First an foremost, this is an opinionated post, Therefore if you believe otherwise then ill gladly discuss this within the comments.
As a gamer, I’ve played video games and loved them my whole life. I remember my first Pokemon game. I remember picking a Charmander and going through my entire generation one journey all the way to generation 7. Yes at 25 years old I still play and enjoy playing Pocket Monsters and will never grow out of it. At this very moment of writing this piece, I am playing another one of my favorite series, Fire Emblem. Video games have been an integral piece of my existence and have been feverishly significant in pop culture. They create escapism, teach life lessons and allow people to imagine and create vast new worlds that are representations of the imagination we can control. Like movies in the palms of our hands that are far more interactive and tell compelling stories, we can relate to and build upon.
The only problem is, they lack diversity. When I say they lack diversity I mean the main characters lack diversity. Some of my favorite characters in video games look nothing like me at times and that becomes hard to truly immerse myself into the full-on escapism of the video game. For example, one of my favorite video game series, Resident evil’s titular characters, Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy are awesome renditions of heroes. However, I cannot relate to these men because they don’t look like me. This limits my experience as playing the role of a zombie slayer in survival horror is diminished slightly. I still enjoy the video game don’t get me wrong, However, I would love to see a black or Latino main character experience the American survival horror experience. No Resident Evil 5 doesn’t count completely, the setting was in Africa, and that has its own controversies that can be addressed in its own post.
The main point I’m seeking to make is that Diversity in video games is necessary for this new age. And not in some stereotypical sense. Like a 2k or madden. I would love to see a black Nathan Drake like the uncharted series, A black devil hunter or alien slayer. Someone to carry their own series with character growth trials and tribulations. Imagine the impact a Black Dante would have or having the main character of a Call of Duty game being Latino or Asian or black. Not only would it represent the growth of culture and diversity, but it would greatly inspire and influence youths to enjoy and believe in the experience they’re enjoying.
Video games are a means to escape and connect with the rest of the world. People make best friends and meet their loved ones through gaming. Its time we added diversity in games, more main characters that are LGBTQ. More main characters that represent different people and tell stories that involve fighting different types of oppression and obstacle overcoming.
Side note, I’m aware of the fact that in order to do so, more diverse gamers need to get into the field. However, it shouldn’t have to be that way. There can be polls, people game developers asking their communities what they wish to see then going out to hire storytellers and game designers to create these games that sell. The growth goes two ways. We need more people inside that look like us and share our experiences, but we also need more of those on the inside to reach out to find new concepts.
In that, we can reach more diversity in the gaming realm.