White Guy, Brown Hair

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As you probably know, the above describes just about every human video-game protagonist from every game ever made ever. Whenever this gets brought up, you always hear the same excuses: most gamers and game-designers are white men, so of course most protagonists are going to reflect that, it's a non-issue, blah blah blah... you get the picture. Still, the fact remains that there's a pretty staggering lack of diversity in skin colour, or even hair colour among gaming's heroes. Hell, I can't remember the last time I played a game with a lead character who was blond, or red-headed for that matter (well, okay, there was Ellen from Folklore, but you only played her for half the game.)

So, in the interest of exploring the little variety there is to be found in the AAA gaming market, how many games have you played with a non-white and/or non-brown haired human protagonist?

PS: Try to stick to real hair colours. Characters with pink or blue hair, for example, do not count.

Over 1 million.

Over 1 million to the power of 1 million.

That many, this high.

Duke Nukem. Mario. Pretty much any of the countless games with an Asian protagonist.

Cut it out with the man-hate threads. It's getting tiresome.

I'm pretty sure Leon from Resident Evil 4 was blonde.

aestu:
Duke Nukem. Mario. Pretty much any of the countless games with an Asian protagonist.

Cut it out with the man-hate threads. It's getting tiresome.

Agreed. They're trending right now, it seems.

I've played countless games where the protagonist is not a white man with brown hair. Do I give a fuck? No. I'd rather have a game where the character is white with brown hair and interesting (read; Niko Bellic), than a game where the developers made him/her a minority/slightly different "just 'cause").

HEY! What do you have against pink and blue haired people?

To answer the question: A lot. A lot with too, so whatever.

In quite a few games you don't get to see the characters appearance in detail, such as halo or limbo. I haven't finished Amnesia yet but so far I don't know what Danial looks like. But to answer the question, looking at my games there's bastion, FF13, crackdown, perfect dark, N3 and probably some others.

Metal Gear Sold 4. His hair is gray. In all seriousness a lot, it is common but to say every game protagonist is like that is silly.

Quite a few people ARE white guys with brown hair, why can't some video game characters also be this? If one of the common stereotypes for a western person was instead an anime esque guy with white hair and a srs face on all the time, I bet the same thread would be made about so many JRPGs.

Link has blonde hair. In one game he has pink hair. Travis Touchdown has black hair, Enoch has blonde hair, Jackie Estacado has black hair, Geralt has white hair, and Adam Jensen has black hair.

But hair colour is a fairly minor detail when it comes down to this. It's the fact that most characters are white 30-something muscle-bound males with blank faces. I agree that this character bias in games is an issue, but the thing that pisses me off most isn't that they're all the same race and gender, it's that they all just look so god damned boring! They all have the same dull emotionless featureless faces that are completely indistinguishable from each other if you take away clothes and hair. And to make things worse, lots of these characters are going without hair now too. They're just so dull. It's so rare that we see characters in games that are actually compelling any more.

aestu:
Duke Nukem. Mario. Pretty much any of the countless games with an Asian protagonist.

Cut it out with the man-hate threads. It's getting tiresome.

Not for nothing but Mario is a white guy with brown hair.

Not saying I disagree with you, just pointing that out.

wintercoat:
Not for nothing but Mario is a white guy with brown hair.

Not saying I disagree with you, just pointing that out.

Mario is Italian and his hair is black.

The mustache never lies.

Let's ask a different question.

Why is it a problem that most male protagonists are white-skinned, brown-haired men, but it is not a problem that most female protagonists are white women, usually blonde?

Funny enough, there is a direct correlation between feminists and women getting into gaming and the increase in racial/ethnic homogeny in video gaming.

Think back, for example, to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, which was written entirely by white men, almost entirely for white (and Asian) men, but featured not only one of the most diverse casts in history, not only diverse but culturally plausible.

For some reason it has never occured to any feminist to uphold characters like Santiago or Godwinson or Deidre as good female protagonists. And certainly they were not perfect - they had typically female flaws, amongst them brittleness - but one could just as easily say the same about Zahkarov or Yang or Morgan - they had typically male flaws such as callousness and desire to dominate...

Or most classic Final Fantasy games, which featured fairly substantial physical diversity even amongst characters without outrageously colored hair.

In fact, non-white women and women with brown or black hair are far less common than non-white men. This, to me, is really just proof that race is far more powerful in human bias than gender. And that white women are ridiculously overprivileged. And that overprivilege is a driving force in portrayals in video games.

aestu:

wintercoat:
Not for nothing but Mario is a white guy with brown hair.

