own race they will cater to people of their own race. Maybe it's a telltale sign that there isn't enough diversity in development teams when they resort to stereotypes.
 

FunkyJ

New member
Jul 26, 2006
84
0
0
Imagine if all Irish-American people were portrayed as drunken, fighting fools throwing up into their pot of gold. That's pretty much what we're dealing with here

But in videogames they are... Case in point: GTA IV

But lets go beyond black - my good friend is Russian, and the ONLY game where he's considered himself a hero is GTA IV. In most games (and movies, and comics and books) the Russian is someone to be shot at, if not the guy who will turn on you.

Not to mention the way French people are portrayed in ALL Western Media. And what about the Japanese? Chinese? Indians?

I could go on and on.
 

aaron552

New member
Jun 11, 2008
139
0
0
NecroManiac said:
I'm quite astonished that no-one has yet mentioned Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, but then again it's a testament on how few actually played it.
Firstly, Jade is not black. Secondly, she's not exactly human either... So unless you're talking about racism against aliens, I don't know what you're talking about.

However, if you're talking about stereotypes, Jade most definitely does NOT conform. For this reason (and several others) BG&E is one of my favourite games *ever*.
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
It's hard to make a black character without people calling you racist. No matter what you do to make them politically correct, someone will always say it's a racist portrayal.
 

shMerker

New member
Oct 24, 2007
255
0
0
Well yeah, but no matter how many pies I make there will always be someone who says that Jerry Springer is Santa Claus. See how the statement has nothing to do with reality or what I've done? It's ok for people to say bad things about you when you aren't doing anything wrong. The challenge being put forward isn't to make characters that no one will think are offensive, but that have depth and resonate with real people.
 

shMerker

New member
Oct 24, 2007
255
0
0
Also, I have to say there are black people out there who just eat up the "gangsta" style depictions of blacks. In Renton, WA it seems like every black teen or young adult I've rode the bus with fell into that category.
 

Eldritch Warlord

New member
Jun 6, 2008
2,567
0
0
Kinda random:

How does the term "Negro" go over? To me Negro is the proper name for dark-skinned people and calling a Negro person "black" sounds sort of insulting. I know that Negro just comes from the Romans calling people from Africa black but still, it's proper.

Obviously gamers are among the more open minded of people (fanboys aside) so I'm really asking about how your family and friends would react.
 

Abtinx

New member
Nov 6, 2008
14
0
0
What if the character is from the "middle-east"? If you are Iranian, Arab, Turk or Hindu you are either shooting a brother in the cloth covered face for placing bombs on some building or holding hostages. Now of course it's a valid question, but it could be a lot worse, and it is for us. I've been so angry just watching some of the games out their being played by my friends that it really makes me wonder who these people are and where they live. But there are a few games nowadays that are changing that (Prince of Persia, Assassins Creed(?). No thanks to the out right racist games like Tom Clancy's or Call of Duty 4 (Iraqi Killfest as I like to call it). Black people in games are usually gangsters or warlords and the people from south asia are crazed gunmen adept at placing explosives and toting ak-s in white peoples faces. Wake up and stop paying for shit like that before the crosses start burning
 

Abtinx

New member
Nov 6, 2008
14
0
0
Why is that? of course it's racist if the character does nothing but rob people, swear and deal drugs. That's racist. Now is Star Trek Deep Space Nine a racist show because the captain is african? Just making games that are all about the same brownish haired white man, now that's racist
 

shMerker

New member
Oct 24, 2007
255
0
0
Abtinx, are you responding to Xiado? Otherwise I don't follow where that comment comes from.
 

Low Frost

New member
Nov 6, 2008
179
0
0
Littaly said:
Isn't Barret more than a hotheaded muscular black guy? From what I recall he showed a lot of emotion and care for his family as well, even though he wasn't maybe the most politically correct character he was not the least either.
He was still the meathead of the group, only leader because of his strength and willingness for brash action alone.
A well-written article on an issue most don't bother with that is destined to be drowned out by whining fanboys desperate to defend their precious pasttime. I feel bad for the author.
 

babyblues

New member
Apr 22, 2008
145
0
0
Low Frost said:
A well-written article on an issue most don't bother with that is destined to be drowned out by whining fanboys desperate to defend their precious pasttime. I feel bad for the author.
Well-written perhaps, but not very well-researched. Sure, most black characters in games are stereotyped, but the author didn't even acknowledge the existance of characters that aren't.
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
This article represents everything about racism.

You want blacks in games, you don't want them portrayed as negative stereotypes.

If you remove the stereotypes, how are blacks different from whites? Tell me that. Why is it bad that blacks are portrayed as criminals but its okay when italians are all mafia hitmen mobsters?

Why does this article try so desperately to cause a division among people?

What if the player is black? Why should it matter? Do black players have some sort of privilege over white players? Over Asian players? If your protagonist is white and you're not, will you refuse to play the game?

This disgusts me. As long as people such as the author of this article think like this, the world will never move forward in regards to racism.
 

Alex_P

All I really do is threadcrap
Mar 27, 2008
2,695
0
0
snowplow said:
What if the player is black? Why should it matter? Do black players have some sort of privilege over white players? Over Asian players? If your protagonist is white and you're not, will you refuse to play the game?
The problem doesn't occur when a protagonist is white, it occurs when nearly every protagonist is white.

-- Alex
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
What if the player is black? Why should it matter? Do black players have some sort of privilege over white players? Over Asian players? If your protagonist is white and you're not, will you refuse to play the game?
The problem doesn't occur when a protagonist is white, it occurs when nearly every protagonist is white.

