It’s hard for me to understand why I find so many people online and on social media are outraged by women or persons of color taking on lead roles in video games. It boggles the mind, and I’m not just saying this because I’m black. I’m saying this as a fan of video games. Developers choosing to add a diverse cast of characters or main leads who are female, black, gay, transgender, etc. break up the monotony of playing as the same type of generic character that developers usually stick to.
In all honesty, the plain generic white male character is boring. I don’t say this because they are white men. I say this because we have seen their type over and over again. They are the ever lovable sarcastic assholes or the tough-as-nails loner action hero. These characters don’t necessarily need to die, we just need something different and that comes from people of diverse backgrounds creating characters in their own image.
Most of the arguments I see on Twitter amount people calling journalists, developers, and other gamers Social Justice Warriors (SJW), who are trying to implement their agenda into video games. Is that not art? Am I confused? Should video games not be used as a medium to express thoughts, opinions, and state a message? If all of these questions are wrong, then how is anyone suppose to take video games seriously? If games are to be seen as an art form, then it cannot avoid topics of dissension just because it makes an individual uncomfortable.
One of the most unsettling things I have seen is people claiming to cancel their pre-orders of Horizon: Zero Dawn because it features a woman and it “supports a feminist agenda.” That is not enough to dismiss a game, especially one you haven’t played. You can’t form an opinion about something without experiencing it. Also, what moral compass do you follow that justifies speaking against the subjects of equality, rights, and human decency?
This is not an attack on white men. Minority groups just want more of their character in video games. Adding more characters of color, female characters, or those with a variety of sexual orientation does not exclude you. If anything, white male protagonists still make up a large majority of video games, and sadly, that may never change. It sad, representation matters and people of different backgrounds have their own stories to tell.