Minorities in Fighting Games
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This is part 2 of a 2 part rant on fighting games so read part 1 first (if you haven't already).
 
Also, unlike part 1, this rant will be a bit longer, so you might want to get something to drink
 
8/1/05
When I say minorities, I really only mean blacks, latinos, and native americans, cause asians and whites have pretty much dominated the fighting game genre...
 
As stated in my previous rant, I had a serious problem with the "Blonde, white, male" being the sole representive of America in every fighting game.  But there is an even worse injustice in fighting games then the blonde, white, male...
 
It's the fact that minorities in fighting games are pretty much given the shaft...
 
This has been an issue that has pissed me off even more then the one about blonde fighters.  Fighting games are supposed to represent diversity, right?  Well if that is the case, then why is Japan so reluctant to include any good black or latino fighters?
 
Let me start with Native Americans.  The role of Native Americans in video games actually fares a lot better then it does in other media such as movies, and tv shows.  Anybody remember Captain Planet? That show had 5 teenagers from around the world to represent different continents.  American, African, Asian, European, and HIspanic.  But notice that Native American was missing?  This is an example of how Native Americans are often omitted in various media.
 
But back to the video games...the roles of Native Americans in games are like comparing an Almond Joy candy bar to a Mounds candy bar.
 
Sometime you have them, sometimes you don't...
 
And when you do have Native Americans, they almost always follow the same stereotype.  They are trying to protect their sacred land from someone (usually the boss of the game) that wants to take it or destroy it.  But what I find about Native Americans is that for the most part, the storyline is somewhat important to the game overall.  At least it fares better then it does for latinos and blacks.  As for movesets, it's kinda a mixed bag.  In some cases, the movesets are actually pretty decent and in some cases, as good as their white/asian counterparts, if not better.   And other times, they don't wok as well as they could.  But they are almost always better then blacks and latinos. Let's use some examples...
 
Street Fighter
We have T.Hawk.  He is a grappler/wrestler, similar to Zangief.  When Super Street Fighter 2  came out, and the tier list came out, T.Hawk was actually 2nd to last on the list.  That's right!  T.Hawk actually surpassed Zangief!  T.Hawk has also proven to be more user friendly then Zangief except for Alpha 3.  Overall, T.Hawk has only appeared in 3 Street Fighter games (The one mentioned, Super Turbo, and Alpha 3), while there have been over ten Street Fighter related games released over the years.  Zangief has starred in many of them.  Where is T.Hawk?
 
Rare (the company responsible for Donkey Kong Country's graphics) had a fighter called Killer Instinct.  They had a Native American fighter called Chief Thunder.  He was ok in my opinion, not really horrible, but not really a great character like Jago or Saberwolf (I love my Saberwolf).
 
Now lets go to the game makers that really make an emphasis on their trademark Native American characters, Midway and Namco.
 
Namco has Tekken while Midway has Mortal Kombat.  Mortal Kombat has Nightwolf, who made his first appearance in MK3 and then was brought back again in Mortal Kombat Deception.  Storyline wise, Nightwolf wasn't really that important in his debut, but that changed in Deception with his crucial plot.  As for movesets, they are very good.  Nightwolf had a very good moveset in MK3, and it got even better in Deception (I love using his Tomahawks).  No complaints about Nightwolf from me .^^
 
And then we have Tekken.  In actuality, there are two Native American characters, Michelle Chang and her adopted "daughter" Julia.  Michelle was in the first 2 Tekken's and makes a brief cameo in Julia's ending in Tekken 3.  Both mother and daughter had the same storyline which was to protect the land that they lived on and stop the Mishima Zaibatsu from controlling it.
 
As for movesets...great movesets!  And bonus points go to them for being women!  A Native American is hard enough to find, but a Native American woman is even harder!  This is one thing that Namco has done right (although I am still pissed about Paul...).
 
So overall, while Native American's may not have much airtime, they do fare better then the other minorities.
 
Now, let's turn the heat up and go with the Latinos...
 
Latinos/Spanish fighters are very similar to the roles of Native Americans.  While there may not be much in quanity, at least the quality is there.
 
