Stereotypes are something we all live with in our daily lives, but why is it that they also seem to pop up in our virtual lives as well? The vast majority of games that have come out have characters so typecast that it is almost laughable. For instance, whenever you play a military game there are 3 things that are always there (4 including the player). The Heroic guy (who usually dies), the one sarcastic/psychotic guy that had a rough life and does something stupid that you end up having to bail them out of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there’s a geek. We all know who generally comprises that group, but that’s not who I want to talk about, I want to talk more about the Non playable characters (NPC’s) that we see in games. If you see an Italian/Jamaican/Russian in a game he’s automatically a mobster (unless it’s a Mario Bro’s game). If he’s Black or Hispanic we have a gang banger (that speaks nothing but slang). Asian means he’s super smart or a damn ninja (but can’t speak anything but broken English). If his religious background is Muslim he’s a terrorist (you guys do know that Muslim is a religion, not a race right?) I know I’m being overly broad but I can name at least 5 blockbusters not including Call of Duty or Battlefield games where this is true. ALSO as a side note, I’m going to include games that have creatures/races that represent these stereotypes as well.
1. World of WarCraft
The Panda’s = Asian’s
The Trolls = People from the Carribeans
2. Final Fantasy 7
Barret Wallace = Black male that only speaks slang
3. Elder Scrolls
The Redguard – If you talk people tell you “how well you speak”
Rico Velasquez – Angry Hispanic and Black guy. 2 for 1 here.
5. Deus Ex
Letitia – Speaks like a freed slave.
So what is it about stereotypes that permeate even the video game industry? It’s just curious as to why these are still acceptable? These things I mentioned are not to say that the games themselves are not great games, but do we really have to have these negative stereotypes still in games despite all the creativity that resides in game development teams? Or is it to make the games more believable that these stereotypes exist? Comments?