-- Alex
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
 

jamesworkshop

New member
Sep 3, 2008
2,047
0
0
Diablo 2 deckard cain is black
http://girlsofwar.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/deckard-cain2.jpg
but since they did the deckard cain rap maybe its not a good exsample
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=GLs6OHlSdyE

Some how I can't imagine producers or publishers forcing developers to only make white characters its probably a non-concious desicion based around the race of the creator than anything else.
I don't understand the whole idea of someone being a minority like the Chinese despite china having a population of 1 billion (obviously not all are chinese) or about 1/6 of the worlds total population not excatly a minority considering games are released world wide not just North America.
As for Persia being ancient Iran I doubt it would make people stop playing it the character model is visually not white although he certainly didn't sound very Iranian to me so a name change wouldn't effect anyone that wasn't rasict.
Rememinds me of onion movie

No thanks i don't drink or do drugs im just looking for directions to the local library
-Random black guy walks into a bar
 

Alex_P

All I really do is threadcrap
Mar 27, 2008
2,695
0
0
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
 

ThePlasmatizer

New member
Sep 2, 2008
1,159
0
0
snowplow said:
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
No, it's because you don't understand what racial stereotyping is like and you don't understand what it's like to be in a minority.

Imagine you live in a predominantly black community and the video games released most often portrayed white people as thugs, this is what racial stereotyping feels like.
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
snowplow said:
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
I have had to deal with that exact problem irl many times. A ex used to be soo very anal about indians, arabs, blacks how you cant just lump them all together and each one has to be respected as being different yet all whites were just the same to her. She was 1/16th maori and despite the rest of her bloodline being english and the fact she was whiter then a snowman she still insisted on being identified as being maori... So I always gave her shit about the fact that whites can be from many different cultures but if someone just referred to them as "white" she would not put up a argument as she did with all other races.

I am also sick and tired of any time you have a problem with someone of a ethnic minority they always play the race card. You can never just hate them because they are stupid it always comes down to race.
To put it simply the race card has been overplayed and is unimportant. I dont care if youre black, asian, white or any other mix thereof, I hate all you stupid whiney bastards equally.
 

brazuca

New member
Jun 11, 2008
168
0
0
avykins said:
snowplow said:
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
I have had to deal with that exact problem irl many times. A ex used to be soo very anal about indians, arabs, blacks how you cant just lump them all together and each one has to be respected as being different yet all whites were just the same to her. She was 1/16th maori and despite the rest of her bloodline being english and the fact she was whiter then a snowman she still insisted on being identified as being maori... So I always gave her shit about the fact that whites can be from many different cultures but if someone just referred to them as "white" she would not put up a argument as she did with all other races.

I am also sick and tired of any time you have a problem with someone of a ethnic minority they always play the race card. You can never just hate them because they are stupid it always comes down to race.
To put it simply the race card has been overplayed and is unimportant. I dont care if youre black, asian, white or any other mix thereof, I hate all you stupid whiney bastards equally.
HUahahahahahahaha! That's the most dubious thing I have heard, 'till now.
I'm... Complicated both my parents are mixed races, so I can tell you that everyone (white Italians, white Irish, black African American, black African, asian Japanese, asian Chinese) suffers from some kind of stereotype. The main issue is that with african descent that stereotype is very negative. They only lose to arabs and east europeans, who are usually terrorists or the wrost kind of people on 80's movie, communist.
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
ThePlasmatizer said:
snowplow said:
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
No, it's because you don't understand what racial stereotyping is like and you don't understand what it's like to be in a minority.

Imagine you live in a predominantly black community and the video games released most often portrayed white people as thugs, this is what racial stereotyping feels like.
The entire issue is that "colored people" are whining about being represented in videogames. So when they do get put in the game, they whine about how they're being put in as negative stereotypes. No stereotypes? So you want a different colored character that's the same as any other character? What the hell is the point of doing that?
You really expect me to believe you won't whine even if you get that? Once the stereotypes get removed and C.J. of San Andreas becomes a proper tuxedo wearing gentleman, you won't start bitching about how he's not "black" anymore, he's just white with black skin?
Then it comes down to what exactly defines "black". His mannerisms? Beliefs? Culture? None of these things are represented in games.
You disgusting people say "black, white, asian, hispanic" all so easily, and in doing so you cheapen yourselves and everyone else.

Really, this whole topic is fucking disgusting. Fuck I can barely type. You say "black culture" and in doing so you say that Kenyan culture is equal to Haitian or Jamaican culture.
You say "white" and you lump French culture and Norwegian culture together.

Fuck I can't believe you people's shamelessness.


So much for "they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"
Screw character, all that matters is skin color right?

It basically comes down to this: "I want a black character because my skin color is black. Fuck everyone else."
 

ThePlasmatizer

New member
Sep 2, 2008
1,159
0
0
snowplow said:
ThePlasmatizer said:
snowplow said:
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
No, it's because you don't understand what racial stereotyping is like and you don't understand what it's like to be in a minority.

Imagine you live in a predominantly black community and the video games released most often portrayed white people as thugs, this is what racial stereotyping feels like.
The entire issue is that "colored people" are whining about being represented in videogames. So when they do get put in the game, they whine about how they're being put in as negative stereotypes. No stereotypes? So you want a different colored character that's the same as any other character? What the hell is the point of doing that?
You really expect me to believe you won't whine even if you get that? Once the stereotypes get removed and C.J. of San Andreas becomes a proper tuxedo wearing gentleman, you won't start bitching about how he's not "black" anymore, he's just white with black skin?
Then it comes down to what exactly defines "black". His mannerisms? Beliefs? Culture? None of these things are represented in games.
You disgusting people say "black, white, asian, hispanic" all so easily, and in doing so you cheapen yourselves and everyone else.

Really, this whole topic is fucking disgusting. Fuck I can barely type. You say "black culture" and in doing so you say that Kenyan culture is equal to Haitian or Jamaican culture.
You say "white" and you lump French culture and Norwegian culture together.

