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Why are Characters Always so White...?

I find myself querying this from time to time when playing games (in a totally non-racist way) and it makes me wonder about why developers make characters the way they do � like why are so many videogame characters white? Why are so many leads male? Why does a female lead have to be sexy, thin and attractive?

It's not so much a question about where these videogame conventions come from � I can make a fair guess about why female characters tend to look sexy, thin and attractive, and why male characters tend to be white with short hair � but rather a question about why so many developers decide to stick to these conventions.

I'll start by saying this isn't a huge issue for me, I'm relatively new to the Cblogs but generally when I write about proper subjects (i.e. intelligently) I usually take the position that there's a specific problem and a specific solution, in this case that's not so true. It's more about the opinion I have that games probably would be much more interesting if we had more diversity in characters whether good or bad diversity.

So when I say 'why am I always white?' or 'why am I always a hot sexy lady in a game?' what am I referring to? Chances are you probably already know what I'm on about or atleast have noticed but never really payed much attention to the types of characters you tend to 'be' in videogames. Typically they're quite different from most 'normal' people � they're incredibly attractive, witty, always active and focused, and for some reason no matter what happens their hair stays perfect!!!

I'm talking about stuff like this:

Don't get me wrong I hate old people as much as the next guy, but they do sort of feel under-represented in games somewhat � sure you get the odd one, but come on there's are loads of the buggers out there!

To be quite honest I don't really know where old people could specifically 'fit' into games � I'm sure must people would be creeped out by elderly love interests and nobody wants to play as an old person because you'd probably be really slow and tired a lot. I guess if somebody wanted to do either of those ideas they might sell a few more copies ...

Yeah... ok, so maybe not.

But generally I think they sort of fall into the same catchment as the rest of the groups that I've talked about - even though I can't immediately see potential areas where older leads could be implemented (since, let's face it most games are about doing really active, exciting things), it's still possible that say a detective game like LA Noire, or a movie game like Heavy Rain, could feature prominent older characters who could add some character to a game.

I think the problem is developers tend to focus on making games as if they were porn - everything has to be appealing to the eye: the graphics, the controls, the interface, the story, the characters. Things have to grab you immediately and make you WOW! otherwise they're not considered good enough, when what we really need to develop is a sense that games can be more mature, and potentially less visually attractive (less models running about in skimpy clothing, less male action heroes) yet still be intellectually and creatively attractive - because afterall uniqueness and originality can be just as much of a pull as the superficial aspects of a game, they just do it much more subtly.
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About Panzadolphin56one of us since 9:54 AM on 05.06.2011

Oh hey!

I'm former male model and celebrity nutritionist Panzadolphin56. This is my blog. I write things here.

...in case the blog bit didn't give that away.

Anyway! To the left you'll find my latest blogs, and beneath this you'll find a fairly comprehensive list of most of what I've written over the years (unfortunately some stuff does eventually get bumped off the list.)

I like to write from a fairly critical standpoint about games, usually analysis or talking about issues that interest me, I also do retrospectives from time to time, talk about games I've been playing, write the funny things that come into my head, and very occasionally do some crappy art.

I hope you enjoy what you read!

I also do Lets Plays (mostly old horror games) so if that's your thing then click here:


Everyone who clicks will not win a million dollars!


A little about me:

I am mostly a story person, good mechanics are good mechanics but button pressing never does anything for me. I like Horror, I like Cyberpunk, I like Neo-Noir (especially crossed with Cyberpunk), I like good art and good writing, I like games that cut against the grain or choose to challenge social or industry norms in some way.

I don't have a single favourite game but I am a big fan of the MGS games, Snatcher, the Forbidden Siren series, Silent Hill 2, the old-school Resident Evils, Advance Wars and Power Dolls, among many, many others.


Critical Pieces:

How ugly should Horror really be?
Of Inventories and Horror Games
Crafting A Good Game of 'The Thing'
Alien(s), Creative license and Borrowed Ideas
Crossing from TV/Movie to Games
Scope and Depth in the world of gaming
Boss Battles - When do they ever make sense?
Survival Horror Essentials
Colonial Marines: Well, that kind of sucked...
Disability, Disease in Games
Blood 2 and Post-Modernism
Topics, Tropes and Atmosphere in Horror games
Realism Vs. Fantasy - Who Wins?
The gradual drift away from the mainstream
Is There Horror in The Ugly...?
The Fourth Wall and taking games seriously
Are You Always Online?
Hype: Aliens Vs. Predator
To shoot stuff or not to shoot stuff?
Character Design and Choice in Games
Culture Vs. Creativity: Where do Stories come from?
Where you go Isometric-Strategy Games?
What's the Point of Games?
Do Horror games even still exist...?
Why are Characters Always so White...?
Choice in Games: Heavy Rain

A Magical Dolphin Plays:

The King of the Wood


Resident Evil Remake
Aliens Vs Predator 2
Sweet Home
Forbidden Siren
System Shock 2

Pick up and Plays:

Call of Cthulhu and the Spectre of Good Horror
Story Books and Nightmares in Rule of Rose
B-Movie Bliss: Extermination
Along for the ride with Michigan: Report From Hell
Some thoughts on Wargame: European Escalation
Skyrim: Impressions

Funny/Less Critical Stuff:

Get Yo Summer Game On
Lazyblog: Box Art
Escaping into the Darkness of Hellnight
Diversity what what?!?: Black Mamba Edition
Why Do We Still Have Exploding Barrels...?


Dead Space 3, in a nut shell.
CROSSOVER: Mario X Siren
Boss: Learning the Tools of the Trade

Front Pages:
Tales from Skyrim: The skinhead shopkeep
Steam ID:Panzadolphin56
Mii code:This is a thing?


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