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Home » Racialized and gendered identities in video games: Essay

Racialized and gendered identities in video games: Essay

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Games are a perfect example of how identities can be depicted with the help of different stereotypes. It is necessary to note that in the past, identities in games were more stereotypical and primitive than in the modern gaming industry. This change towards realism was caused predominantly by the development of technologies and the tendency to make games look like movies. Therefore, in the past, developers could use only primitive graphics and sound effects. Nowadays, there are numerous ways how they can depict these identities.

Racialized and gendered identities are based on different stereotypes. It doesn’t mean that stereotypes are bad. In most cases, they are good. For example, in many games, blacks are depicted as very strong and having great physical power. This tendency can be observed in fighting games. For example, in Mortal Kombat, a Black fighter named Jax has great physical power and is very masculine. Asians in games are depicted as very intelligent and smart. In addition, they are also great fighters. There is a strong image that Asians have great fighting skills, as there are numerous movies with Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee where they used great fighting skills to defeat their enemies. An example of this claim can also be found in Mortal Kombat. A character called Liu Kang uses the same fighting style as Bruce Lee and has a similar appearance. There is also a Black fighter in Tekken named Bruce Irvin, who has great physical power and impressive fighting skills. Whites in games are also stereotypical, and their behavior may vary depending on their ethnicity. Some modern movie-like games, like GTA, depict characters quite real, though there are still a lot of stereotypes. In different GTA games, numerous Blacks lived in bad neighborhoods and acted like gangsters. This image is also quite stereotypical. It also became widespread because of mass culture and rap music in particular. The way of depicting racialized identities in the game is strongly influenced by stereotypes, which are influenced by mass culture.

The same situation can be observed in relation to the depiction of gendered identities. In most games, women are depicted as weak and helpless. Moreover, in different games, the main objective of the main character is to save the female character. For example, in Mario’s game, the main objective is to defeat the dragon and save the princess. In-game Legend of Zelda, the main character is Link, who does his best to help save the princess. It is also interesting that nowadays, there is a tendency to make female characters quite strong and even stronger than male characters. For example, such games as Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge, Heavenly Sword, and Portal provide the possibility to play skillful and dangerous female characters. The increased role of women in society and the growing influence of feminism can explain this tendency. As for male characters, they are usually depicted as strong and aggressive. Male characters are dominating in most games. This can be explained by the fact that men like to play games more than women. Therefore, developers create male characters so a player can associate himself with a character and have a better gaming experience.

To sum up, racialized and gendered identities become more real each year. In numerous games, developers invite professional actors and use motion capture technology to make characters look real. Budgets in AAA games are often higher than in movies. Therefore some games like Heavy Rain, The Witcher, and Beyond Two Souls look even more real than movies. Therefore, it can be said that in the following years, characters in most games will be less influenced by stereotypes and become even more real than characters from movies.

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