Fuck I can't believe you people's shamelessness.


So much for "they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"
Screw character, all that matters is skin color right?

It basically comes down to this: "I want a black character because my skin color is black. Fuck everyone else."
You need to calm down, this is an internet forum.

What's wrong with a black character that's just the same as every other character?
You do live in the real world don't you? not every black guy you meet on the street will be a hip hop thug thug and although it's suitable for a character role in something like GTA it's used as a stereotype in every other game, and there's no reason why you can't have a tuxedo wearing black gentlemen if you want too you should look up Chris Eubanks.

Also who is lumping all the different cultures together? we are talking about someones racial background not their nationality or cultural background.

Your view of the arguement is very narrow minded and you can't even understand peoples dislike of a stereotype since you don't know what it's like to be in a minority.
 

Brenda Brathwaite

New member
Feb 25, 2008
21
0
0
ThePlasmatizer said:
snowplow said:
ThePlasmatizer said:
snowplow said:
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
No, it's because you don't understand what racial stereotyping is like and you don't understand what it's like to be in a minority.

Imagine you live in a predominantly black community and the video games released most often portrayed white people as thugs, this is what racial stereotyping feels like.
The entire issue is that "colored people" are whining about being represented in videogames. So when they do get put in the game, they whine about how they're being put in as negative stereotypes. No stereotypes? So you want a different colored character that's the same as any other character? What the hell is the point of doing that?
You really expect me to believe you won't whine even if you get that? Once the stereotypes get removed and C.J. of San Andreas becomes a proper tuxedo wearing gentleman, you won't start bitching about how he's not "black" anymore, he's just white with black skin?
Then it comes down to what exactly defines "black". His mannerisms? Beliefs? Culture? None of these things are represented in games.
You disgusting people say "black, white, asian, hispanic" all so easily, and in doing so you cheapen yourselves and everyone else.

Really, this whole topic is fucking disgusting. Fuck I can barely type. You say "black culture" and in doing so you say that Kenyan culture is equal to Haitian or Jamaican culture.
You say "white" and you lump French culture and Norwegian culture together.

Fuck I can't believe you people's shamelessness.


So much for "they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"
Screw character, all that matters is skin color right?

It basically comes down to this: "I want a black character because my skin color is black. Fuck everyone else."
You need to calm down, this is an internet forum.

What's wrong with a black character that's just the same as every other character?
You do live in the real world don't you? not every black guy you meet on the street will be a hip hop thug thug and although it's suitable for a character role in something like GTA it's used as a stereotype in every other game, and there's no reason why you can't have a tuxedo wearing black gentlemen if you want too you should look up Chris Eubanks.

Also who is lumping all the different cultures together? we are talking about someones racial background not their nationality or cultural background.

Your view of the arguement is very narrow minded and you can't even understand peoples dislike of a stereotype since you don't know what it's like to be in a minority.
So you're saying stereotypes are only bad when they're about minorities and you promote division among people based on skin color, because skin color is the only thing that makes a person who they are.

Awesome.
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
Eldritch Warlord said:
Kinda random:

How does the term "Negro" go over? To me Negro is the proper name for dark-skinned people and calling a Negro person "black" sounds sort of insulting. I know that Negro just comes from the Romans calling people from Africa black but still, it's proper.

Obviously gamers are among the more open minded of people (fanboys aside) so I'm really asking about how your family and friends would react.
Niger/nigra/-um, Latin adj. = black (see also atrus/-a/-um)

Oh, and about the whole ranting about respect us/race card/stereotypes...

Romanians and croatians could have whined about their depiction in GTA IV, Latinos about Total Overdose/Chili con Carnage/Vice City...

Want me to go on ? Now seriously, is it even possible to IMAGINE putting all politics aside, stop turning everything about racism and just play the games ?
You want a black character being the hero and being a fine example we can all relate to ?
Meh... why it is worse in games than in movies ? Just the same bullshit...

Undercover brother was a counter-stereotype movie, and it was just as obnoxious (even if I laughed hard). All whites don't eat mayonnaise and wear sleeveles v-collar sweaters...

Negative stereotypes huh ? Funny enough they tend to play themselves out...
Strangely enough the same black people whining about racist clichés (I'm talking about people I've seen around me where I live) flock en masse in KFCs, eat waddymeluns, listen to obnoxious "booty rap" or other tropically sugar-coated crap... but I'm not supposed to point that out because I'm white ?

Reverse the problem, I've already said it : why are blacks depicted as nizzles in many a game ?
Because it's the same nizzles that buy those games... See Souja Boi again for the most caricatural example...
 

Alex_P

All I really do is threadcrap
Mar 27, 2008
2,695
0
0
snowplow said:
Alex_P said:
snowplow said:
I don't see why skin color is a factor in the first place.
Well, according to the author it's culturally isolating. That's what her story about Barbados is all about.

-- Alex
So basically the author is saying all white people are the same, but blacks have unique cultures? How is that not racist? Why is israeli culture not represented in games? What about french culture?

Its culturally isolating for me to not identify with the lack of cultural expression in games.

Except I'm not black, so apparently it doesn't count. Because I'm less important than a black person. Right?
No.

My understanding is that she's saying that being able to create a video-game character who looks like you or one of your family members offers younger players a way to identify with the game. Or to affirm and explore their own identities, perhaps.

That's the first part. The second part is about characters who talk and dress like you -- that's culture. Read the article. She laments that characters with Caribbean accents are most often found as underworld thugs. She laments that most games seem to typecast blacks into "Do you want an afro or cornrows?"

Read the goddamn introductory text. "What if the player is _____?" is an important question regardless of what you shove into the blank. She's just answering "What if the player is black?" because it speaks to her personal experience. I don't know where all your rage about "I'm less important than a black person" is coming from, but it's misdirected.

