Video games have undergone a lot of change over the last few decades. From the days of the Sega Genesis, PlayStation One and Nintendo Game Cube, we now have powerful consoles that double up as ultra-entertainment hubs. This rise of gaming consoles have also led to a rise in quality of games released. We now have super realistic games, some of them Virtual Reality capable.
In the midst of all the change, however, one thing is still glaring. There are very few black women in video games. At a time when racial equality is a strong point of contention in virtually all industries, from manufacturing to Hollywood, it is rather surprising that more voices aren’t calling for a shift in the status quo in the gaming industry. The lesser gaming industry, the online gaming niche, is doing a better job of ensuring more racial balance.
Online bingo sites, as can be found on luckytouchbingo for example, have black women themed games. Some of the sites have replaced the stereotypical, sexualised white woman online gaming theme with more women of colour.
There are still less than two dozen black women protagonists in gaming. This piece takes a look at some of the most famous amongst them.
Jade – Beyond Good and Evil
“Beyond Good & Evil” is a 2003 game created by Michel Ancel and Ubisoft. The protagonist of the game is “Jade” a photo-journalist. The game is based on her search for evidence that can be used to expose governmental corruption. The character is stylish, classy and has a charming name!
Rochelle Aka “Ro” – Left 4 Dead 2
Rochelle was the protagonist in Left 4 Dead 2. The character is voiced by Rochelle Aytes but the facial features were adapted from Shanola Hampton. Many players loved the character at the first time of playing and credit to the development team for their selection of outfits for Ro.
Sheva Alomar – Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil is one of the best examples of trail blazing when it comes to the video games world. Their 5th instalment featured Sheva Alomar, a native African operative of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. She was Chris Redfield’s partner and was welcomed by fans as black female characters were few and far between in previous instalments, never mind lead characters. The character received lots of positive reviews from Resident Evil fans but surprisingly, Sheva hasn’t made a return since then in Resident Evil.
Aveline de Grandpre – Assassin’s Creed
Avelline was the very first female protagonist in the Assassin’s Creed series. She was in Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. The character was a pleasant surprise as many expected the character to be the standard damsel in distress fare.
D’arci Stern – Urban Chaos
Few would argue if you said D’arci was the best female protagonist in video game history. The character marked a turning point in the video games scene. After she was made the lead role in Urban Chaos, she showed that it was actually possible to have a black female as the lead role in a fighting/action game.
Ororo Munroe Aka Storm
Storm was featured from “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” to “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes”. Credit to Marvel, they have had quite a few female superheroes of black origin from Mercedes “Misty” Knight to Mari Jiwe McCabe and Celia Windward. Few would argue that Storm is the queen though. Think of her as a better looking version of Thor and you will understand!
These are the most popular black women protagonists in gaming. As is evident from the list, most of them are from years gone by. We are hoping for more black women in games over the coming years.