My Hero

Most protagonists in video games will be a type of Hero. And as mentioned in a previous post, the hero will have a goal which enables to channel their personality through. With the help of Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames, the personality section explains the position of a hero and different types. I also looked through the book 1000 game heroes, just to add visual flavor to the endless black and white squiggles. Interestingly, this book puts heroes in categories according to genre, classics (could also be based on nostalgia), Licensed heroes, strange and sexy. Although its not rich in information, it’s come in handy for visual research, and associating with stereotypes.

The Traditional Hero

Game Writing states that heroes come in all shapes and sizes (…yeah, sure.. if they’re not human) but then it does point out the most common to be of a traditional, strong, intelligent and noble type that goes about saving the weak, adventuring and restoring happiness. It then gives an example of Link from the Zelda series, who is in the magical category in 1000 games.
Link is devoted to Princess Zelda and goes through all sorts of adventures, including time travel. What I think puts Zelda in any sort of category of heroism is the nostalgic value he has both as a title and from a personal view of the player. As Zelda is a silent character, we see ourselves in him, running through the forest just like many of us at the time of playing would of done. Which is great because the idea came to Miyamoto’s mind when he thought back to his childhood, doing the same thing!
Batman! Super intelligent, super rich, and super buff. Bruce Wayne uses his wealth and intellect to create his super persona, Batman, in order to face his evil nemesis’ and protect his city. Being a comic hero, everyone already has a familiarity with Batman and understands his past, which leads to the empathy of players when fighting crime in the suit of Batman.

The Reluctant Hero

Now these heroes don’t willingly dress up in latex and tights to save the day but are actually thrown into their role, whether its to protect themselves or those around them, or just to do the right thing because for some reason (and according to the game) they’re the only ones who can do it.
Take Gordon Freeman from Half-Life, fighting his way through an experiment gone wrong in order to survive. Survival is one reason for players to feel involve, but I think its his physical appearance and job that makes him so likable and relatable. He has the classic association to what a ‘geek’ may look like, and as the audience seems to be of that type, players feel as though one of their people is finally in the spot light! And on top of that, he’s a total science nerd! Though this could be an offensive stereotype I’m putting out there, I will point out that its the most real one to relate to without having to emotionally scar the player and make them seem too out of the ordinary.

Another reluctant hero is Raziel, who is betrayed by his master Kain and condemned. Able to escape, but completely mutilated and eroded to the point of losing his lower jaw, Raziel swears vengeance on Kain, as he gains strength by sucking the souls of those he fight, he comes upon a secret which places Nosgoth (the kingdom Kain hails) on his shoulders, which makes him responsible for its safety.

Anti-Heroes

Like the reluctant hero, but to the extreme. These guys will have no intentions of being good, and will not always have dashing good looks; which emphasizes their absolute reluctance of doing something heroic. Take for instance Kratos, who again has been mentioned in previous posts. Although his main personal quest is to deal with the ones who have wronged him, his actions ultimately lead to the balance of the world.

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Racism in games

Racism seems to have been present in games much like any other kind of media. Whether its revolving the main character or someone you see in the streets for a mission benefiting chat, racism- at some level- will exist. This varies from real life races, and fictional be it in the past or future.
Discrimination has normally involved characters being placed in stereotypical roles. And the main subject tends to be of those from a rough background associated with crime, drugs and other dodgy areas being pinned on Black and Hispanic people, and middle eastern folks as terrorists. With this said, in most cases, white characters are almost always the hero, and if a minority is on the good side, they would normally only rank to supporting role and admire the hero.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution, is a great game with a great flaw in it. A homeless informant named Letitia almost throws you back completely when she starts talking. Many have expressed their offence when they hear her accent, and it is indeed something that puts Deus Ex a few steps back.
In Red Dead Redemption, we have the character Irish, who is the stereotypical embodiment of what and Irish man is apparently like.
There’s also Scribblenaughts, a completely harmless game, that when one inputs something will see it come to life. When the word ‘Sambo’ is typed, a watermelon appears. This is apparently racist towards black people as its a racial slur aimed at Africans.

From a personal view, if I ever enjoy or become a fan of a character, it’s because I like the characters personality, who they are and how they do things. I’m able to identify with them, but physically I can’t. Being Pakistani, I can’t really say that there are many protagonists that are the same race as me (unless in COD you choose what country’s side you’re in.)
We have eastern characters, such as Altair from the Assassins Creed series who is noted to be Arabian, the Prince from Prince of Persia, which is obvious where about he’s from. The Assassins Creed series even takes us to Turkey and introduces the lovable Yusuf. Deus Ex has the pilot Farida Malik.  But theses are literally the few that I can remember off the top of my head, and it’s sad that we don’t have many characters of a middle eastern race that can leave a bigger impression on us.
And I think that’s where the option of making a custom character is appreciated as there will be characters of different colors and races. But then comes the little hoohah of race within a fantasy game. Fantasy minorities have become an in-game tactic to bring in the same type of racism we see on the streets in real life. For example, in Dragon Age: Origins, elves are a victim to racial slurs, and though at first you might think “Aww, haha poor elves”, you’ll soon realize how life like this all actually is. We even have Dwarfs mistrusting Elves and its interesting how this kind of discrimination is almost needed in the game to make the world feel real to us. This also involves alien species having it in for each other as well, with the hate between Salarians and Krogans and the plan to destroy their kind and stop them from reproducing.

References:
Chad Hunter, Complex Gaming, The 15 Most Stereotypical Characters In Video Games: http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/05/the-15-most-stereotypical-characters-in-video-games/

Kirk Hamilton, Kotaku, The Weirdly Racist NPC in Deus Ex: Human Revolution: http://kotaku.com/5836692/that-weirdly-racist-npc-in-deus-ex-human-revolution

Duke Thibodeaux, AlterGamer, Don’t Be An Elf: Racism In Games: http://www.altergamer.com/racism-in-video-games/

Yi Mou and Wei Peng, Gender and Racial Sterotypes in Popular Video Games: https://www.msu.edu/~pengwei/Mou%20Peng.pdf

Peter Mai, OCWeekly, 7 Racist Video Games You Had No Idea Were Racist: http://blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality/2011/01/7_video_games_you_had_no_idea.php