-- Alex
 

Smokescreen

New member
Dec 6, 2007
381
0
0
An interesting article, and well supplemented by many of the comments here.

I think snowplow is demonstrating why this subject is so difficult to talk about. S/He arrived angry, and nothing anyone says can quench that. But it's important to note; while this is the kind of thing that gets people's backs up right quick, it's certainly better to have a discussion than to never ask the questions.

@Cylomega: Spain is Southwest Europe--Google maps would be your friend here.
 

brazuca

New member
Jun 11, 2008
168
0
0
http://www.cracked.com/article_16605_8-most-obnoxious-internet-commenters.html

If some of you don't know about it. Blacks don't need to be a clown (nor repreeeseent, ya 'kow), so is any other etnic group. Tell you what, go to a country where you are the minority (I'll pick japan). Then you get there you will see this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_issues_in_Japan
Then if you don't like Japan and prefer a more white country, yet in the first world, I'll pick France. If you are american preper to be insulted, if you are Argelian, well... You know.

Now you wouldn't like a foreign depicting americans like a stereotype? http://www.rooshv.com/2007/american-stereotypes-are-so-hurtful See?!
 

Pat M.

New member
Jul 11, 2006
60
0
0
http://tokenminorities.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/suggestions-for-talking-about-race-and-video-games/

and

http://tokenminorities.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/the-litmus-test-for-new-racism/

will be interesting to some of y'all in this thread.
 

YuppySlime

New member
Apr 28, 2008
59
0
0
What about Dr. Eli Vance? He was a scientist and a pretty sweet dude overall. I don't disagree with this article, in fact I pretty much agree with it on all points. I just was sort of waiting for the acknowledgment of that character. Perhaps as some sort of validation that... I don't know its, the only really positive black character I could think of. HOWEVER, it popped up in my head before any others. Black video game character = Dr. Eli Vance. So his image in that game had staying power, and it was positive. I guess I just wanted to have it acknowledged.
 

SirCannonFodder

New member
Nov 23, 2007
348
0
0
Smokescreen said:
@Cylomega: Spain is Southwest Europe--Google maps would be your friend here.
I believe Cylomega was replying sarcastically to Lostlevel, who said that RE4 was set in east Europe.
 

babyblues

New member
Apr 22, 2008
145
0
0
Looking for a non-stereotyped black character in GTA games or Saint's Row is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Like I've said, There are plenty of black characters that aren't stereotypical. If you want to find them, play western-style RPGs. You can create black characters without cornrows and afros in them too.

Captain Anderson-Mass Effect
Lucas Simms-Fallout 3
Garth-Fable 2
Eli/Alyx Vance-Half-Life 2(not an RPG, I know)
Every single Redguard-The Elder Scrolls series
Jolee Bindo-Knights of the Old Republic

I can't help but think this article was written hastily(or perhaps, in ignorance) with the intent of simply provoking a reaction. These are well-known games, and even a little bit of research or experience would have uncovered them. If I were completely ignorant of games, after reading this article I would think that every single video game gives nothing but racist portrayals of black people, which simply is not true. It might sound insensitive of me, but if the portrayal of blacks in fictional video games really matters to you all that much, change the types of games you play. RPG characters generally have more depth than games that center around shooting/violence. I mean, what do you expect from Saint's Row, honestly?
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
Smokescreen> I live in Europe, thanks I know enough geography, now if I may sound stiff and blunt, learn to read.
 

Smokescreen

New member
Dec 6, 2007
381
0
0
SirCannonFodder post=6.75940.895492 said:
Smokescreen said:
@Cylomega: Spain is Southwest Europe--Google maps would be your friend here.
I believe Cylomega was replying sarcastically to Lostlevel, who said that RE4 was set in east Europe.
Oops.

Cyclomega post=6.75940.895692 said:
Smokescreen> I live in Europe, thanks I know enough geography, now if I may sound stiff and blunt, learn to read.
How's about I read, and you not be a dick to someone who was trying to be helpful?
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
How about not using Google is your friend (aka the internet equivalent of RTFM) then ?
 

L.B. Jeffries

New member
Nov 29, 2007
2,175
0
0
Great article, thanks for bringing to light an issue that is still causing everyone a lot of discomfort and confusion.
 

amendele

New member
Aug 25, 2008
39
0
0
Well, I do agree that black people are sorta under-represented as main characters in video games. The only explanation I can offer is that it sort of reflects the thoughts of the development teams. Keep in mind that a lot of games are still developed in Japan, where black people of African descent are about as rare as white people in Barbados. Or in America, where white kids seem to fall in love with the stereotype of the dangerous black guy as a foil to their own boring, sheltered lives. If they teach you to "write what you know" in creative writing class, then these developers are drawing from their experiences with others to create the characters they think are best for the story, even if they do end up coming off as racist stereotypes to others. I'm not excusing them, but it does make sense.

Of course, in the end it all comes down to pure capitalism. The reason that some games may be portraying black people as doorag-wearing gangstas who drink malt liquor and do drive-bys every day (as long as there's no explicit sexual material, anyways. Stupid hypocritical ratings boards) is because there's an audience willing to pay for them. If you have a problem with it, then organize protests and boycotts against the developer until they agree to listen to your grievances.

