First things first only white males can be multiple types of characters, from silent bad asses to whiny cry babies
Bad ass with a PhD
Cry Baby with daddy issues
Otherwise characters will fit into some pretty cliched blocks. I discussed female characters in more detail but the short list is:
- Kind hearted healer
- Goth dominatrix type
- slutty theif
There are other odd tendencies
I didn’t use african american because it doesnt’ refer only to American blacks.
- Heavy weapons
- in a modern setting they’re guys with the big machine gun or the like, in fantasy medival settings they’ll have a hammer or similar
Characters typically will be the physically strongest and most gifted with the least magic/tech skill
Even good games fall into this like the Elder Scroll series where the Red Guard are one of the top combat races with less magic, though that’s balanced by having the nords who are about the same just balanced more towards strength than speed
What’s that? he’s also a rapper? MY you’ve hit a two for one sale!
Nimble only never strong, always the tech guys
In shooters they’ll be the guy on the team good at decryption or electronic locks and explosives
Latin American characters
Painfully under represented actually, hard to get too much of a read, but always have heavy accents and seem to have limited patience.
Exceptions and Yeah Buts
One the stereotypes change as you cross national boundaries. In japan Americans are always brash and recently fat
Brash and fat? you hit a twofer
Surprisingly a different character
The Thing about generalizations
I’m not claiming this is how every case is and there aren’t good characters just that thanks to the nature of the industry some unfortunate racial and gender assumptions we make and generally shallow (but that’s been changing) writing in games a lot of characters are cliches based on race and gender.
One series with subtle writing that avoids this? Left 4 Dead
- Coach is a big guy, but a fatherly figure not a gruff world fucker with a hammer who raps, he’s more of a good old boy
- Rochelle is authoritative without being bitchy, bit of a team mom but not really
- Louis is the team nerd, the office worker out of his depth with Francis being the big hulking scary guy
There are lots of other exceptions, but when writers get lazy they fall into these pre-molded stereotypes and cliches, someone wiser than me can analyze why we find these stereotypes believable and repeatable.
- unemployedacademic posted this