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Characters Outraged Over Video Game Minority Report

Industry insiders are fuming over a new report that finds video games don’t have enough minority characters. “Why should only white men be virtually maimed?” the Characters Union asks.

By (@JRRaphael)

August 4, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

Video games are failing when it comes to equal opportunity character placement, according to a recent report issued by the University of Southern California. Researchers analyzed 150 popular games and found 80 percent of their significant characters were white. It’s not just ethnic minorities being excluded, either: Women, children, and senior citizens are featured far less frequently as main characters than adult men, the study says.

Fallout from the research has already begun to surface. The Video Game Characters Union held a press event in San Francisco early Tuesday morning. Numerous video game characters showed up to discuss the study and lash out against their diversity-shunning industry.
Video Game Minority Report
“The presence of black characters in video games can only help eradicate racial stereotypes in the real world,” stated Carl “CJ” Johnson, the wife-beater-wearing black gang member from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

“Characters of color are crucial to breaking down racial walls,” agreed Coltrane Crowley, a black graffiti artist who frequently clashes with cops in Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.

“There ain’t no getting off-a this train we on!” added Barret Wallace, the muscle-bound, gun-armed terrorist from Final Fantasy.

Jill Valentine, the female heroine from the Resident Evil game series, spoke about the importance of female character presence within the gaming realm. Having more strong women as primary characters, she said, could help guide the growing number of young female gamers.

“These girls need strong role models,” Valentine proclaimed, adjusting the her tight, low-cut shirt and gently stroking the gun in her miniskirt’s waistband. “You know, characters that can show them what a woman can really do.”

Several advocacy groups are expressing their support for the characters’ campaign as well. Some of the statements issued so far:

“This is without a doubt cause for concern. Minority groups have as much of a right as anyone else to watch graphical depictions of themselves be maimed in a virtual environment.” –NAACP

“Simulating the mutilation of other humans with high-powered automatic weapons is an important part of our children’s culture. Why shouldn’t they be able see people like them — see other kids — being disfigured and decimated?” –UNICEF

“Just because someone is over the age of 75 doesn’t mean they can’t pick up a ho and bust a cap in a gangsta’s ass as well as anyone else.” –AARP

Nintendo spokesperson and veteran video game character Mario, himself an Italian-American, was not immediately available to comment on the report. He did, however, offer to send us “some nasty pics of Princess Toadstool” in exchange for six golden coins.

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