Finally, looking at the list of black characters that Aaron cites (on page 3), they all come from fighting games, where the only objective is to wail on the other guy until he goes down, no matter what your character's race is. I'm not quite sure what the complaint is here, unless most black people are being shoved into Muay Thai or Capoeira fighting styles. Hell, I could make an argument that most fat people end up becoming portrayed as sumo wrestlers (E. Honda from Street Fighter) or that Russians are portrayed as stoic, evil bastards in those games (like Bayman from DoA or that Dragunov guy from the Tekken 5 pseudo-sequel) that only use Russian martial arts of Sambo and Systema. But that's an argument for another article. The developers are just using what they know, and if "what they know" is derived from pop culture stereotypes, then stop complaining and start organizing to inform them of your views.
 

brazuca

New member
Jun 11, 2008
168
0
0
amendele said:
Well, I do agree that black people are sorta under-represented as main characters in video games. The only explanation I can offer is that it sort of reflects the thoughts of the development teams. Keep in mind that a lot of games are still developed in Japan, where black people of African descent are about as rare as white people in Barbados. Or in America, where white kids seem to fall in love with the stereotype of the dangerous black guy as a foil to their own boring, sheltered lives. If they teach you to "write what you know" in creative writing class, then these developers are drawing from their experiences with others to create the characters they think are best for the story, even if they do end up coming off as racist stereotypes to others. I'm not excusing them, but it does make sense.

Of course, in the end it all comes down to pure capitalism. The reason that some games may be portraying black people as doorag-wearing gangstas who drink malt liquor and do drive-bys every day (as long as there's no explicit sexual material, anyways. Stupid hypocritical ratings boards) is because there's an audience willing to pay for them. If you have a problem with it, then organize protests and boycotts against the developer until they agree to listen to your grievances.

Finally, looking at the list of black characters that Aaron cites (on page 3), they all come from fighting games, where the only objective is to wail on the other guy until he goes down, no matter what your character's race is. I'm not quite sure what the complaint is here, unless most black people are being shoved into Muay Thai or Capoeira fighting styles. Hell, I could make an argument that most fat people end up becoming portrayed as sumo wrestlers (E. Honda from Street Fighter) or that Russians are portrayed as stoic, evil bastards in those games (like Bayman from DoA or that Dragunov guy from the Tekken 5 pseudo-sequel) that only use Russian martial arts of Sambo and Systema. But that's an argument for another article. The developers are just using what they know, and if "what they know" is derived from pop culture stereotypes, then stop complaining and start organizing to inform them of your views.
Amem, but... Due to some trouble regarding this Capcom showed us that woman. And RE5 was cosidered racist!!! (not for showing that woman,who happens to be Chris partner, don't know her name, but for killing africans and stuff)
I belive in due time, when the gamer audience expends to more than the white young male, what's happening now, games will be more sensitive about this particular issue.
 

Smokescreen

New member
Dec 6, 2007
381
0
0
Cyclomega post=6.75940.897791 said:
How about not using Google is your friend (aka the internet equivalent of RTFM) then ?
How about giving me the benefit of the doubt, instead of assuming I'm gonna be a dick to you?

All you had to do was say: I was replying to (x) and I would've said: D'OH! and sorry, and it would've been done.

Not everyone on the internet is out to fuck you.
 

goodman528

New member
Jul 30, 2008
716
0
0
I would hate video games to go down the road of political correctness, i.e. you have to have a realistic non-offensive black character in the game. I'm not white, and yes it would be nice to make an avatar exactly like me, but if it means the filling the ranks of the soldiers in WWII with a rainbow of colours, I would rather not have it.

Games just need a good storyline, the color and culture of the characters should reflect the society of the game developers, because you are best at writing what you know best, i.e. your own experiences and dreams. Otherwise you just end up making junk no one can identify with.
 

Cyclomega

New member
Jul 28, 2008
469
0
0
Smokescreen said:
Cyclomega post=6.75940.897791 said:
How about not using Google is your friend (aka the internet equivalent of RTFM) then ?
How about giving me the benefit of the doubt, instead of assuming I'm gonna be a dick to you?

All you had to do was say: I was replying to (x) and I would've said: D'OH! and sorry, and it would've been done.

Not everyone on the internet is out to fuck you.
OMG somebody's been unfriendly to you on teh tntarwebs... Now hop on the WAAAAAAAAAAHmbulance...
 

Smokescreen

New member
Dec 6, 2007
381
0
0
Cyclomega post=6.75940.898935 said:
Smokescreen said:
Cyclomega post=6.75940.897791 said:
How about not using Google is your friend (aka the internet equivalent of RTFM) then ?
How about giving me the benefit of the doubt, instead of assuming I'm gonna be a dick to you?

All you had to do was say: I was replying to (x) and I would've said: D'OH! and sorry, and it would've been done.

Not everyone on the internet is out to fuck you.
OMG somebody's been unfriendly to you on teh tntarwebs... Now hop on the WAAAAAAAAAAHmbulance...
Uh, no. I was trying to be pleasant, and made a mistake-that I was embarrassed about and would've apologized for if you'd given me the chance.

Why you're not willing to cut me some slack is beyond me, but your attitude is there for all.
 

HotKakes

New member
Aug 2, 2008
25
0
0
Three characters that came to mind while reading this article were

Doug Rand from Ichigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit
Drebin from MGS4
Hammond from Dead Space

Doug and Hammond were two characters that I felt had positive traits with varying degrees of stereotype and/or cultural influence. Drebin on the other hand is hard to point out in terms of him being a racist character or not. What the hey, I'm just trying to help add on to the list.
 

Mullahgrrl

New member
Apr 20, 2008
769
0
0
NecroManiac post=6.75940.889502 said:
I'm quite astonished that no-one has yet mentioned Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, but then again it's a testament on how few actually played it.
She is green.
 

shadow skill

New member
Oct 12, 2007
2,629
0
0
I asked a simillar question a while back and I see some of the same responses in this thread as well. You can read my thread here. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.51275#351658] I think it comes down to developers simply being ignorant and/or lazy, things that are considered stereotypes really only become problematic when a character lacks any kind of depth. It takes some degree of effort to make characters that are not flat. (It's how Kojima can get away with his female characters in the MGS games. Especially MGS 3/4 none of the female characters were flat period.) I can point to purely technical aspects of games and demonstrate the kind of laziness that leads to the entire cast of Gears of War or that homosexual character (His name escapes me.) in Enchanted Arms. Half the time if the developer includes southpaw stick settings he or she forgets that at the minimum the actions assigned to the face buttons and the Dpad should be switched around! I really can't count how many times I have played an FPS on a console where the dev didn't even so much as look at the button mapping and apparently expects anyone playing with the southpaw stick setting to take his or her thumb off the right stick in order to reload a weapon.