Not saying I disagree with you, just pointing that out.

Mario is Italian and his hair is black.

The mustache never lies.

He's always portrayed as a Caucasian with brown hair.

He's also from Brooklyn, N.Y., so his skin tone leaning away from Mediterranean and more toward Caucasian is believable.

We shouldn't judge people solely by their skin (and hair) colour and claim a lack of diversity.

For example, if we take the white skinned/brown haired protagonists of the Grand Theft Auto games, namely Claude, Tommy Vercetti, Niko Bellic and Johnny Klebitz and look beyond their skin colour, we'd see that one is Caucasian(?), one is Italian-American, one is East European (Serbian?) and one is Jewish, which is a surprising amount of diversity for four characters that are apparently all the same.

While it may be true that a lot of protagonists look the same from a distance, there's a lot more to characters than their looks (especially when you reduce the characters down to factors as minor as their skin and hair pigmentation).

Jamash:
We shouldn't judge people solely by their skin (and hair) colour and claim a lack of diversity.

*thumbs up*

EDIT: You spell "color" with a "u"...you're one of THOSE people...

aestu:
Cut it out with the man-hate threads. It's getting tiresome.

Congratulations, you win the "Crow in a Discoball Factory" award for complete inability to pay attention. This thread has nothing to do with feminism or "man-hate."

Prince of Persia: The Prince is Persian.
Tales of Legendia: Senel has white hair.
Tales of Destiny: Stahn has blonde hair.
Tales of Destiny 2: Kyle has blonde hair.
Tales of the Abyss: Luke has red hair.
Tales of Innocence: Veigue has silver hair.
Tales of Vesperia: Yuri has purple hair.
Tales of Graces f: Asbel has red hair.
Tales of Xillia: Jude has black hair.
White Knight Chronicles: Leonard has red hair.
The Legend of Zelda: Link has blonde hair.
Prototype 2: What's his face is black.
Ninja Gaiden: Ryu is Asian.
Final Fantasy VII: Cloud has blonde hair.
Final Fantasy IX: Zidane has blonde hair.
Final Fantasy X: Tidus has blonde hair.
Final Fantasy XII: Vaan has blonde hair.
Assassin's Creed 2/Brotherhood/Revelations: Ezio is Italian.
Hunted: Caddoc is bald.
Resident Evil 5: Sheva is black.
Mirror's Edge: Faith is Asian.

I could add several more if the OP wasn't restricting this to human protagonists.

Question: Why do I have to deal with Captcha on literally EVERY single response I make? If you want to cut down on spam, cool. But there's a point when you're needlessly badgering humans.

aestu:

-Drifter-:
Congratulations, you win the "Crow in a Discoball Factory" award for complete inability to pay attention. This thread has nothing to do with feminism or "man-hate."

aestu:
Why is it a problem that most male protagonists are white-skinned, brown-haired men, but it is not a problem that most female protagonists are white women, usually blonde?

In fact, non-white women and women with brown or black hair are far less common than non-white men...

I'm... really not sure what you're getting at. My point was that there's a general lack of diversity in games, not that it only matters when men are involved.

And yet your query, the title of this thread, is exclusive to men.

Kinda shot yourself in the foot there OP, the hair at least gets switched up every so often.
Now a "30 - something white guy" thing... well that covers damn near everyone (also in movies and comics), and yes it is rather dull, but understandable because the designers are usually 30 - something white nerds who like to imagine themselves superheroes, that for once get The girl.

Mr.K.:
Kinda shot yourself in the foot there OP, the hair at least gets switched up every so often.
Now a "30 - something white guy" thing... well that covers damn near everyone (also in movies and comics), and yes it is rather dull, but understandable because the designers are usually 30 - something white nerds who like to imagine themselves superheroes, that for once get The girl.

Eventually this discussion will drop the age restriction and the gender and just ask how many non-white protagonists have you played as the main character in a video game

My response aside from Japanese games would be Chell from portal...and thats it

Midgeamoo:
Quite a few people ARE white guys with brown hair, why can't some video game characters also be this? If one of the common stereotypes for a western person was instead an anime esque guy with white hair and a srs face on all the time, I bet the same thread would be made about so many JRPGs.

It's not that protagonists or characters can't be. It's that most of the "western market" is made up of Player Characters that are this, and thats honestly not an accurate reflection of the world in which we live.

