However as time went on so did the advancements in gaming. Characters were no longer just spaceships or points but actual people. There was colour in the gaming world and not just black and white.
With all of this advancement did diversity grow in the gaming world?
Let’s start back at the beginning again. The backdrop of the game was black while the characters on screen were just outlined in white. That was as far as technology could take them at that point and it was fair enough. There was no way in determining whether or not the ship was a female or what color the bad guys were. It was pretty straightforward. (And if you make a big deal out of this, then there is no way to save you.)
Amy Rose was entirely pink.
With the quick advancements in gaming and hardware, we eventually got PC, X-Box, PlayStation, the Wii, hand-held devices and Virtual Reality headsets. These are all platforms that are well known for video games but have been scrutinised relentlessly for being very white-wash with the characters.
Major AAA titles (such as CoD, Bioshock and Halo) mainly have white characters. Albeit, Call of Duty is a bit white-washed due to its time frame within history (Sadly, high-end operations would be given to people who were white of color during World War II.) With Bioshock, the main characters are white, but this is due to the circumstances of the game where racism is extreme. The main character of Halo, Master Chief, is white.
This also applies to PlayStation exclusive games. Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls are all incredibly white washed.
What about the LGBT community?
There has been very little focus on this from my experience but I think that should be enough to show its lack of representation. It’s often stereotyped, out of jest or characters question their sexuality momentarily. You often find games with heavy sexual content to lean towards your stereotypical straight relationship that could be sexual or not.
But have there been improvements?
Surprisingly, GTA has always been a diverse game series. The playable characters range from white, Hispanic, Chinese, and of course, Black Americans. The good thing about the GTA plot lines is that the character’s race isn’t that important. They are people and that’s all. However, GTA is game of satire and is not to be taken seriously in the first place. The fact that a satirical game has more diversity than hundreds of other ground-breaking games says something about game developers.
In more recent years, there has been a movement in allowing diverse characters to take the scene. In The Walking Dead (TellTale Game Series), two of the main characters, in season one, were black with one of the being a strong, well-developed black girl. In The Last of Us, there was representation of the LGBT community as it was revealed through a DLC pack that *spoiler* Ellie, one of the main characters in the game, is actually a lesbian. She is also an independent, strong character.
However, one thing you should remember is the fact that there should be a bit of an exception. Not all countries are as diverse as the US and the UK. Do not give Nintendo shit because Mario and Luigi are white, they are Italian-American. They are bound to be white as Italy is a predominantly white country. Don’t forget about the rest of the light-skinned characters in Super Smash Bros. It’s either they are light-skinned or they’re an animal.
Give game developers shit for not representing your people properly.
Give game developers shit because they don’t represent your gender or sexuality.
Give game developers shit because the game is shit.
-Words by Jessica and Illustrations by Trisha