Gaming While Black
Video games, unlike its contemporaries, has the distinct ability to be an active form of entertainment. This means that people get to take part in the narrative or make choices with how the story and characters behave in the medium. This gives video games the ability to elicit strong feeling of empathy simply due to the act of gameplay. Gameplay also allows for the players to be a part of power fantasies and, in the world of video games, one that is devoid of the rules and regulations as well as the history of the real world. One would think this would be the best place for a black man to experience a power fantasy. Sadly, that is not as common as one would presume.
BAYEK – ASSASSIN’S CREED ORIGINS
Bayek of Siwa (born c. 85 BCE), also known by the alias Amun, was one of the last Medjay of Egypt and the founder of the Hidden Ones alongside his wife, Aya. Before the death of his son, Khemu, Bayek was a caring and loving father and husband, as well as a dutiful protector to his home of Siwa. He possessed a lighthearted and jovial nature, as well as a strong sense of responsibility and duty for those who needed protection. He was also very religious and would often teach his son about the gods and how they shaped daily life within the kingdom. Despite this, however, he claimed to never see eye to eye with priests, often condemning their greed and their pursuit of money and power.
LEE EVERETT – THE WALKING DEAD
Lee from Telltale Games’ the Walking Dead has been praised as one of the best black video game characters. The game is known for giving the players the choice of they experience the apocalypse through Lee, and that he comes across as just a natural character trying survive Both Lee and Clementine set the bar for entertainment with such incredible character development.
AUGUSTUS COLE - GEARS OF WAR
Private Augustus “Cole Train” Cole is a gritty and hard-hitting character within the Gears of War
franchise. His bulk and skill have served him well in the many battlefields he has faced, but his character is so much more than his tough exterior shows. Arguably his best attributes are his manners, respect, selflessness, and humility. He has rejected every military promotion he has been offered and remains to be one of the most reliable and honourable characters in gaming.
BARRET WALLACE - FINAL FANTASY
When we think of passionate and complex characters, you cannot look past Final Fantasy’s Barret Wallace. His good heart and caring nature are mirrored with brute strength and brash attitude. Each of these traits makes for a perfect mix when fighting for the planet, and of course for the apple of his eye, his daughter Marlene. Barret is a passionate and emotionally-driven leader, caring deeply about his cause and his teammates. His energetic, rousing speeches motivate his team, whose burdens he promises to lift. Barret's passion is a double-edged sword, and can lead him to be reckless, such as when he becomes too aggressive and causes a scene on a train, when he puts himself in harm's way urging the team to attack Shinra's headquarters head-on, and when he almost kills the Shinra executives while stowed away on the cargo ship. Barret strives to be strong for others, which can mean concealing some feelings that occasionally slip through, from hidden concerns for Cloud's well-being, to his fear of heights. In addition to his teammates, Barret is attached to his daughter, Marlene. He is torn between his role as a father and his cause to protect the planet, wishing he could be with her all the time, but realizing he must fight for her future. Upon realizing she understands this, Barret remarks she is tougher than he is.
SHEVA ALOMAR - RESIDENT EVIL 5
In Resident Evil 5 (2009), as the sidekick to Chris Redfield, Sheva shows time and time again that she is not only a formidable fighter, shooter, and soldier, but she also means well and does everything she can to protect the impoverished and forgotten residents in her hometown of Kijuju. Never one to back down from a fight (against both zombies and humans), Sheva is one tough cookie and provides a solid lead for Resident Evil 5. Throughout the game, a determined Sheva insists on gunning down hordes of her ill-fated people for the greater good. Sheva is shown to be extremely loyal to her fellow BSAA comrades. When Chris was planning on continuing the mission in Africa, Sheva tried to talk him out of it out of concern for his safety. However, after hearing that Chris was in Africa to not only complete the mission, but also because his old partner, Jill Valentine, who was thought to be dead is still alive and somewhere in Africa, Sheva resolved to continue the mission with Chris.
MASTER RAVEN - TEKKEN 7
This fighting game character got stuck with the most unflattering name, didn’t she? But to give credit where credit is due, Master Raven is a futuristic ninja and high ranking official who works
for the United Nations, with plenty of subordinates under her thumb, who operate in the field on covert, dangerous missions. Making her playable debut in Tekken 7 (2019) as the first Black female fighter in the series, she would replace the Tekken veteran and Wesley Snipes look alike Raven. A character mind you, who is her subordinate and she shares the same fighting style with. Very little is known about Master Raven. Nevertheless, the fighter appears to have a cold attitude and seems to take her mission seriously, as she says: "Mission accomplished" when winning a battle.
IKORA RAY - DESTINY 2
Destiny 2 was released in 2017 and introduced multiple characters, though none more memorable than the bald headed woman, Ikora Rey, a Warlock Vanguard who serves as one of the main characters in the game and is very important to the central plot. Whether fighting in the Crucible or taking on solo missions, Ikora is a determined warrior who will survive against all odds. Her experience on the battlefield earned her an abundance of knowledge and newfound respect among her peers. Nevertheless, she has a reputation for being scary, including a rumour that she can turn people into frogs.