Looking at video games you'd think 90% of the world was 30-white and chiseled....and certainly that last part ain't the case(and I purposely used ain't there). It's just kind of boring after awhile...changing a character alters perspective and narrative. Think about there are some things people feel comfortable bringing up to females, or males based on their respective gender. A person could make a ginger or dumb-blonde joke about a close friend that could add levity to something serious. The way a world may approach the generic 30-something year old brown haired dude could be completely different to how the world would treat a 30 something year old black guy, or a 50 year old white guy. Subtle differences can add something rich to the story. to quote a friend of mine "white people are so generic" :P

Back to the OP's question...not gonna lie, whenever I can make a character I make a female character who is black, with dark black hair or white hair.
In terms of premade characters there's FF7, Leon from Resident Evil 4, Left for Dead gives you choices so I change, Mario, Luigi, Link, the Agatha Christie Poirot games, Any of the protagonists in the Golden Sun series, those are all I can think of without actually looking through my collection

aestu:
snip

>calls Americans 'mongrels'
>proceeds to call Americans racist

I hope you can see the massive hypocrisy of that statement.

Hazy992:
>calls Americans 'mongrels'
>proceeds to call Americans racist

I hope you can see the massive hypocrisy of that statement.

There's nothing hypocritical about it. Ironic perhaps, but not hypocritical.

As a 30 something white male with brown hair*, I have to say I'm fairly bored of the same old.

Usually whenever I have the option I play as something as far removed from myself as possible, just to get some variety into my gaming.

* Well, mostly no hair, to be honest, but when I'm too lazy to shave it comes out brown.

aestu:

Hazy992:
>calls Americans 'mongrels'
>proceeds to call Americans racist

I hope you can see the massive hypocrisy of that statement.

There's nothing hypocritical about it. Ironic perhaps, but not hypocritical.

Calling people out for being racist then being racist yourself is absolutely hypocritical.

aestu:

Hazy992:
>calls Americans 'mongrels'
>proceeds to call Americans racist

I hope you can see the massive hypocrisy of that statement.

There's nothing hypocritical about it. Ironic perhaps, but not hypocritical.

Mixed-race people (such as myself) get really annoyed when the term "mongrel" is applied to humans. Just a heads up.

Hazy992:

There's nothing hypocritical about it. Ironic perhaps, but not hypocritical.

Calling people out for being racist then being racist yourself is absolutely hypocritical.

You are proving my point.

"American" is a nationality - not a race.

Americans are of diverse birth, including white Americans, which typically have lineage from multiple distinct European ethnic groups. Hence, "mongrel" is a perfectly accurate term to describe these people.

And fwiw it is true of black Americans too, who typically have ancestors from several ethnic groups in Africa (hence some black Americans have the gene for steatopygia, which is actually not present in the black African populations that contributed most of the genetic material, but is endemic to another sub-group in Africa called the Khoisa). And yet, as with white Americans, what really distinguishes them is not the color of their skin but the fact they speak English and are inculated with the American culture (such as it is).

So why jump to seeing the issue through the lens of race?

XMark:
Mixed-race people (such as myself) get really annoyed when the term "mongrel" is applied to humans. Just a heads up.

Why?

aestu:
You are proving my point.

"American" is a nationality - not a race.

Americans are of diverse birth, including white Americans, which typically have lineage from multiple distinct European ethnic groups. Hence, "mongrel" is a perfectly accurate term to describe these people.

So why jump to seeing the issue through the lens of race?

No it's not, 'mongrel' typically applies to dogs so calling a group of people mongrels is just being offensive. It's like calling someone a half-breed.

I honestly don't know how you're getting away with the things you've been saying.

-Drifter-:
how many games have you played with a non-white and/or non-brown haired human protagonist?

Lots. Can't really count them. But consider this - white skinned people usually form the majority of population where the developers have lived. Also, white people would usually form the majority of population where the game is set. Same goes for black hair, unless the game is set on the Scandinavian peninsula or something (I can't think of any games set there. Not counting Skyrim).

So you're actually asking why so many protagonists come from the majority of the population. I think we can all see why, because they are the statistically most likely. But I guess people would still complain if only blacks/Asians/blonds/whatever seemed to roam the USA in games. There is no pleasing of people.

Hazy992:
No it's not, 'mongrel' typically applies to dogs so calling a group of people mongrels is just being offensive. It's like calling someone a half-breed.

Why do you find that offensive?

aestu:

Hazy992:
No it's not, 'mongrel' typically applies to dogs so calling a group of people mongrels is just being offensive. It's like calling someone a half-breed.

Why do you find that offensive?

Because you're comparing a group of people to dogs, implying they're like animals and because you see them as 'half-breed' it implies some level of inferiority.

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