It's no surprise then, given the kind of idiocy on display, that people of Arab descent are often terrorists (A motif that goes back at least twenty years if you look at movies.), black people tend to be cast as muscle bound oafs or gangsters, (Let's leave intentionally satyrical games like Saints Row, and GTA out of this.) and of course barring a few notable exceptions is never the player character. Have any of you noticed the tendency for black characters that are not necessarily leading characters within a story to die? It's actually become a bit of a running joke with my brother and I to see how long the lone black character survives.
 

Varchld

is drunk and disorderly.
Nov 8, 2008
433
0
0
"Imagine if all Irish-American people were portrayed as drunken, fighting fools throwing up into their pot of gold. That's pretty much what we're dealing with here."

That would make a pretty cool character :p

But seriously, fighting games like tekken and Mortal Kombat are so full of poor character design, Kano I heard was meant to be Australian, he's got a half metal face and is the crudest most unagreeable type of character in the game for me.

But the issue does extend through the majority of other games.
Other forms of media like the film and music industries have influenced the game designers overlooking this but I do think that it is being considered more and more.
In Mass Effect the character's superior officer is black and I "think" the character creation isn't too bad for making various ethnic appearing characters.

I just looked through my collection of games and most are either RTS' or like civilization where there is no avatar :/
And after looking around for more games to cite, I lost my train of thought ><
 

nekolux

New member
Apr 7, 2008
327
0
0
Well in world of warcraft , warhammer and i think AoC you're allowed to have a black skinned character. Those are mmorpgs of course so the level of customization is wider.
 

Tomw1812

New member
Nov 9, 2008
22
0
0
When people say "african american" when refering to black people seem to forget the fact that not all black people live in america with african origins, i have a friend here in britain who is of carribean origin and he is actually offended by the term african american if used towards him, that's why i just say black.

I'd also like to add that I don't think there are many hispanic or asian characters, there are probably a few but i can't think of any (mainly because i've only been a serious gamer for the past six months)
 

broadband

New member
Dec 15, 2007
437
0
0
the TF2 demoman is a black scottish cyclops, he is no gangsta, he is a lunatic (well pretty much the whole TF2 cast) drunkard.

i remember someone in the forums saying that Eli Vance was like some sort of videogame version of Morgan Freeman
 

Littaly

New member
Jun 26, 2008
1,351
0
0
A well-written article on an issue most don't bother with that is destined to be drowned out by whining fanboys desperate to defend their precious pasttime. I feel bad for the author.
I can accept being called a fanboy in a lot subjects, but to be honest I have just barley finished the first disc of FF7, and I can't say I'm that en thrilled by it at all. I guess I'm making even more fool of myself now..

Anyway, I do see your point, I was just trying to shed a bit of optimism on the subject ^^
 

NeedAUserName

New member
Aug 7, 2008
3,349
0
0
corporate_gamer said:
wasn't the main character of gta: san andreas spending most his time trying to get away from the ghetto and live the good life? And didnt he actively complain about all the violent shenigans he got into throughout the story? And wasn't the Grove street familys anti-drugs? Having said that, the rest of them were the worst of the black sterotypes and i can't think of any other black characters that were remotely positive.
Yes, but that is why GTA:San Andreas was possibly the greatest game ever made ever, ever.
 

Raurik

New member
Jun 12, 2008
23
0
0
It took me a while to figure out why I felt that the character design for the main character in the new Bionic Commando felt so fresh. Then I realized it was because he wasn't a white, buzz-cut, space suited, ex-marine, bulked out all to hell for a sunday stroll... ALIENS!!??!!
Yeah... I've been tired of this scenario for a while...
But seriously, Bionic Commando is the digital equivalent of the tall dreaded individual from Stargate Atlantis, but still feels new compared to all the D-rated character designs of the past year or so.
The last character I can say that I really got behind, and it was a surprise to me as I never liked the series, was Soma Cruz from Castlevania. His monotones and sadistic expressions in the fan art were amazing. Not to mention he takes all of dracula's powers for himself and crushes the guy that tried to use him.

Before that.... Izuna was funny... HORRIBLE GAME never buy it. Just find the script and try not to die laughing.
I like Neku from "The world ends with you" but the rest of the characters suffer from the same stereotyping that the usual token black character receives.. :/
baggy clothes = tough guy
skinny w/ loose hair = brainiac
skinny w/ spiky hair = main character
etc, etc, etc...
Only reason I can relate with the main character is I am skinny with spiky hair, but that just puts me in the lucky few.

Honestly though, even if the majority of hairstyles in games are "white" hairstyles, they're usually all slightly different versions of buzz cuts and long crew cuts. I am white as a ghost, with all my hair about 2 inches long, BUT it's actually styled. So by the end of the day, I'm a white guy and I STILL can't find a hairstyle that would please me on a character. Maybe they take polls for favorite hairstyles and all the boring standard cut advocates jumped in the booth voting for crewcut on the white side and cornrows on the black.
It's REALLY depressing on the female black hairstyle side. There is NOTHING there.