Let's see...who do we have...Vega!  Vega is the trademark pretty boy of Street Fighter.  All the ladies love him so much, and Vega's fighting style actually pays tribute to his country of Spain.  As for the tier of SSF2, Vega was like #2.  And Vega has appeared in a good amount of Street Fighter related games, so I'm impressed.
 
But while Capcom gains major points for Vega, they also loose some major points.  Vega being blond doesn't bother me since blond latinos are somewhat common.  I'm talking about Sean from Street Fighter 3...
 
Sean is half Brazilen/Japanese, something that is very nice to see (Hispanic/Asian mix).  However, Sean's moveset sucks so badly.  To be fair to Capcom, Sean's moveset is kinda crappy since the majority of fans didn't want a new Street Fighter without Ryu and Ken (which almost happened), so Sean was toned down dramaticaly.  However, that  excuse still doesn't let Capcom completely off the hook.  Everyone else in Third Strike is pretty good and can do a lot for you.  Sean forces you to work with him for the win, something that just isn't right.
 
Namco however has had some nice success once again with Tekken with their Capoeria fighters Eddy Gordo and Christie.
 
Now I know what some of you are about to say...Eddy is black!  Um...no he isn't...I'm sorry, but I refuse to accept Eddy as a brother simply cause he has locks (His alter ego Tiger however, is black, something I shall adress later).  For starters, Eddy looks more Dominican/Puerto Rican then he does African. Second, his name is Eddy.  Eddy is a common latino name (such as WWE wrestler Eddy Guerro)  Eddy can be short for "Eduardo", which is definitely latino.  You don't find blacks with that name.  Second, Eddy's last name is "Gordo", which in spanish means "fat"(Why Namco would call Eddy fat when he is obviously not fat is beyond me...). Gordo is a spanish word, not an African word or an american one.  Point stated.  Eddy represents the latinos.  Anyway, on to the next order of business. Eddy had a decent storyline that was connected in Tekken 3, and he had a great moveset using Capoiera.  Easily one of the most popular in Tekken 3.
 
When Christie took over the reigns in Tekken 4 and 5 , she became even more popular then Eddy (though Eddy is a hidden fighter in both games).  She was a sexy latina girl with the same great moveset that Eddy had.  And her storyline was somewhat important in the games.
 
So far, the record for latinos is looking pretty good.  We just need more of them. But wait?  What about Mavado from Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance?
 
A friend brought up to me that Mavado looks Hispanic, and I have to agree.  So Mavado represents the latinos.
 
Now let's see...storyline looks nice...leader of the Red Dragons...that's impressive already...but then we go to the movesets...and I'm sorry, but the moveset for Mavado left a lot to be desired.  While the idea of being evasive was sorta creative, Mavado needed more then...2 moves (and one of them is attacking) while everyone else had moves that got the job done.  And then Mavado gets killed off in the next game and we don't get a replacement latino.   This ain't right!  Latinos need love too!
 
And then you have some characters like Marco Rodriquez (Garou: Mark of the Wolves who is actually a student of Ryo from Art of fighting).  From what I've heard, Marco is pretty good, but I haven't played Garou personally, so I'll leave it at that.
 
So overall for Latinos, they don't really have that many roles like the Native Americans, and the roles that they do have are a mixed bag.  On one hand, you have horrible characters like Sean, and a mixed bag like Mavado, but that is made up with great characters like Christie and Vega, characters that actually get publicity, are well reknowed, highly respected, drooled over, have websites and fanfiction devoted to them, and have fangirls and fanboys.
 
Unlike characters like Balrog, Darrius, and Lucky Glauber, characters that represent a certain ethnicity that nobody gives a damn about...
 
That's right folks, now we come to blacks in video games!
 
Native Americans didn't really piss me too much, then my anger went up slightly with how Latinos were treated.
 
But now, I am about to really get pissed off...
 
It's already hard enough trying to survive on this planet when you have people thinking you are a "thug", a "baby daddy", an "ex-convict", or just another "worthless, stupid negro" that will never amount to anything.  But now I have to be reminded of these sterotypes that I have been fighting against my entire life in my video games?!