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Importance of Representation in Video Games

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We all know that representation is incredibly important in today’s day and age, especially with the widespread use of many different kinds of media. The way that different people and different walks of life are represented in the media we interact with heavily influences how we see certain people, in both negative and positive ways. We see this happen in TV, books, movies, video games, etc. These platforms are so widespread, and can strongly influence the impressionable minds of young people, which is why it is important to represent all people of different races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. 

Historically, especially in the realm of video games, women have been very poorly represented. They have primarily been present in certain games to act merely as the love interest, or in order to simply diversify the people we see within the game. This portrayal gives women a bad rap; it leads young women who play these games to believe that that’s how they are supposed to act in this world. Above all else, it’s disappointing.Luckily, there are games that are trying to change this narrative. One that specifically stands out to me is the video game series The Last of Us. These games stand out to me because they revolve around a female main character, which in and of itself sets it apart from other games. On top of that, she is a lesbian and has a beautifully represented relationship in the second game of the franchise. This character, Ellie, is a strong, loyal, and brave character. She dresses very simply, wearing jeans and t-shirts and Converse. When I saw Ellie in the first game, I was 13 years old (Ellie is 14 in the game). Having this kind of representation was pivotal in me accepting and embracing who I was, especially at such a young age. I grew up being a massive tomboy, and I never saw a character in the media before that was portrayed in such a way that Ellie was. It empowered me to be myself and to not care what others think about how I dress. This is why it is so important for creators to bring about this kind of representation: it empowers young people to be themselves by showing them that it’s ok to be different. There is power in creativity such as this, and I hope more and more people bring to life more diverse characters that help to garner acceptance and confidence in young people. 

Hello all and welcome! My name is Kali Blick and I am a sophomore at Michigan State University double majoring in Film Studies and English. Some of my interests include doing photography, reading, spending time outside, listening to music, being a barista and therefore drinking lots of coffee.
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