But look at it this way, at least you have the cornrows and dreads as options. When was the last time you saw an asian hairstyle as an option?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe2pt1JLfIw&feature=related
 

DrScoobs

New member
Mar 6, 2009
408
0
0
racism sure is a touchy subject. there are few black characters in video games that arent cliches. the cole train is definatly a stereotype as is barret from ff7.
i would say that garcian smith isnt really a stereotypical black character oh and and louis from l4d but louis dosent really have a personality and garcian has very little.
 

beefpelican

New member
Apr 15, 2009
201
0
0
I'm not sure if it's fair to list only black characters from fighting games in the lineup. After all, one is unlikely to find a pacifist character, or one with a realistic physique, in any fighting game, regardless of color. Also, they don't really tend to be story driven, so it's a bit foolish to expect deep characters.
 

jboking

New member
Oct 10, 2008
2,397
0
0
So, this article lead me to thinking about finding a black character that isn't a stereotype. It took me all of four minutes. Eli Vance from Half-life 2 and Zasalamel from Soul Calibur 3 & 4. Of course, if I was looking for a white character that doesn't fit the stereotype it would have taken me all of twenty seconds, so...
 

Lenriak

New member
Apr 15, 2009
27
0
0
VanishedOne said:
No mention yet for Darci Stern (Urban Chaos)?

I read (somewhere; I'm working from memory) that one of the people who worked on the game thought it failed to sell well because of the premise: playing as a black, female, rookie cop, etc. Maybe the implication is that a white lead is a commercially 'safer' choice when you're trying to innovate in other respects.
I thought Urban Chaos was underrated at the time. I played it again a few months back and I liked it even more, its like a pre-GTA3 GTA-clone and they managed it on the ps1 too.

The character creator for APB does a very good job in creating people of various ethnicities. It even makes the whites of the characters eyes go slightly yellow just like some black people who have really dark skin. And the characters aren't limited to cornrows and afro hairstyles.
 

PrototypeC

New member
Apr 19, 2009
656
0
0
I'd like to say a thing or two about GTA: San Andreas. Being white as the driven snow myself, I loved the scope of this game. The whole thing is a joke, pure and simple. Anyone looking seriously at any of the characters may have missed the point.

Everyone in the game is a super stereotype. Not just the african-american characters, but the latinos, chinese, japanese, and the white characters. We've got ridiculous gangsters, police, FBI agents, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transsexual, pimps, whores, rednecks, obese people, fast food employees, housewives, etc. etc. This is the joke. Everyone, including CJ, is a selfish jerk. What does CJ say while he's stomping out some old woman on the sidewalk? "I'm a positive-role-model, fool!"

This is what Rockstar Games is famous for. They have an unabashedly cruel view of everybody. And it's hilarious.
 

Pyre00

New member
Mar 17, 2009
330
0
0
Oh god, not this again.

I believe the Heavy Weapons Guy has a message for you.
 

ShortCommings

New member
Jan 5, 2009
60
0
0
i dunno... there seems to be a lot of angst regarding the race issue that seems to be based soley around weather someone is black or white, if we are talking about general discrimination agaisnt a culture what about the myriad of games based on the second world war, surely this continued criminilisation of the germans is worse than (shock horror) putting violent black people is beat em ups, or games that require you to crush kill maim etc. equality, seriously, most games, if not the vast vast majority have a white guy as the bad guys/fodder, simply because every time they put a black guy some lone nutcase will cry foul and then people seem to follow suit (not being racist its human nature to adopt others opinions when they seem to know what there talking about) to back up my point, who remembers the L4D2 debical about the black zombies

P.S. i find that a lot of steriotyped black charecters are mostly japanease/asian, who are notoriously un-encumbered with there racism, its not..racist.. its just not.. ermm sensitive to a western ideal of racism. on a personal level i get fed up of every bloody english charecter being a posh fucking tea drinking closet gay. put some scousers in games plzQ
 

mrx19869

New member
Jun 17, 2009
453
0
0
dont care what skin color my character is.dont care where he is from.. i just wana shoot something.. or drive something.. its about the gameplay for me
 

mrx19869

New member
Jun 17, 2009
453
0
0
ohh and seriously.. who cares about stereotypes.. last time i checked i can go out and find once person from every race, or ethnicity and they will fit one or another stereotype.. so what is the big deal..

like i always say

there is a difference between crackers and white people, niggers and blacks, spics and Hispanics .
 

Compatriot Block

New member
Jan 28, 2009
477
0
0
Frankly, I've always thought that the reason most protagonists are white is because they're much more acceptable to mold in the eyes of our society.

Think about it. A game developer can portray a white male with ANY personality. Cruel, average, nice guy, stupid, smart, anything. Is anyone gonna call out a developer if their white character is a jerk? Nope.

Now, imagine that character is a black person. No matter how they try to portray them, I always get the feeling developers are nervous about how some vocal minorities (as in number, not race) will respond. If the character is white, no one cares for the most part.

I'm absolutely not saying it's right in any way, but having a white character seems to be the "safe" choice.
 

Brad Shepard

New member
Sep 9, 2009
3,597
0
0
Littaly said:
Isn't Barret more than a hotheaded muscular black guy? From what I recall he showed a lot of emotion and care for his family as well, even though he wasn't maybe the most politically correct character he was not the least either.
No, your right, Barrett had more heart them i would say half of the charecters in there, mind you, the charecters that come to mind are A) a robot cat, B) a vampire wanabe, C) a annoying little ninja girl. and D) someone who really fell into the role of "Fan service" if you know what i mean.
 

MiserableOldGit

New member
Apr 1, 2009
529
0
0
What, as opposed to all those other well rounded, thoughtfully observed demographics you get in computer games? There are exceptions, but for the most part everyone comes out 2D characterwise in gaming land. Take Gears of War for example. You've got that chap Cole Train running round going "WOO I'm a big black steriotype baby Yeah!". This might be offensive if his counterparts didn't comprise of equally pathetic cliched characters. I think it's got less to do with cultural and racial insensitivity and more to do with games developers being, for the most part, completely and utterly shit at character development, or in fact, coming up with anything that isn't a derivative frankensteins monster of the half-dozen hollywood films they all seem to draw inspiration from. Games developers need to read more, or get people with actual talent in to do the creative writing bit.
 

