Top 3 Black Characters in Gaming

I gave myself some rules to follow while making this list. Primarily the characters have to be fictional so no one who is actually a real person could make it. Also if a character is in the  “best” kind of caliber it generally steers away from bad stereotypes. Although sometimes it’s a little unavoidable (just because games are an art form and we often use stereotypes or classifications to make it). I had a lot of trouble picking a top 3 black characters which I’ll go ahead and assume it’s because there just aren’t a lot of them and most of them are portrayed very bad. I’d almost call it racist how some of the characters are derived. But the following characters chosen break through those limitations and become what any great character hopes to be, a human being showing heights of what we all could become, regardless of race.

Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson (The Halo Series): When gamers first got a glimpse of Sgt. Johnson in the original Halo the initial thoughts about him was that he’s just that lovable asshole in charge of some Marines. But by the end of the Trilogy (and several death escapes) you learn that he’s one of the few people in the galaxy that you (Master Chief) can call a friend and when the chips finally fall, he sacrifices every thing while literally spitting in the face of adversity to save not just all of humanity but every living thing in the galaxy.

Helena Dolph Jackson or “Fortune” (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty): It was hard enough to find great black characters but when I found one she happens to be a fantastic black female character (probably the hardest mix to find in gaming) I knew I found something special. Fortune is a fantastic example of Kojima’s ability to make great characters. The worst part is she’s just a boss in the game but when it comes down to it she is super interesting. She has lost everyone close to her including a potential child and is ready for revenge for the death of her father by killing Solid Snake (You-ish). Her unfortunate luck in her personal life she believes has directly effected her unexplainable good fortune to achieve anything on the battlefield even though she isn’t trained in combat at all. After the loss of her father, mother, husband and her unborn child the only thing she has left is the battle itself.

Rodin (Bayonetta): Understanding anything about the story line in Bayonetta is a test of anyone’s cognitive skills. But when you look at the fallen angle Rodin, there is a lot to really dig into. He’s lived an eternity defending Paradiso (Heaven) but had grown so powerful that he was exiled and now is a bartender for “The Gates of Hell” and helping both sides of the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Honorable Mention:

Black Boxer (Atari’s Boxing): Yeah, I know I’m stretching a bit here. The designers probably didn’t mean to make it a black person vs. a white person. But c’mon it’s about as obvious as it gets to think about it that way. This game is probably the best metaphor for equal rights we have in gaming. The game has a white and black boxer. They are both equally powerful and even shaped the exact same way. One is just a different color than the other. Just like in real life.

Bryan Belcher

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