Escapefromwhatever

New member
Feb 21, 2009
1,863
0
0
I guess the Demoman is probably the least stereotypical black character I've seen in a video game. He's a patient, thinking type who's main emotional quality is his bitterness from combat. Add on to that loads of personality, and you have a human being, not a token. Hell, his name's even been revealed, which is something one can't say about the rest of TF2's cast. It's really sad when a character from a game with practically no story (I mean, TF2 is heavy on atmosphere, but doesn't really stress it's behind the scenes style story) is the best example of a carefully crafted black character that I can think of.
 

Zersy

New member
Nov 11, 2008
2,780
0
0
what about seeing native americans ? or Indians ? or Mongolians ? we never see those race in games.

It would be nice to see a game with a diversity in races with each character having a deep unique personality towards the player making real world stearytypes obselete in the game world.
 

Davrel

New member
Jan 31, 2010
437
0
0
What if the player is a Nazi?

Not every member of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was/is a mindless psychopath, deserving of nothing more than a bullet in the head. Many of them were forced to tow the party line on pain of death. Many of them had families and innocent children who had nothing to do with the direction that der Vaterland was taking. Yet we kill them in the millions, in every brutal way imaginable. Same goes for the soldiers of the Wehrmacht - soldiers are soldiers; they follow orders and are rarely told the full story; yet we still find it appropriate to massacre digital versions of them without thought.

The above was, of course, all devil's advocate stuff but the point remains the same: to make a game that adequately represented everyone fairly is impossible. As long as the game isn't overtly racist or sexist then, really, give developers a break.
 

Mcface

New member
Aug 30, 2009
1,689
0
0
There a plenty of games where you play as a black guy, I don't care at all. GTA, ArmA 2, True Crimes streets of NY.

The Ranger squad leader in MW2 giving you orders (as a Hispanic mind you)is black. Griggs from MW1, probably the 2nd or 3rd most popular MW character, is black. I think people make this type of thing a huge deal for no reason.

" if Daddy wants an afro, dreads or corn rows. "I vaguely remembered some character on the cover of an RPG making news because he was black. I remembered the tiny-waisted, giant-afroed, impossibly-breasted woman in Gauntlet: Dark Legacy" ..."Where are all the great and powerful black wizards?"

The Paladin from Diablo is black. moving on.

And what is this nonsense? This is not true. Black character creation has the same exact options white characters would have. They can't create 5000 hairstyles, so they make general ones that are popular. Shaved heads, mohawks, bald, long hair, afro, cornrows, are all GENERAL hair cuts that people today have. Once you switch your guy to black you suddenly don't lose all of the other ones and are forced to have a afro or cornrows and you know it. What more would you want than shaved, short, cropped, hair? I don't understand?

"As examples, Aaron cites characters from the action-adventure and fighting genres. The black characters are either non-existent or consistent in their overall attributes. Consider:

* Balrog (Street Fighter) - a Mike Tyson-ish boxer
* Zack (Dead or Alive) - a playboy/millionaire kickboxer
* T.J. Combo (Killer Instinct) - an urban kickboxer
* Jax (Mortal Kombat) - a Special Forces soldier
* Bruce Irvin (Tekken) - a Muay Thai fighter"

WHOA! You mean, that black guys in FIGHTING games are..FIGHTERS? It's a FIGHTING GAME. what would you expect them to be? And how is a SPecial Forces Soldier anything like a Mauy Thai fighter?
 

DrEmo

New member
May 4, 2009
294
0
0
Well, Mass Effect's character creator can make for some normal looking black characters.
I'm white and my Commander Shepperd was black. That's also a game where you can make your own decisions and not have the black commander Shepperd act like a stereotype.

What I did notice was that you can't really make normal looking black people with the Xbox360's avatar maker. You can't make a chubby character either and there's no curly hair. The clothes choices are also limited. They range from Douchey white guy, to hood black guy.

I think black characters aren't very good for some reason. Developers shoe horn them into cliched roles and they feel like an afterthought rather than a real, developed character.
Virtua Fighter 5 is guilty of making cliche'd black characters. Jeffry McWild is a big, hulking black guy who speaks yelling and is all about brute force. Vanessa Lewis is along the same stereotypes. She's a soldiers and her accessories are guns and weapons. Her fighting style is more tactical and thought-out but her past isn't about power, tournaments or money.

Sig from Jak II and Jak III is a good black character. Well, as far as I can remember. Other than the fact that his gun is the "peacemaker" which is a gun that fires off a huge, ultra destructive energy blast. He kinda plays second banana to Jak, but everyone in those games does.

Moby from SSX is cocky and loud. Seeiah from SSX Tricky is the worst offender. A 70's style "foxy", "groovy" girl in bombastic clothing and with a loud attitude.

Those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head.

But if I use this article as the yardstick for measuring black stereotypes in games, I could list every single black character in every game under "Stereotype".

PS:
Vanessa Lewis rocks.
 

Snowpact

He is the Walrus
Oct 15, 2008
92
0
0
I applaud you. This article shoves a topic and a problem in the face of the industry that not many have noticed or cared about before. Great and, above all, truthful writing.
 

SinisterDeath

New member
Nov 6, 2006
407
0
0
Morrowind/Oblivion both have an entire race of black people who aren't your stereotypical 'gangsta' black men. Nor do they all have fro's or corn rows.
They aren't all ignornat, violent, angry blackmen.

Probably the only thing that could be said is, there culture is probably one that is a 'medeval white culture' with black skin.

If you can't make yourself in Oblivion, you just aren't trying hard enough...

Fallout 3? Yea, that ones a lil harder, mostly cause there character creation sucks compared to oblivions.